I've been a Prince's Trust ambassador for HRH The Prince of Wales for over three years now, and for those unaware of the work of the charity, it helps young people aged 13-30 who have perhaps never had support before, fallen out of education or had a rough upbringing, turn their lives around in the face of adversity and get back into training, education and employment. And I can tell you, it works! Over 650,000 young people have been given the help they've asked for to make their lives better.
So, being a passionate young soul about young people (I'm also hugely involved in Childline), I was thrilled to be asked to rove the red carpet and interview my fellow celebrity ambassadors whilst Ant & Dec took charge of the main stage activities.
Now, being involved in such a huge event and of course with HRH being in attendance, protocol is of the highest order. Only shake The Prince's hand if he offers it, curtsey or bow is optional, address HRH as Your Royal Highness at first introduction, then it's 'Sir' after that, and whatever you do, DO NOT call him Prince Charles.
In a scene straight out of Bridget Jones, what is the only thing I can remember? The one thing I'm NOT allowed to say... Prince Charles. With the memory of my first time meeting HRH a few years ago at Highgrove (oh yeah, check me out!) still making me wince in embarrassment, (I attempted a curtsey and didn't commit to it properly, and instead of looking sophisticated, I looked like I'd drunkenly fallen over on my inappropriate stilettos!), I was determined that this time was to be perfect. To coin a Blackadder phrase, 'I'm not at home to Mr Cock Up'.
After a delightful morning sharing a dressing room with Brit award winner Emeli Sandé (I didn't need my ipod; her warm up served as the perfect entertainment), the 1,600 guests arrived in their droves, and the steady queue of interviewees was most diverse and interesting. Tom Hardy, rugby player Leon Lloyd, Gok Wan, Emma Bunton, Joanna Lumley, Justin Lee Collins, Keeley Hawes and Adam Deacon to name but a few fellow ambassadors.
Tom Hardy was a particular favourite - obviously his superb acting, right? - arriving alone after fiancée Charlotte Riley had to pull out due to illness. I'll be honest, I stooped to the lowest of desperate interviewer levels and demanded a kiss. It was so worth it, I got two.
Tom Hardy: With or without the beard? Let Anna know your thoughts in the comments below.
Having just finished filming the new Batman movie and currently in training for his next project as Max Max, Tom - sporting a scraggy beard for which we will forgive him this time - was giving nothing away for fear of getting into trouble as he did apparently following his Jonathon Ross appearance. As an active ambassador who runs acting workshops for the Prince's Trust, Tom not only had me hook, line and sinker, he was also to be found at the after party babysitting one of the winner's babies. Now THAT's the ultimate bloke surely. Well done Tom, the sight of you swanning around with a Prince's Trust Award winner's nipper caused universal swooning from men and women alike.
Joanna Lumley was on excellent form as always; a truly delightful and classy lady. With the Olympics this year, she teased the third and final Absolutely Fabulous special which will tie in with celebrations. I can't wait to see what her and Jennifer Saunders come up with!
Of all the guests, it has to be said that one of my favourites was Bafta winner Adam Deacon. With a tough upbringing in Hackney, Adam is already doing so much for the Trust and inspiring so many young people. A humble, grateful and articulate guy, he got extra brownie points from me for humouring my rather confused mother who'd accompanied me for the day. Chatting to him at the pre-awards drinks, she apparently thought he was one of the finalists, and after much probing from my mother dearest, he indulged her questioning, explained all about his acting, writing, directing, and the fact he'd recently won a Bafta. All this said with complete respect and humility. A refreshingly unaffected chap and he was clearly one of the young people's favourites. And as it turned out, my mum's too.
So, did I get away without any classic 'Anna' faux pas? Sadly not. Part of my role was to 'announce' the celebrity ambassadors as part of the video coverage being transmitted into the auditorium whilst they met HRH during the lineup. Think my 'David Attenborough' moment. All was going well, in fact I had it nailed... until it got to Emma Bunton. Now, I know what I meant but to the amusement of all 1,600 guests watching and listening intently, I ended up implying HRH was, erm, 'looking' at the Spice Girl. The sentence I actually came out with was; 'And now The Prince is casting his eye over firm friend Emma Bunton...'. What I meant was; 'He's waiting to talk to her next'. Doh!
Oh well, I was in good company as HRH thought one of the show sponsors was 'Viagra'. It wasn't I can assure you - it was 'Niagra', but it caused quite a ripple of appreciated laughter through the venue. And I'm thrilled I didn't get the curtsey or 'address' wrong. Having 'popped' onto the end of the lineup to take my turn to be introduced, I was thrilled when The Prince turned to me exclaiming, 'Where have you appeared from?' and then came over for a lovely chat ribbing me for being 'the busy lady with the microphone'.
I am unashamedly a huge Prince of Wales fan. He is charming, kind, a terrific speaker, and he really does care. I am honoured to be a part of his Trust and I hope to continue to help him and his young people for many years to come. For any details on The Prince's Trust and to watch my celeb and winners interviews, please check out www.princes-trust.org.uk
A huge thank you too to Mathew and the fabulous O Spa in Kensington who helped get me red carpet ready - with a superb hot stone massage and 24 carat gold facial, it really was the perfect way to feel ready for royalty. Thank you for your kindness and if you're after total luxury and pampering, this celeb hideaway is well worth a visit.
Aston and Marvin from JLS's matching hair.
Embarrassing Bodies - in the opening titles, 'There's no shame, we're all the same' and then cutting to the woman shoving a plastic hose up her bottom and pouring Nescafe into said orifice. Can I just clarify, we are most certainly NOT all the same. I wouldn't be sticking a homemade enema anywhere near my behind thank you very much.
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings – Danielle Mason's (Jessie Wallace's sister) traveller husband Tony suggesting proudly that newborn baby Rudy is 'definitely going to be a cage fighter' - there's nothing like reaching for the stars eh!