Raspberry Pi at Buckingham Palace, 3 million sold

Apart from the bit where someone who shall not be named yanked a power cable early, corrupting our Minecraft demo SD card, and apart from the bit where we got horribly lost just inside the congestion zone, we had a very smooth time of it on Monday, when Craig, Eben and I rocked up at Buckingham Palace at 2pm to set up a demo stand for that evening’s UK Tech Reception. We were told by frowning courtiers that we were not allowed to take any pictures inside – but happily the Palace photographer was there to catch the very surreal moment when I found myself explaining to the Queen what a Raspberry Pi is.

Buckingham Palace Raspberry Pi

L-R: Craig Richardson, Eben (peeping over my shoulder), me, the Queen, Prince Andrew

Sadly, there was no photographer there for the bit where Prince William waved at us and shouted “Ha! It’s Raspberry Pi!”, but I can tell you now that I don’t expect anything weirder to happen to me all year.

You may remember that Prince Andrew came to visit us here at Pi Towers last year. We gave him a Raspberry Pi when he left, and were really chuffed to discover on Monday that he’s been using it; he’s also very well-versed in our charitable mission and our work with teachers and kids. It was very strange, and rather brilliant, to hear him introducing what we do to the Queen, and to talk to him about industrial applications for the Raspberry Pi.

We had some more news to tell people at the reception too: back in October, when Prince Andrew visited, we were celebrating the sale of our 2 millionth Raspberry Pi. We were able to announce the sale of the 3 millionth Raspberry Pi (which actually sold over a month ago – the way we work with manufacturing partners RS Components and Premier Farnell means that our receipt of sales figures lags behind the actual sales by several weeks).

Eben also has a new anecdote, which he fully intends on dining out on until the end of all time: once I had finished blithering at the Duke of Edinburgh about the Computing Curriculum, he approached Eben.

DoE: “Your company is doing well?”
Eben, beaming: “It is. We have just sold our three-millionth unit.”
DoE: “So you can afford to buy a bloody tie then.”
Duke of Edinburgh scampers off to next stand, cackling.

To be fair, ties were not specified in the invitation, and we heard the Duke of Edinburgh saying something very similar to every man in the room who wasn’t wearing one – but Eben says it’s the very nicest insult he’s ever had. Craig says: “That went remarkably well, considering that some parts of my suit were held together by Sellotape.”

You can read more about the reception in the Guardian.