Poundbury in Dorset looked beautiful as it prepared for the King’s arrival. Gardeners were sprucing up flowers; painters were hurrying their ladders into vans; security officers and policemen were positioned on every street corner. But my encounter with the men tasked with keeping us safe left me feeling deeply uncomfortable.
I was there with my 12-year-old daughter and mother and we took up a prime position outside the Monart Spa, where the King was to unveil a plaque. My daughter clutched a bunch of flowers so tightly that it lost most of its petals.
As His Majesty greeted the crowds, police officers made their way along the queues of people, straight-faced and eagle-eyed. I felt someone standing directly behind me. I turned. It was a dark-haired, casually-dressed man who clearly wasn’t there to greet the King. He was standing back, scanning the crowd. I noticed that he was wearing an earpiece and realised that he must have been part of the security detail. He caught my eye and I felt uncomfortable. I turned away.
As I pushed forward to greet His Majesty, I felt the man’s presence come closer. But soon my mind was on other things. My daughter was one of the only children present and King Charles picked us out for a chat, even granting royal permission for her to take the rest of the day off school.
After the conversation, His Majesty walked off to open a garden in memory of his late father, the Duke of Edinburgh. We followed, along with the rest of the crowd, and came to a stop beside the garden. My daughter began doing cartwheels on a patch of grass behind me, so I kept an eye on her, turning frequently away from the King.