Scotswoman Suzanne Fernando was recently awarded an MBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace for services to Military Veterans, Cervical Cancer & Autism.
A list of Honours, recognising outstanding achievements, personal bravery and services to the UK and British Overseas Territories, is published twice a year by the Cabinet Office: Suzanne received her notification in June to mark The Queen's official birthday which stated she was to be awarded the MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in recognition of her services to Cervical Cancer, Autism & Military Veterans. The presentation of the award insignia happens at Investitures throughout the year. Around 30 Investitures are held each year, and over sixty recipients attend each ceremony, Suzanne's was held in the spectacular Ballroom at Buckingham Palace.
Suzanne said: "As my family got seated Prince Charles entered the room attended by The Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard. The National Anthem is played, and then the military orchestra continues to play a variety of music while recipients are called forward one-by-one. When it was my turn to be called forward I gave a little curtsy and approached Prince Charles who then placed my MBE on my jacket and congratulated me on my honour. We chatted about my charity and voluntary work before shaking my hand (which was my cue to curtsy again and leave). After the ceremony, we all gathered outside in the quadrangle where our official photographs were taken, then yep you guessed it we were all off to the pub for a well deserved G&T".
Many weeks before an Investiture takes place, all the medals (called 'insignia') are collected, counted and thoroughly cleaned.
For some honours, certificates called 'Warrants of Appointment' are sent to The Queen, or another Member of The Royal Family, for signing.
On the day of the investiture, the insignia are laid out in the ballroom and carefully checked. Each recipient is given a special pin to wear, so that their insignia can be easily hooked on to their clothing when the honour is awarded. The Ballroom is readied for recipients and their guests, ahead of their arrival at Buckingham Palace.
Former Royal Military Policewoman Suzanne has been volunteering for over 25 years with various charities and is well known for her active roles within the community.