A letter to the Queen……………..

I first wrote about this incident in 2014 and again in 2016 to celebrate the Queen’s 90th. Now, as we approach the weekend of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, I feel compelled to give it another airing. It still makes me laugh to this day, so without ado, I give you:

A letter to the Queen

“Your majesty.”

Is how I imagine the letter of complaint about me and the service I was running might have begun? Unfortunately, at the time, I did not have the foresight to take a copy of the letter, or I might not have had the opportunity.

This incident which occurred in 1997, at the time the UK was handing Hong Kong to the Chinese, taught me one fundamental lesson. If you are going to put ‘pen to paper’ and write a letter of complaint – then go straight to the top, do not ‘mess about with the people in the middle.

Believe it or not, this letter of complaint addressed to our Queen at Buckingham palace made its way over a few weeks (It did not take long) to my employer at the time. I first heard about it when my line manager waved a copy of it under my nose one morning and asked me to give him some background. Warning me that I was to be questioned further by Senior Management.

Luckily for me, or maybe due to some prescience, I had laboriously copied out all the correspondence between myself and the letter’s author, who was studying with us from Hong Kong and so had a thick file of correspondence to present to Senior Management.

I was not worried, to be honest. I genuinely felt that we had done the best we could in the circumstances. We were operating before emails, video links, Skype etc. So perhaps our mistake was in being too optimistic in agreeing to support this student living in Hong Kong.

In hindsight, I probably should have taken this to my manager earlier after being sent the same pieces of work three or four times. Each time with the same mistakes, comments and corrections by the tutor, nothing seemed to move on.

Presented with my file, Senior Management could see what had happened, could see there was no fault attached to either party and decided that it made sense to refund his fees in full. They also wrote to the Queen’s office to assure them that the matter was now closed.

As for me, I continued with this employer for a few more years before deciding to move on and start my own business.

But it tickles me that there is potentially a letter of complaint about me somewhere within the vaults at Buckingham Palace, and it tickles me that it found its way to my employer. Today I also feel a sense of pride that I live in a country where anyone from anywhere can write to our Queen and potentially have their cause taken up.

Now that is what I call accountability. 😊

So, there you have it, until next time.

Janice Taylor


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