(The script for my Pause For Thought with Owain Wyn Evans on BBC Radio 2 on November 22, 2023... The theme was An Attitude Of Gratitude)
In the summer of 2022 my wife and daughters and I spent a day in Windsor. We went on a river boat trip and took selfies outside the Castle.
We never dreamed that some 16 months later we would get to go inside the Castle. To my complete surprise I was given an MBE in the King’s Honours List in June. It’s quite a thrill.
Even more fun is the investiture. We were all very chuffed that I was going to receive my medal in Windsor Castle. Oh yes.
For the moments you get with a member of the Royal Family you get a couple of hours in the rooms of the Castle. I spotted Willie Morgan the former Manchester United footballer just ahead of me in the line. I told him I had his book but now needed to read it. A laugh with a sporting hero.
Anyway, I had one intention when I got in front of my Royal, who to my delight, was the Princess Royal. As my MBE was for my contribution to peace building in Northern Ireland I wanted to thank the Royal Family for their contributions and to encourage them to continue.
The late Queen’s state visit to Dublin in 2011 when she spoke Irish at the State Dinner and shaking hands with Martin McGuinness in Belfast a year later made huge contributions to our peace building.
And I got my chance. When Princess Anne pinned the medal to my lapel I said thank you and, quickly in case time was short, thanked her family for their peace building.
Princess Anne took me off guard. She took it shyly, almost rejecting my thank you. As we chatted, with more time than I thought, she finally said that it was all about humility.
I quickly got a bit too religious and said that even God was humble, coming to earth to live among us. The God of the manger, the donkey and the cross.
By the time we finally left Windsor Castle, we were reluctant to go, I was surmising the word humility, all tangled up with the word gratitude. It is not easy to be humble when you live in castles. Yet gratitude and humility is how I will always feel looking back to this amazing day.
Indeed humility is becoming my favourite and most challenging word.