The sad passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has revealed the depth of respect and admiration felt by so many for an amazing woman who was totally dedicated to her job, her country and the Commonwealth.

Katherine Horler receiving her OBE from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In 2017 our CEO, Katharine Horler, was Honoured with an OBE by the Queen, so we asked her to share some memories of the occasion. She said:

 “I was very fortunate to meet the Queen in 2017, her ninety-first year. Such events are hardly run of the mill and as I passed through the gates of Windsor Castle where so many flowers are now laid in tribute, I had no idea who it was I would be meeting.

It was just before Christmas and Windsor was festive and beautiful. There was a palpable buzz of excitement among the Castle staff who were clearly aware which member of the Royal Family would be present!  

I didn’t know then that the Queen wouldn’t attend many more such ceremonies, but at ninety-one she was incredibly sprightly and whizzed into the room with such vigour that her much younger courtiers had to move pretty fast to keep up with her!

An investiture is a formal ceremony with protocols that must be followed and the briefing before I met the Queen was nerve-wracking, but she was very warm and gracious. I was Honoured in connection with the work I’ve been privileged to do with organisations like Adviza, Careers England and The Prince’s Trust, to help improve the lives of vulnerable young people and adults. The Queen was both knowledgeable and interested in the subject of unemployed young people; we had a chat about how much help is needed to support them nationally and the excellent work The Prince’s Trust does in this area.

I have heard the Queen speak about the importance of these Honours with a passion that made it clear her influence ensured that her guests felt  special on that day—a day each of us will never forget. What a special person she was, and what a wonderful servant to her country and people.”