A knight’s tale


I was privileged to find myself having dinner with chemistry’s newest Knight Bachelor (Sir Fraser Stoddart) at the Ritz Hotel last night, where we chatted about his visit to Buckingham Palace the day before – the bit where Her Majesty the Queen taps him on the shoulders with a sword. He recalled the sequence of events and the brief conversation he had with Her Majesty and has kindly agreed to share them with the readers of the Sceptical Chymist:

It all begins with Fraser being presented to Her Majesty by the Lord Chamberlain:

Lord Chamberlain: “May I present to Your Majesty, Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart, for services to chemistry and nanotology” (No, that last word is not misspelled!)

THE CEREMONY (the kneeling and sword bit)

Her Majesty: “He got that wrong, didn’t he?”

Sir Fraser: “He certainly did, Your Majesty.”

Her Majesty: “What should it be then, nanotechnology?”

Sir Fraser: “You’ve got it right, Ma’am”

Her Majesty: "It’s about very small things, isn’t it?

Sir Fraser: “Indeed, it’s about tiny things that are 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, Ma’am”

Her Majesty: “That’s exceedingly small. You work in America now, I’m told.”

Sir Fraser: “That’s so, Ma’am”

After approximately 18 seconds, apparently the average amount of time each person receiving an honour spends with Her Majesty, Fraser recalled that, “At this point, she extends her right hand, and I mine for she leaves me with no choice. A strong handshake is followed by a big approving smile from Her Majesty, and I am on my merry way.”

I normally try to end these posts with a witty comment, but this one speaks for itself..!


Stuart Cantrill (Associate Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)

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