Palace honour for Harrogate historian

Pauline Litton with her MBE and Beefeaters outside Buckingham Palace (S)
Pauline Litton with her MBE and Beefeaters outside Buckingham Palace (S)

A Harrogate woman has been honoured at Buckingham Palace and been made an MBE by HRH The Prince of Wales.

Pauline Litton was named in the New Year’s Honours list, and has been awarded an MBE for her services to family history.

Mrs Litton, who is president on Harrogate and District Family History Association, travelled to London with her husband Roger for the investiture on Friday, May 10.

Mrs Litton said she was thrilled to receive the accolade, especially as hers is the first Royal honour to specifically mention family history.

But the momentous day is, Mrs Litton, said, “ all a bit of a blur”.

“I am waiting for the DVD to arrive to see what I actually did,” she added.

The couple spent the weekend of the investiture in London, and as the invitation allowed up to three guests, theywere joined by daughter Gill Bellamy and grandson Sam, eight, who has his first waistcoat and tie for the occasion, Mrs Litton said.

They were all impressed by the renowned organisation and precision of the occasion.

When their taxi arrived at the Palace Mrs Litton was taken into one room with the rest of the recipients, while the her family and guests waited elsewhere for the ceremony to begin.

On the stroke of the eleven, Prince Charles stepped into the room and the ceremony began, Mr Litton said.

Along with Mrs Litton and recipients from around the country being made MBEs, OBEs and higher honours, Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds was appointed an MBE at the same ceremony.

After the proceedings, Mrs Litton posed for photographs with he world famous Beefeaters outside Buckingham Palace.

Mrs Litton, a former history teacher, was first inspired when researching her own family history and has written several booklets and a book on the topic.

Her honour recognises a quarter of a century’s work to help other people find out about their own family history, which her nomination said amounts to “one of the most significant contributions of anyone in the family history and genealogical world.”

The nomination submission, supported by eminent historians, said: “Pauline has helped to democratise family history, moving it away from being an elite pursuit of the few to become the chosen hobby of the many - long before it became the hobby of the moment.

“She has helped countless people. Pauline does this by quietly beavering away.”