13 October 2022
In June 2022, Breathworks Co-Founder, Vidyamala Burch, was recognised in the Queen's Jubilee Honours for her extraordinary services to pain-management and wellbeing. In this blog, Vidyamala describes her visit to Buckingham Palace on 12 October 2022 to collect her OBE. 

It was a happy and celebratory day going to the Palace with my partner, Sona Fricker, and his two daughters Shanti and Sundari. In Sweden step-children are called 'bonus' children and Shanti and Sundari definitely feel like that to me and I was delighted to be able to take the three of them as my guests.
The day started early getting dressed up in our newly purchased posh clothes before heading off and sweeping into the Palace Grounds in our car.  From the moment we arrived we were treated with the utmost courtesy and friendliness and soon found ourselves gathering with the other recipients and their guests in the 'picture gallery' room. It was stunning to view the amazing paintings by Rembrandt, Reubens, Caravaggio and others as we mingled and waited for proceedings to begin. 

Then there was a 'briefing' to tell us what would happen and put us at our ease. Curtsy or bow, but don't do both. Address the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) who was conducting the investitures as "Your royal highness" and then "Ma'am" - something I promptly forgot. Then we headed into the 'green room' (replete with paintings of royal children down the centuries). We lined up in order of the ceremony before heading into the 'throne room' one-by-one for our investiture. This is a deep red room where the throne from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II is situated. I didn't feel very nervous as the whole atmosphere was formal yet friendly and I reminded myself that Princess Anne must have witnessed many faux pas over the years!

When my turn came, my guests were ushered to the other side of the room so they could witness my 'moment' and I wheeled up to Princess Anne who was remarkably present and clear and well-informed. She opened our conversation by asking me about Breathworks and seemed genuinely interested. She asked me how my life has changed through meditation and it was wonderful to tell her how much it has been transformed since I learned to meditate and work with my mind. She closed the conversation by reminding me she is Patron of the Spinal Injuries Association and her commitment to the cause. It was astonishing the level of detail she had memorised about me and my work and she was fluent and kind. I have no idea how she could do that for the 60 people she was honouring that day. As the person shepherding us in said: "She's a real pro".

We then left, had formal pics taken outside, took loads of informal pics and then got to see the changing of the guard from inside the grounds which was amazing! You've got to remember I was brought up in New Zealand where we ever only got to witness this kind of pomp and ceremony on the telly. 

When we left we swept out of the grounds in our car with the police clearing the way and the crowds waved at us as if we were royalty. Of course we gaily waved back before heading off for an exotic afternoon tea and then home for a rest. What a wonderful day!

Eager to learn more? Read about Vidyamala's inspirational story and the history of Breathworks here