Luke and I were amazed and delighted to receive a gold-edged invitation from the Lord Chamberlain informing us that he was inviting us to Buckingham palace at the request of HM the Queen on 19th July in honour of Luke’s role as Youth patron of the charity Ambitious About Autism – Luke spoke at their launch at the House of Lords in March.
We had to pinch ourselves, walking into the Palace and though the rooms and out into the Queens Gardens. The Queen, Prince Phillip, Princess Ann, Prince Edward, the Duchess of Cornwall were all there and I think it was the proudest moment of my life when the band played the national anthem as we actually stood to attention in the Queens gardens with her prsent and all because of Luke, who was expelled from school 3 years ago for his autistic behaviour and yet is brave enough to be identified and speak out for autism.
Prince Phillip actually came over to talk to me and with a twinkle in his eye told me that I was getting rising damp in my shoes – it was a wet day but that didn’t dampen our excitement. Luke behaved impeccably, even standing still for over half an hour waiting to meet the Royals. He was actually recognised by an Irishman from the RNLI – who was there for a bravery award. He had seen Luke on the BBC, being filmed receiving his national young citizen of the year award in 2010, and came to shake Luke’s hand and congratulate him. One of the Queen’s footmen complimented Luke on his suit as Luke was by far the youngest male invited in his own right and I can’t tell you how much it means to me for his achievements to be recognised by Royalty.
The handbag I am carrying is the one Luke brought me back from his solo trip to Dubai – written about in the book – where he was held by Customs for attempted smuggling!
The boy I wrote about in my book is inspiring people as I always knew he would, with the right help and opportunities.