While I was aware of the royal family as a child, it wasn’t until I signed my Oath of Allegiance when I joined the Army at 16 that I really started to understand the role they play in public life. The oath of allegiance is a defining moment in a soldier’s life:
I Paul Howard swear by Almighty God (do solemnly, and truly declare and affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, in Person, Crown and Dignity against all enemies, and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, and of the (admirals / generals/ air officers) and officers set over me. (So help me God.)
Basically, like all other soldiers, I was writing a blank cheque of the value of my life for the Queen and country. The Queen (or affectionally known as “The Boss” to those who have served in public life) will always hold a special place in my heart. I have never met “The Boss” but our regiment was once inspected by the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, who is Colonel in Chief of the Royal Signals.