JACOB Thomas thought meeting Queen Elizabeth II would be a breeze, but when the moment finally came out, they freaked out.
“I’m going to be really honest – the entire week I thought it’s going to be fine, it’s the Queen – don’t worry about it, you’ll be sweet,” Thomas told the Star Observer.
“I freaked out a little bit and stuttered. But she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Her eyes are so kind and she asks you so genuinely who you are, what you are doing – she looked at me and gave me this big smile full of warmth and said ‘thank you, we need people like you to do this sort of stuff’.”
Thomas got the opportunity to meet the Queen after becoming one of two Australians to win the Queen’s Young Leaders award for 2016.
The award recognised Thomas’ work around suicide prevention for Australia’s LGBTQI community, and human rights work.
Thomas’ ten-day trip to London was during a politically-charged time for the the UK – coinciding with Jo Cox’s murder, the outcome of the Brexit referendum and London Pride.
“We landed and went straight into an intensive program,” Thomas said.
“We were able to visit Twitter HQ in the UK, work with the BBC, visited Cambridge University – which was wonderful and delightful.”
Apart from meeting the Queen, Thomas said attending London Pride was another highlight of the trip.
“It was the biggest pride parade I’ve ever seen – it went for hours,” Thomas said.
“I got to see any entire city light up with enthusiasm, celebration and pride but also mourning.
“There were so many monuments representing the victims of Orlando, as well as one of the things I most appreciate, is people are still very, very political and they’re not stepping down. I felt so wonderfully overwhelmed.”