Queen’s Royal Visit to Goodenough College

Queen’s Royal Visit to Goodenough College

Mr. Patrick Ng (second from left) was presented to the Queen of United Kingdom on 10 November 2006.

“Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of United Kingdom would be making a royal visit to Goodenough College on Friday the 10th November 2006 to mark the College’s 75th Birthday”, read a sign in the reception area of Goodenough College, a postgraduate hall that I am staying. I took a glance and sighed as I had classes on Friday. I consoled myself that, with more than 600 people staying at Goodenough, having a glimpse of the Queen may be impossible; let alone meeting her in person.

10 days before the scheduled royal visit, I got a note in my pigeon hole informing me that I was selected to be “presented” to the Queen (no, not on a silver platter but merely means meeting the Queen). At first, I was not too excited about it as I had classes and had no plans of skipping them. Later I found out from my hall-mates that I was indeed very lucky to be selected to represent Malaysia as only a handful of the 600-odd were selected. A tough choice: royalty or duty? I spoke to my professor and he told me that I should go and meet the Queen as she is a very “special” person. Thus convinced, I took his advice and decided to turn-up for the occasion.

The build-up to the royal visit was intense in Goodenough. Floor tiles were replaced, windows were cleaned, banners and flags depicting all the different nationalities were made and hung in the Dining Hall (including Malaysia’s Jalur Gemilang), red carpets were rolled-out, security was tightened and apparently a bomb squad was even sent to ensure that the place was secure.

Everyone got excited on The-Day and I had to admit that I also felt some excitement in the air. The Queen arrived on time and her royal entourage made their way through Goodenough College as all members of the college formed rows on her left and right. The lucky people who were selected to be presented (including yours truly) were then allowed into the Dining Hall where we shall be “presented” to Her Majesty. I was huddled up in the Australiasia Commonwealth Group and as Australiasia began with “A” we were the nearest to the entrance and would be presented to the Queen first!

Words cannot describe the magical feeling of meeting the Queen face to face and shaking her hand. At that precise moment I understood why she was such a “special ” person. When Her Majesty shook my hand and spoke to me, she actually looked me in the eyes and spoke with genuine interest; not like some politicians (I have met quite a few) or VIPs who would shake a thousand hands a day without even looking at the people they were shaking hands with. This event has been the highlight of my time in London. Being a Chevening scholar in Imperial College London pursuing my MSc. in Environmental Engineering has turned out to be a holistic experience and has enriched my views of life abroad.

Contributor : Patrick H. C. Ng