I recall shedding classroom tears in my Norfolk village school on being told of the death of King George VI at Sandringham on February 6,1952. Teachers joined in to show us it wasn’t always a sign of weakness to cry.

I reminded myself of that poignant little lesson as we started mourning the loss of the wonderful woman who replaced him on the throne and lived up to our pleas “long to reign over us.”

Tears of sadness gave way to parish celebrations on a wave of Coronation community laughter and joy. Crusty old sons of the soil and housewives in curlers and headscarves raised a glass to “a wonderful mawther” while children hailed the dawn of a new Elizabethan era with egg-and-spoon race and fancy dress parade.

Contrasting moods and antics from that testing era of post-war austerity to underline the strength of feelings for regal links with a rural county all too often dismissed as being on the road to nowhere. My stock response to those who took the rise out of my home county soon became “Well, the Queen and her family seem to enjoy regular visits and listening to the locals.”

It was an uplifting pleasure to discover Her Majesty liked the Norfolk dialect and could manage a tidy impression at Christmas gatherings. A copy of my book, Larn Yarself Norfolk, found its way to royal headquarters and prompted a generous letter of thanks from 'a leardy–in-waitin'.

I stopped short of asking if the “proper” version of the Singing Postman anthem ought to be 'Does One Hev a Loight, Boy?' , but I did enjoy a short but telling conversation with my monarch at Buckingham Palace in 2007 when she awarded me an MBE for services to the Norfolk community.

Norwich Evening News: Keith Skipper met the Queen in 2007 when he was awarded an MBEKeith Skipper met the Queen in 2007 when he was awarded an MBE (Image: BCA Film)

I made a rare trip to the capital, carefully chaperoned by my wife and sons, to collect “My Bewtiful Embellishment,” suitably booted and suited for the grand occasion. One of the Queen’s team informed her I had founded Friends of Norfolk Dialect in 1999 and relished every opportunity to sing the praises of our glorious vernacular.

Her Majesty nodded knowingly and remarked: “I enjoy it too ..but I do find it extremely difficult to read.” My response was swift and instinctive. “Well, thass why we write it noice an’ slow.”

Her gentle smile informed me I had got away with that small dash of Norfolk audacity and wouldn’t have to do penance in the Tower or take elocution lessons before heading home.

There we are, I thought, a proper leader with a keen sense of humour, exemplary tolerance and cheerful brand of forgiveness. How I wish so many others met along my busy paths as scribe, broadcaster and wandering mardler had mustered similar qualities ahead of cheap jibes and bad yokel impressions.

I mingled regularly with the great and the good along with plenty of worthy also-rans over my 16 years as a deputy lieutenant of Norfolk, a privileged post offering a host of golden opportunities to preach a “Dew Diffrunt” gospel with durable characteristics such as our rich dialect at its heart. Tough going at times – but I knew vital support was available from the very top.

Our long-serving Queen clearly knew the difference between Norfolk and Mummerzet, something completely missing among national radio and television drama producers, along with so-called dialect coaches and professional actors, responsible for countless abominations when it comes to echoing our authentic local voices.

Her Majesty relieved me of one of the heaviest burdens a gnarled old Norfolk native is destined to bear – a strong suspicion that he’s being patronised or pitied. I had got used to feeling like that after years of ploughing unfashionable furrows and accepting the role of quaint anachronism in a modern media world along the international supper-highway..

Why on earth should anyone prefer to get stuck down hemlock-choked county lanes exchanging droll yarns, dialect phrases and dogmatic points of view? What’s the attraction in being hailed an eccentric left-over from an idyllic pastoral scene that might not have existed at all?

There can be scope for critics and cynics to admit it may be nice to see people building their own village halls, reviving that old-fashioned community spirit and trying o hold on to pubs, buses, hedgerows and local colour. The art of condescension is not yet dead. But when it comes to that very peculiar dialect ..

My trip to Buckingham Palace to meet our Queen told me Norfolk does carry exceptional powers of absorption. The old place still permits a parochial renegade not only the right to exist with impunity but also to flourish without apology in a climate where “dew diffrunt” sunshine bursts mercifully through dull clouds of uniformity.