Beauty and the Geek Ch. 02bysteamoil©
"I can't get over mine." Angela was awed. "They're coming to put up the coat of arms and 'By Royal Appointment' sign over my shop in January. Can you imagine the stir that will cause? And the business it will generate? Wow!" Angela shook her head in amazement. "But the thing I value the most is Liz coming to shop with me. It's so cool to see her and get to talk." She added as an afterthought, "Oh and to see clothes from my shop on TV and in the papers!"
"And here's me, with such an uninteresting job that all they can think of for me is a knighthood!" I joked. It was greeted with snorts. "But the best bit of that is that Julie gets to be a Lady as well." I smiled at her.
"Did you notice how personal the citation for the knighthood was?" Jim commented, and he picked up the letter to read, "...for services to the Crown."
"Yes, remember what Prince Charles said about the others being rewarded through their jobs? Carys, Rhiannon, Rosie and Goggins all received service MBEs in the honours list. They really did remember!" Julie added.
We all went to the ceremony. It was awesome kneeling there in front of the Queen. We very much enjoyed the occasion, and were even able to have a few words with Catherine and William. As we travelled home, we discovered we had all noticed that Liz and Louis (we were using their disguise names as we were on a train home from London) had that air of keeping something back.
"Liz's expression was just like when she first came downstairs in disguise and before she smiled." The others nodded.
When we got home, I opened the beautiful box to put my medal away, and found a folded sheet of paper wedged carefully into the lid. I opened it and read.
"Julie, look at this!"
She heard the obvious excitement in my voice, and came running. "What is it?"
I handed the sheet to her and she read the few sentences.
"Would you four be free either the first or second week in August? If you would like, would it be possible for you to book the house again for a holiday? Sorry for the secrecy, but could you text a reply soon so we can block it out in our diaries. With love, Liz and Louis." There was a mobile number underneath.
It was late, but we rang Angela and Jim straight away. They were as excited as us. So I went on line and checked. The house in Cemaes Bay was free for the second week, so we reserved it immediately. With trembling fingers, I texted, "Booked. We're excited. Love from the four of us." And the dates.
The next day a one-word text arrived back. It simply said, "Boat." Which, after all, was all we needed to know.
And thus began an unusual friendship that was to last all our lives, and benefit many lame ducks. I continued to help individuals, with Julie's invaluable support. We used our titles shamelessly to gain support for smaller charities, and we worked publically with Catherine and William through the Chamber Group.
As their responsibilities grew, and particularly after the coronation, it became less and less possible for them to get away in disguise, so we were invited to royal residences instead. Our time with them was precious, and gave them a break from their onerous public duties. As our link with them became more public, we all exploited it to leverage charity donations and increase the number of lame ducks we helped.
Ultimately though, Liz and Louis were first friends, then "Most dread Monarch" (we were fond of teasing them), and only lastly was the connection a means to gain support for charity, an aim which they felt most strongly about themselves, and had less time to pursue personally.