A Morning at Buckingham Palace

After three months of waiting, last Monday I was approaching Buckingham Palace in a taxi, trying to make myself look presentable after less than three hours sleep the previous night. The train had left at just before four in the morning, and I had been up since half-past two re-checking my bag - making sure I had packed the invitation(which I was very likely to forget) - and working out the best way to keep a shirt from creasing during the journey. After winning a Journalism Award in June(blog post here!), having written an article on our obsession with technology, I thought I would talk about if for a few weeks before it would almost be forgotten. Instead, we received an email with information about a Prize Giving hosted for the winners by the Duke of York, followed by the itinerary for the day and invitations detailing the dress code in the months after. The idea of walking through those gates was one I couldn't contemplate, as I had only just seen the Palace from the outside.

Even before I walked through the gates, the morning had proved to be eventful. Arriving a few hours early - not willing to take another risk after we were two hours late for the finals - the time was spent at a cafe inside Paddington Station, overlooking the platforms as they became packed with commuters. London must be the most interesting place to people-watch! I tried to calm my nerves, phoning a friend to tell them I had just met Prince Harry as a distraction, but this failed to work. The tube lines had closed and we were a half-an-hour tube journey away. Every time there was an announcement I froze. We did - when London's tubes must have been at their slowest - arrive on time, with about ten minutes to spare. 
During the prize-giving
Inside, what I loved the most was how 'at home' each of us there was made to feel; encouraged to talk as we took our seats ready for the ceremony and the room descended into silence. We were able to draw back the curtains and look out at the gardens, where I noticed a lamp with a crown on top, and I may have left some fingerprints on the glass! Even when the Duke of York was stuck in traffic, they simply played a video about the Judging Day to fill the time. I was surprised at how relaxed the whole morning was! My teacher and I were in the first row of seats, where I couldn't help but be thankful for the short walk up to collect the award, convinced that I would have fallen if it was any further away. What we both agreed on was that it didn't feel like we were actually inside Buckingham Palace, all of us there talking like we were having a conversation on the street rather than at the Queen's house. It was so great, though, to see the sense of camaraderie we all seemed to have, where the teachers were sharing perfume in the toilets whilst I tried out all the different hand soaps.

I'm the one with the ponytail!
Since my piece was about technology, when it came to collecting my award, I spoke about how journalism gives scientists a voice and the importance of this to the public. When I had realised I was next, a few minutes had been spent rubbing my palms into my trousers, knowing I would have to shake Prince Andrew's hand. I don't think he noticed how sweaty they were! Instead, I was handed the framed certificate ready for the pictures, certain that they wouldn't be the best when printed. I couldn't help but be a little scared when, as I returned to the safety of my seat, he pointed to me and said he was going to ask some "very tough questions" afterwards. And, as he spoke to all of us there individually, I'll admit I struggled to answer! I had to question what our lives had become when we finally went to find some food. I'm convinced I almost committed a crime by spilling some of the tea I had over the edge and onto the plain-white table cloth. After that I kept to orange juice. I'd noticed that BBC Presenters Dallas Campbell and Liz Bonin, and before we all had to leave the Palace I was able to sneak a picture with them in the courtyard. Or ten pictures, as this was the time my teacher's camera decided not to work properly.

I'm not the type of girl that finds herself in Palaces every day. Or one that belongs at any sort of event that involves public-speaking and photographers. Between the walking to the men's toilets rather than the women's and the not being able to hold a china cup, I probably did appear a little vulnerable. But, I can't say I'll ever forget it.

This is the part where I thank you for all of the support over the past two years of running this blog! Knowing that people are taking the time to read what I've written and to post comments continues to make my day. What is said in comments and on Twitter has given my the boost to continue writing and to fall in love with blogging/journalism. Thank you so much for helping me get there!



  1. Awww, Sophie - I'm so proud of you!! This is an amazing achievement! Congrats!! xD

  2. Amazing, Sophie! So happy for you!

  3. I'm so happy for you Sophie! This sounds like an *amazing* experience! So glad you won the award too, you really deserve it. :) Sounds like you weren't even half as awkward as I would have been – I am the WORST at remaining smooth in public. :')

  4. Sounds like an amazing opportunity Sophie. It sounds like an amazing experience you had

    Amelia @ YA Bookologists (


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Sophie Louise