For Queen and Country

God Save The Queen… and Majulah Singapura!

On 21 October 2014, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II held a State Banquet in advance of the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence. Her guests of honour were the President of the Republic of Singapore, Mr. Tony Tan Keng Yam, and his wife.

The historic event celebrated the shared history and deep bonds of friendship between the United Kingdom and Singapore.

It was a singular privilege for W!LD RICE to be represented at the event by our Artistic Director Ivan Heng and Executive Director Tony Trickett.

“My husband Tony and I were very honoured and deeply moved to attend,” Ivan said. “It’s such a great honour for Singapore and its art community, and serves as recognition for W!LD RICE and the work we have done over the years.”

The invitation was so unexpected that Katherine Khoo, our office manager, thought someone was playing a prank when she answered a phone call from Buckingham Palace. It was only when an e-mail confirmation arrived that she could be sure she had indeed been in touch with the Queen’s own protocol department, run by the Master of the Household.

“It was a surreal experience climbing the stairs leading up to the banquet hall and being introduced to the Queen,” Ivan remembered.

“I was awe-struck and star-struck! After all, this is a woman who’s on her country’s currency and postage stamps. She has really lived through and seen it all. We’ve all grown up with her.”

The banquet itself – can you spot Ivan?
Photo courtesy of Majesty Magazine

“It was a really royal affair,” Ivan recalled of the banquet. “What was surprising was how moving and intimate this grand occasion was. On one level, there’s so much pomp and ceremony to it. No one does that kind of grandeur like the British.

“And yet, we were also made to feel very much at home in an unexpectedly intimate dinner. We were shown so much hospitality and warmth in the brief time we were in Buckingham Palace.”

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