On Remembrance Day, November, 1997, my husband, my daughter and I were outside the "Fields of Remembrance" near Westminister Cathedral, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Queen Mother, who came each year to remember those who served in World War II. As we stood outside the iron fence surrounding St. Margaret's Church, where the Fields of Remembrance are located, a World War II veteran from inside the fence was frantically asking whether there were any American military present. None raised their hands. Finally, I raised mine and said that our son flew with the US Air Force. "Good enough," he said. "Would you please come in and represent the United States as the Queen Mum greets the different regiments who served in World War II?" All I could do was nod as we were escorted quickly inside to join the ranks of soldiers. We were placed at the front of the lines where American soldiers might have stood. Apparently, the U.S. had been invited but somehow no one was yet there to represent the Americans. As we stood waiting, someone appeared, albeit late and out-of-breath, to represent the U.S,although he was English! He graciously allowed me to stand near him and soon was explaining the rules: do NOT touch the Queen Mother unless she stops and shakes your hand first. Do NOT call her the Queen Mother until you've had the opportunity to greet her more formally. (As if ...) By the time he finished, my knees were jelly. But then the Queen Mum was there and I was formally presented to the Queen Mother as "Christine Denicola of Lincoln, Nebraska." . Instead of nodding and leaving, she stayed to talk. The attached picture captures the conversation ... a picture that I have only because my daughter insisted earlier in the day that we stop for film (long before digitial cameras) ... while I complained about how much time it was taking! But luckily, my daughter prevailed because she was able to take many pictures during the Queen Mum and my "chat." Beause chat we did ... the Queen Mother asked if we were enjoying our stay in England, I told her that we'd particularly enjoyed the new American Air Museum at Duxford, she said that she really must try to get there, I said, "You really must." My husband called it ... providing travel advice to the Queen Mum. I called it ... the most amazingly serendipitous day in my life!
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