A naval engineer who was honoured at Buckingham Palace made sure the day of the ceremony was extra special by proposing to his partner at the palace.
Matthew Gallimore, an air engineering technician in the Royal Navy, got down on one knee in the residence’s quadrangle after collecting an MBE for his services to the military.
The royal household would not permit Mr Gallimore to propose inside but he still wanted to surprise partner Adele Thomasson and make it a “special day” for the both of them.
“I’ve had about four or five awards now in the navy, and she’s been to all my awards and it has always been all about me,” he told the PA news agency.
“This is a big occasion, we are never going to do this again, so I thought I want to share the occasion with my partner.
“Rather than it being all about me all the time, let’s make it a special day for both of us.”
Mr Gallimore, a junior rate who has been in the Navy for five years, was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list and said he began planning the proposal as soon as he received the letter.
“I rang up the palace and said, ‘can I do it inside the palace?’ and they said ‘no, you have to do it outside’,” the 35-year-old told PA.
“They said, ‘at the end of the day it’s the Queen’s house, so the last thing you want to do is annoy the Queen’. And that’s the last thing I want!”
Mr Gallimore and the palace agreed that he would propose in the quadrangle, a courtyard in the middle of the palace, after receiving his award from the Duke of Cambridge on Tuesday.
He said: “I kept it all quite private really, I asked her dad’s permission. There’s only about half a dozen people who knew, Adele didn’t have a clue.
“She was chuffed, she didn’t have a clue. She was very, very surprised.”
The couple celebrated their special day with drinks at The Ritz Hotel in the capital followed by dinner at The Ivy.
Mr Gallimore, from Crewe, called the earlier investiture ceremony “lovely”, adding that he was pleased William was the royal who presented him with the honours.
He told PA: “I said to my parents beforehand if it wasn’t the Queen doing it, I would have liked it to have been him.
“I know all of the royal family have done military time, but I’ve got a lot of time for William and Harry.
“Once I knew it was him I was a bit more relaxed to be honest. If it had been the Queen I’d have been panicking.”
Mr Gallimore, who is based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, said the duke had called the engineer’s military and charity work “amazing”, and added: “I wouldn’t be surprised if I see you here again in the future.”
The couple recently bought a house together and have a 20-month-old son, George.
Ms Thomasson, 36, a support worker, also has a nine-year-old daughter, Emily.
On what it meant to be recognised with the honours, Mr Gallimore told PA: “We’re from a council estate and getting told at school you’re never going to achieve anything, because I’m dyslexic, and now I’m quite well known in my community.
“My family are thrilled to bits, my mum, my dad, especially my partner.
“Everyone is more than chuffed.”