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The Queen with Nick True and Alec Johnson

What happens when an ex-punk rocker and an ex-professional footballer go to The Palace and meet the Queen?

Posted by emma.critchley | 15 July

The UK is packed full of entrepreneurs and business leaders, but how many of them form a duo where one has toured with R.E.M. and the other has nine International caps for the Welsh Football Association? 

Nick True, ex-punk rocker and current Chairman and Founder of TLC Marketing has performed at some of the UK’s most iconic venues including numerous times at the famous Marquee Club which hosted the world’s most legendary talent including, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie. His band toured with Bo diddley, The Smiths, The Alarm and The Boomtown Rats to name a few.

Alec Johnson, ex-professional footballer and current CEO and Co-Founder of TLC Marketing played for Millwall, Reading but most famously for Swansea City AFC and as a young professional gained nine international caps for Wales.

But last night the pair were not punks and footballers, they were our Chairman and CEO and were invited to Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty for the formal celebration of our Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2016. So what happens when a punk rocker and footballer get invited to The Palace to mingle with the Royals?

Nick and Alec in true TLC style, rocked up to Buckingham Palace in a 1964, Rolls Royce Phantom, with the window down, waving royally and saying, "how do you do?" to the gawking tourists left wondering who they were. When inside, they quickly worked out that to speak to a Royal, you first had to chat up the Equerry. They managed to speak to Princess Eugenie, Princess Anne, Princess Michael of Kent and The Queen herself, but their favourite story was their conversation with Prince Phillip. The Duke started;

Phillip: “What do you do chaps?” 

Alec: “We run a marketing agency”

Phillip: “What’s all that old chap?”

Nick: “Well we run loyalty and incentive campaigns for brands trying to retain customers or increase sales”

Phillip: “Oh and who do you do that for?”

Alec: “Well we’ve worked with Kellogg’s, The AA, Bupa…”

Phillip: “Oh! You’re just a pair of barrow boys aren’t you?!”

Nick and Alec thought it was hilarious given Phillip's reputation and felt honoured to be in The Duke's firing line. They laughed about it with Princess Anne and she too agreed it was very funny and said, ”He does have a way with words doesn't he? It could have been much worse” Nick and Alec later overheard one guest being branded a “con artist”. The insults were of course in jest and made what was a surreal experience, feel very normal.

“I am now a converted royalist” Alec tells us, “They made what is a dreamlike experience feel so relaxed. The champagne may have had something to do with that."

Nick asked the Head Historian for Royal furniture, “How does The Queen keep smiling?” with which she replied, “The Queen genuinely loves meeting people who contribute to this countries greatness. This is not a chore for her.” 

It’s a proud moment for anyone to get an invitation from The Queen to attend Buckingham Palace. It’s an even prouder moment when you earned your place.

What is a Queen's Award and what does it mean to TLC Marketing to win one?