Cllr Rev Canon Ann Easter, CEO Renewal Programme and Chaplain to the Queen on her royal duties

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- Credit: Archant

No-one, but no-one, was more surprised than I when, in 2007, a thick, embossed envelope addressed to me, bearing the crest of the Royal Household, arrived at my home!

The letter, from the Lord Chamberlain, asked how I might respond if offered the role of Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen; I had never heard of it but responded immediately, saying that I was delighted – but slightly terrified too!

I discovered that I would be one of a company of 36 priests (of whom five are women) in England and Wales, with a further 12 in Scotland, and that my sole task is to preach once a year at a Royal residence – of which more later. The rewards are lovely – a bright red cassock (see the photo) and a badge bearing the Queen’s insignia, together with an invitation to the occasional jolly like a Royal Garden Party. My husband Christopher and I were at one last week; it absolutely poured with rain for about half an hour just as we were presented to the Duke of Kent whose top hat dripped disconsolately onto his nose – great fun!

I am told that Queen’s Chaplaincy is a way for the church to honour certain individuals, though, try as I might, I have yet to discover why I was chosen for such an accolade! But how amazing for this Upton Park girl to be at the Palace, surrounded by all things beautiful – the crustless cucumber sandwiches looked good, even in the rain. I’m so glad I said yes!