Prince Edward Island Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis is at ease talking to people.
He can comfortably work a room with charm, grace and even a good dose of Island folksiness.
On Tuesday, his calm, easygoing socializing nature was put to the test like never before. He was about to meet the Queen, face to face, in Buckingham Palace.
“I don’t get nervous about very much but this is something that most people don’t get to do,’’ said Lewis.
“It is nerving to say the least even with someone as seasoned as me at meeting people.’’
As it would turn out, his anxiety was all for naught.
When the large double doors to the receiving room opened, Lewis took as instructed three steps forward, bowed and shook the Queen’s hand. His wife, Dorothy, of course curtseyed before Her Majesty as per protocol.
The Queen, notes Lewis, led the conversation. She also was able to put him at ease.
“Once I got in there, I was fine,’’ he said.
“She was very nice...She’s a very gracious lady - very, very gracious lady.’’
The Queen thanked Lewis for being her representative on Prince Edward Island, than asked him about his tenure to date as lieutenant governor as well as his work before the appointment.
Lewis told the Queen he considered a great honour to be lieutenant governor, particularly during her diamond jubilee year in 2012.
He presented her with a picture taken of the Queen during her royal visit to Prince Edward Island in 1959. He also gave her a copy of The Guardian’s publication 125 Years Through Our Eyes with tabs highlighting the pages containing pictures of the Queen.
Lewis spent about 30 minutes with the Queen along with the lieutenant governors of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and their spouses.
Setting a date for the meeting required plenty of to and fro following the investiture of Lewis as P.E.I.’s 41st lieutenant governor on Aug. 15, 2011.
“It’s quite a process,’’ he said
Even his admittance to Buckingham Palace involved a short delay. He and his wife spent about 10 minutes at the front gates of the palace as security there did not have the couple’s names on their schedule.
“Once we got up to the other door, they knew everything that was going on,’’ said Lewis.
And, he notes, the visit clearly was worth the wait.
“It’s something you will remember for a lifetime, of course,’’ he said.
“It was really good and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do it and I’m glad it’s over.’’