An influencer whose “hilarious” meeting with the Queen aged six made newspaper headlines 20 years ago has said the “wholesome and wonderful experience” showed her she “can do anything”.
Katie Meehan, now 26, was chosen to represent St Joseph’s Primary School when the Queen visited Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, in 2002 to mark her Golden Jubilee – and stepped up to offer the monarch a bouquet of flowers.
In an awkward moment photographed by the PA news agency, Ms Meehan stepped the wrong way, causing the head of state to laugh and landing a prime spot in the Shields Gazette about her “dance with the Queen”.
Ms Meehan, who was born with a cystic hygroma, said the moment has always been a “wonderful thing” as it “wasn’t centred around the fact that I have a facial disfigurement”.
“I had months of curtseying lessons before that,” Ms Meehan, who is now a beauty and fashion influencer based in south-east London, told PA.
“But you know when you walk past someone in the street and you try to get past them, but you both go the wrong way? I did that with the Queen.
“I managed to give her the flowers and she found it hilarious, she was laughing at me.
“And the headline the next day in the newspaper was something like ‘Our Katie Dances with The Queen’.”
Ms Meehan said meeting the Queen is a “fond memory”.
“It’s always been such a wonderful thing to have been able to do,” she said.
“It wasn’t centred around the fact that I have a facial disfigurement.
“I think that was the most important thing, it wasn’t (out of) pity.
“It was such a wholesome and wonderful experience.
“When things like that happen to you at a young age – being able to do things like meet the Queen, it makes you realise that you truly can do anything.”
She spoke of being relaxed by the Queen’s laughter as the event was broadcast on children’s TV programme Blue Peter.
“I was quite nervous to meet her until the day and then as soon as I met her, I wasn’t nervous at all,” Ms Meehan said.
“You realise she’s just another person and she’s going through the motions of what she has to do, and that little bit of laughter was really sweet.
“She asked me how I was, (it was) very much polite small talk.”
“And it was not just a local thing – I got to spend the day with Matt Baker, and I got a (Blue Peter) badge.”