Last Friday I was awarded the Freedom of the City of London. It was an honour to go to Guildhall in the City and be guided through a ceremony which goes back it is believed, virtually unchanged, to 1237.
As explained by the City of London website:
“The medieval term ‘freeman’ meant someone who was not the property of a feudal lord but enjoyed privileges such as the right to earn money and own land. Town dwellers who were protected by the charter of their town or city were often free – hence the term ‘freedom’ of the City.
From the Middle Ages and the Victorian era, the Freedom was the right to trade, enabling members of a Guild or Livery to carry out their trade or craft in the Square Mile.’
So. I didn’t expect to be as emotional as I was.
It hit me as I started to read the words given to me. Family and friends were standing behind me and as I started my voice went…
“I do solemnly swear that I will be good and true to our Sovereign Lord King Charles the Third; that I will be obedient to the Mayor of this City; that I will maintain the Franchises and Customs thereof, and will keep this City harmless, in that which in me is; that I will also keep the King’s Peace in my own person; that I will know no Gatherings nor Conspiracies made against the King’s Peace, but I will warn the Mayor thereof, or hinder it to my power; and that all these points and articles I will well and truly keep, according to the Laws and Customs of this City, to my power.”
I’m sharing this with you, not to impress you in any way but more to encourage you to be prepared to let your emotion out at times. When you’d think you wouldn’t need or want to.
As I started to say “our Sovereign Lord King Charles the Third” off I went…thinking of my parents and how proud they would have been, our recently deceased Queen, my career starting as a secretary and getting very lost and frustrated at times – and now here I am – all these thoughts flashed through my mind.
Here’s what I learned with this experience though .
It may help you with public declarations, presentations, eulogies, wedding speeches etc.
Anywhere when you’re speaking something meaningful.
- People don’t want you to be perfect.
- You need to ‘feel‘ what you’re saying and it makes it all the more real for you AND for those listening to you.
- Showing your humanity and humility, if you will, connects for others and – as ever – connects for you yourself.
It was wonderful to then celebrate afterwards with Champagne and a lovely lunch with those who were with me.
Carefully chosen as key people on my career/life journey!
I slept well that night…
In other news…
We’ve had our family staying with us for 3 weeks and it’s been very ‘busy’ in our home! 8 for dinner and staying one night, 7 the next then 2, 6, 4 – all change and it’s been wonderful. With my sister living in Crete and my nephew in Prague, our new home has been a lovely base. And we’ve also moved my niece and her man into their new home, about 15 minutes away from ours! What a precious time…