I had been officiating as toastmaster at a luncheon in Claridges, London. But the speeches had been running late and so by the time I had finished, I was in a desperate hurry to reach my next appointment at London's Guildhall.
After a mad dash across the centre of London to the City, I ran into the building and began to change into my regalia. It was then that I realised that I had left my black patent shoes at Claridges. There was no time for me to go back for them, nor even to send a cab to collect them.
Without any option, I dressed in my full uniform and had to don my regular footwear - brown suede shoes.
The Queen was guest of honour and it was, of course, a most important occasion. Her Majesty certainly noticed my out-of-place shoes but did not say anything. The look on her face was decidedly quizzical, however.
As you know, you do not speak to royalty until they speak to you, so I could not explain to her the reason. But a few months later at another event, I had the pleasure of being presented to Her Majesty, and took the opportunity of explaining why I had appeared at London's Guildhall wearing brown shoes.
The Queen, who is always humorous, said with a smile: "I thought, Mr Spencer, you were starting a new fashion."