Meeting a member of the British royal family is a dream for royal fans. Bill Smith has not only met a Royal – he knows almost everyone personally.
Whenever a British Royal visits Germany, Bill Smith (64) has his fingers in the picture. Queen Elizabeth (94), Prince Philip (99), Prince Charles (71) and Duchess Camilla (72), Prince William (38), Prince Harry (35) – the list can go on and on. Smith met them all. The British has worked as a transport and logistics manager for the British Embassy in Berlin and the British Consulates General in Munich and Düsseldorf since 1992. In conversation with BUNTE.de, he talked about his encounters and shared some anecdotes.
When a high visitor from the UK is announced, Smith is involved in the planning. Safety is the main focus. “For example, I discuss with the police and security forces how the cars start and stop and where they stop. I also look after the members of the royal household so that the personal adviser or head butler can get from A to B in good time “, Smith described his tasks to BUNTE.de.
The Prince published a new photo for Prince Philip’s 99th birthday. Check out the amazing recording in the video below.
Bill Smith met Queen Elizabeth four times
He co-organized four visits to the Queen – iIn 2000, at the opening of the British Embassy in Berlin, and during the three state visits in 1992, 2004 and 2015. “As for almost all Britons – and also for many other people worldwide – the Queen is a living legend and a great role model for me. I admire her for how she can approach people. Everyone is excited when they stand in front of the Queen. “What impresses him most of all is” how she manages to catch up with her human and soothing manner. “He said:” I am now 64 and have enormous respect for her and for everything she has done for my country – for almost 70 years now. It was always very moving for me personally to see the Queen. “
The Queen calmed the embassy official
Even though Smith has routine with the Royal Family, a visit to the Queen always makes him nervous. He remembers one moment particularly intensely: “When she gave me a signed portrait of myself and Prince Philip in 2000 as a small thank you for my work, I was really stunned. For the first and luckily so far only in my life. But the Queen reacted fantastically and was very nice to me. That calmed me down enormously and saved me from an embarrassing moment, “recalled the 64-year-old.
Lonely birthday: At the much smaller celebration of “Trooping the Color” we finally saw the monarch in action again. Check out the pictures in the video below.
Bill Smith delayed the Queen’s departure
There was an amusing incident during her visit in 2015. “The Queen had just arrived at Tegel Airport. Her hat box had been left on the plane and was discovered by the pilot just in time.” The box should still reach the convoy, but the departure was imminent. So Smith hit the gas. “I ran with the hat box to hand it over to a member of the royal household. At the same time, I called one of the drivers to delay the departure. There is a photo of it that even received an award – the story will come to me “So stick to forever. It illustrates very well that with such visits, despite all planning, you have to stay spontaneous and react quickly – and sometimes sporty too!”
Most recently, Prince Charles & Duchess Camilla were visiting
Prince Philip and all of the Queen’s children have also been to Germany – most recently Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in May 2019. He met Prince Harry in 2010 when he received the “A Heart for Children” award for his charity work. Prince William was allowed to drive Smith personally at the 70th anniversary of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2016.
The Royal Family is “extremely friendly and professional”
Smith noticed a special detail about all members of the Royal Family: “I have perceived everyone as extremely friendly and professional. They know exactly how much work takes place behind the scenes and appreciate the performance of the many people who ensure that everything goes smoothly. ” Despite the stress of deadlines and long journeys, it was always important to them “to make their appreciation clear, for example in short personal messages that were passed on to me”.
Special arrangements and rules: A royal journey is so complicated
Life as a member of a royal family can be quite complicated. Very special safety precautions must be observed when traveling.
Prince Harry was “particularly attentive”
Smith Prince Harry is particularly well remembered: “I found him to be particularly devoted. At that time the weather forecast was very bad and I advised his team to charter a plane for the return flight instead of taking a scheduled flight as planned. After a while and here they took my advice. ” In retrospect, it was the right decision, because in fact almost all scheduled flights were canceled on that day. “So he wouldn’t have come home in time,” said Smith.
Driving lesson with Eugenie from York
Smith also had an amusing experience with Eugenie von York (30). In 2013 she came to Germany with her sister Beatrice (31) for a campaign of the Mini vehicle brand. “She was supposed to drive the Mini herself from the Brandenburg Gate around the corner to the embassy. But so far she had only driven automatic cars and the Mini was a shift truck. That’s why I gave her a short driving lesson. She did a great job, despite her high-heeled shoes! However, I should go on the back seat for safety and felt like Mr Bean there: two princesses and I in this little car, with the whole press and the photographers around us. “
Unforgettable experience for Bill Smith and his family
Smith personally gave his work an unforgettable experience. “Because I received the Royal Victoria Medal for my many years of work, my daughter was able to marry at the Royal Chapel of the Savoy last year. This is a church in London that is reserved for the Queen and those who hold this order. For my family and it was a very special event for me that my daughter could get married in this extraordinary place. “