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WoW we had a fantastic time at Buckingham Palace

Participants from The Workshop and The Garage meet Queen Camilla at the WOW Girls Festival at Buckingham Palace. Photo: Ellie Kurttz

Some of our team and participants swapped The Workshop for Buckingham Palace to hang out with royalty this week. 

You may have read on our socials how we were involved with the WoW (Women of the World) Festival Bus a few weeks back when it visited town. Our participants got to enter a draw to attend a reception at the palace to celebrate with Queen Camilla, who is the WoW Foundation’s president.

Lilly-Grace, a member of our King’s Lynn Youth Project, was one of those chosen. She’s a real OG, having worked with us since the project was known as the Community Ambassadors Programme.

She was afraid to go inside at first but settled right in after leaving the huge crowd outside to meet the others who’d been picked, in The Billiard Room (very fancy).

Lilly-Grace said: “Halfway through, Queen Camilla came in and sat next to me. We shook hands and had a lovely talk about the activity we were doing. She also said she liked the colour of my hair (it’s purple). I can also confirm they have very fancy toilets with gold taps, hand wash and hand lotion.”

Our Arts Engagement Worker Sophie joined Lilly-Grace on the train to London.

She said: “Lilly-Grace told me how nervous she felt. I tried to be my most reassuring, even though I have no experience of meeting royalty, having to remember the proper address and how to behave (ma’am as in jam, ma’am as in jam).

“I told her ‘You’ll be fine, you have lots of experience through King’s Lynn Youth Project’. She quipped back ‘And because I’m amazing’. So let me put in writing, yes as is clear to the Queen as well as to us, also because you’re amazing. Be proud of yourself; we’re very proud of you.”

Half of the participants on this trip came through our Foundations programme which inspires confidence. Jessie left the day feeling full of just that.

She said: “I especially enjoyed meeting many important women including the Queen and Dame Helen Mirren. It was exceedingly inspirational as they are prominent role models. I enjoyed finding out more about what many of the women’s roles in society were and their important jobs.”

Our HNC Programme in Performing Arts student Paris was also there, having been invited by the WoW team. 

She said: “It was inspiring and interesting as I connected with different people. I loved seeing the grounds, working with other schools and organisations, and being given the opportunity to speak to the Queen, among other important people.

“Being with diverse women from various backgrounds, cultures and jobs was so inspiring and interesting. I loved being in an environment where historical moments had happened, and I felt the moment now with Women of the World was just as significant.”

Our Inclusion and Engagement Manager Natalie also attended the event. She thanked the WoW Foundation for the chance to take some of our amazing young women to Buckingham Palace to celebrate International Women’s Day.

“Our participants couldn’t quite believe it was real. The Queen gave a very moving speech in which she paid tribute to change-making women from the Suffragettes to now. 

“The young people represented themselves and us beautifully. We were so proud to see them take their rightful spot among such illustrious guests. A great day was had by all.”

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