Today I made a promise. It is one that I have repeated many times and will continue to make, and not because I have broken it, but because saying the words over and over again binds me to something that is far greater than just you and I.
I have promised to always do my best, to do my duty, to help others and abide by the laws of Scouting. And today, because I have fulfilled that promise, I became a Queen’s Scout.
I joined 525 other young people from around the UK who have all achieved the very highest award Scouting has to offer, and as we congregated in the heart of Windsor Castle, we became an elite group in Scouting, the very highest order in a movement that comprises of 31 million other people around the world. It is a phenomenal achievement and each person that stood beneath the castle walls had reached their success in a myriad of ways. No two stories were the same and innumerable challenges were faced, and met, in order to gain the privilege of Queen Scout status.
As I stood shoulder to shoulder with people I had never met in my life, our hearts seemed to beat as one in time to the drums and I was part of something that was bigger than just me, that connected me to millions of others just like me and I couldn’t help but be filled with emotion and wonder. Because it didn’t matter that I had never met those people, they were bound by the same promise I was, they lived by the same laws I did and most importantly, they believed in a movement that genuinely made the world a better place. And suddenly you are surrounded by 525 other people that are familiar, friendly and never strangers. There are 525 other people you can walk up to at any given moment and generate a conversation out of thin air, ask them for help or just ask them anything at all. There are no barriers or restrictions and no one would ever dream of standing on ceremony with one another. You’re never talking to strangers, but instead you’re having a conversation with friends.
There is no other situation in my life in which I have the freedom to do that, nor the acceptance or understanding that allows me to. Today Windsor was taken over by Scouts, both those gaining an award, and those in the crowd supporting and cheering. The result was over 3,000 scouts roaming the streets of Windsor and I knew without any doubt that I could walk up to any number of those scouts and ask for help, advice or just have a conversation. And so I did! And it was simply beautiful.
We’ve all been subjected to the ‘dib dab dob’ jokes and the ‘kumbaya’ references by friends who have never experienced Scouting and don’t understand the graceful beauty of it. I thought of them and felt sorry for them because today I stood basked in pride and cloaked in achievement with the conviction of a promise I will continue to repeat throughout the years to come. So I took a moment to thank scouting for giving me so much; for shaping me into a better person, for taking me to every corner of the globe, for pushing me to face challenges, for handing me experiences, for providing a plethora of beautiful moments and for giving me 31 million friends around the world.