Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube
East Midlands Chamber News

Whirlwind day for Eileen

Chamber Director Eileen Richards enjoyed “an amazing day” at Buckingham Palace last week when Prince Charles presented her with her MBE.


She described the 24 hours of her investiture as an “indescribable whirlwind of emotions”.


I had such an amazing day and Prince Charles was so engaging and easy to talk to. It all feels very surreal now,” said Eileen, founder of Eileen Richards Recruitment, Leicester.


“Presenting my MBE, Prince Charles said: ‘Reading about you, I see you are a real go-getter business lady’,” said Eileen, who is also a trustee of Leicester-based charity Hope Against Cancer and a co-founder of Enterprising Women, the Chamber’s annual awards recognising women in business.


The first Eileen knew that she was even being considered for an honour was when she received a letter from the Cabinet Office in April advising her that the Prime Minister was proposing to submit her name to the Queen to recognise her for her services to female entrepreneurship.


“It was only when Leicester Mercury reporter Tom Pegden called a few months later to congratulate me and ask for a quote that I realised I would, in fact, be receiving an MBE,” said Eileen, adding: “I can’t repeat exactly how that quote went.”


On the 9 June, the London Gazette published the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, in which Eileen’s name was presented.


Alongside the feeling of being “completely overwhelmed”, Eileen received “hundreds of notes and messages, almost feeling like love letters from friends, family, the business community and even strangers who passed on their congratulations”.


Supporting local business aligns with Eileen personally and professionally and so designing and creating an outfit for the investiture was placed in the capable hands of Sarah Brown, a Leicester-based designer, and a hat was made and styled by Giulia Mio, of Rutland Street, in the city.


High Street-based Lumber’s Jewellers, a Chamber member, invited Eileen to choose diamond earrings, necklace and a stunning bracelet to wear on her big day. She chose a beautiful amethyst surrounded with diamonds.


Eileen said: “Wow, what a great experience, they were happy for me to choose anything and shared a glass of champagne to raise a toast.”


To celebrate the occasion, Eileen headed down to London with her husband Chris and daughter Amelia on Tuesday afternoon to enjoy the finer side of the capital city ahead of the investiture, which took place on Wednesday 21 November.


Of the day itself, Eileen said: “It was an indescribable whirlwind of emotions, I cannot put into words how privileged I feel to have been able to experience such a phenomenal 24 hours and to be awarded an MBE by Prince Charles.


“Supporting women in business and being part of the collaboration between organisations throughout the Midlands is something I took a natural lead and interest in but I never expected my commitment would be recognised with such a prestigious honour.


“I would like to thank all of the people who have contributed to me achieving this award. I am beyond grateful for this outstanding recognition.


“Prince Charles had certainly read about me, and was very interested in my business, in Hope against Cancer and in my role as a Board Director for East Midlands Chamber, including Enterprising Women. And he was very complimentary about Leicestershire. It was a day I will never forget.”