All set for my Royal appointment

Stuart Barber.
Stuart Barber.

I was invited to keep a ‘Royal Appointment’ on Thursday - and happy to take my place behind the security cordon to grab a glimpse of HRH The Princess Royal when she paid her annual visit to Strathcarron Hospice.

Over the years I’ve covered a fair number of these VIP events and in my view being part of the Press team approved by The Palace to cover a trip to the district by the the Queen’s only daughter is not too much of a chore - even if you do only see her from about 100 yards away.

She’s a typical woman you know - never on time - but even when she does arrive late is never flustered and always takes the opportunity to say ‘hello’ to as many of the people who have been waiting patiently outside to see her as she can.

Her ladies in waiting - possibly fed up by all the waiting - try to hurry her along, but credit to the Royal Presence, she insists on taking everything at her own pace and over the years of visiting the hospice won the hearts of thousands for it.

A smile, a quick chat and possibly even the briefest of handshakes has sent many young and old home happy at the end of the day with a memory they will have for ever.

Her sister-in-law Princess Di was another crowd pleaser.

I remember her visit to bus builders Alexander Dennis in Camelon.

Diana did her ‘own thing’ that day throwing the schedule into chaos by repeatedly stopping to chat to boiler suited workers as she toured the factory while the VIPs, anxious to escort her into the boardroom for tea and biscuits, twiddled their thumbs close by.

The fact HRH then insisted on driving a new bus just off the production line that morning did nothing for their constitution either.