I happened to find myself on retinue for a queen that I had never met and didn't even know of. This queen was new to the kingdom and didn't know many people in the north but wanted to have retinue on both sides of the kingdom so they didn't have to travel as much. I had never been on retinue before so I was very concerned about doing it right. I wanted to make a good impression.
(Un)Fortunately, 2 of the 3 northern events after I was officially inducted were in Caer Galen (Boulder) and at each of these events, I had already volunteered to coordinate something. I told the head lady-in-waiting this and said that I would be happy to fit in shifts when I wasn't doing the things I'd already committed to. On the second (third?) event, I was given my Stag's Heart award for service. It was a huge shock because I really hadn't thought that I had done much for the queen yet. When she gave me the award she said "You volunteered on my retinue, but every event you can't serve much because you're running around all over doing another million things."
I didn't really know this queen from Eve. I think I had met her once but even while I was on retinue, I was sitting outside a room or standing behind the thrones in court. We hadn't even really had a conversation. But...HOLY HELL!...she had noticed even so. I was inspired and instantly loyal. When it came time for Pennsic to roll around, I just happened to be able to go. I would only be there for 5 days (2 half days and 3 whole ones) but I volunteered anyway. The head LIW asked if I was OK being on an 11 hour shift (the afternoon through the royal dinner) but that would be my only shift. I said, "Sure. Thanks for asking."
However, what happened in reality is that I was scheduled for another shift last minute and not told until AFTER I had come back from a fencing tourney, exhausted and sweaty, even though I had checked with the queen before the tourney (the head LIW wasn't there) and been told I wasn't needed. This shift was to take her to the Queen's Tea, wait until she was done, and take her back to camp. I asked her if she would prefer me to walk her over in my sweaty tunic, go back to camp to change, and then meet her there after, or if she could have a guard walk her over and switch out with him after I showered and changed. She told me the latter. So I ran my butt the full mile (or so it felt) to my camp, in the Pennsylvanian summer and got ready (because I had NO idea how long a "tea" went). Then I ran back to the tea, without eating, without drinking water, in 90 some-odd degrees and like a million percent humidity. And sat there....FOR A FREAKING HOUR!
When she was finally done, I walked her back to camp. She thanked me for my hard work and gave me a peacock feather. Then I learn that actually, having a lady at chili night that night would actually help the queen so I was asked to go. I said, "ok" but I needed a nap first. I crashed in a friend's tent that was closer than mine. When "chili time" came around, I couldn't get up. I'm pretty sure I had heat exhaustion. I begged out.
The next day, I tried to have fun during my free time, but I still felt horrible. About midday, I visit camp, and ask the royals if they needed help and what time they wanted the dinner that I had volunteered to cook. They said, "Well we have this late-afternoon food thing, so I doubt we'll be hungry." uh....ok....The guard that was sposed to help me with this dinner and I chatted and I asked if he could take care of it (he was supposed to have bought the food but he didn't) if they even needed it. He said he'd cover me because I probably look like death after a night of heavy drinking. I went back to my camp and took another nap.
Someone came to my camp around dinner time and asked if I was still gonna make the crown dinner. I said that I had already arranged someone else to do it if they needed it. I couldn't get there fast enough, but I would still be on retinue for the evening party. I showed up for that and it all seemed good. The following morning, the king brought it up and I apologized saying that I had a fever (which I did) and I hoped that the guard took care of everything. He didn't. "But it's fine," the king said, "We didn't really want dinner anyway." uh....ok.
Turns out after the event, the queen bitched at me to my baroness saying that I wasn't apologetic, that I didn't really take my duties seriously, and that I was unreliable. Uhhh...helllo....?! I went to an event cross the country where you didn't expect many retinue to attend where I killed myself, got dehydration and heat exhaustion and spent at least 2/3 of one of my 3 full days sleeping and another day and 1/2 on retinue all freaking day. Needless to say, there are no very few consorts whose retinue I'd actually volunteer to be on if they were made queen.
Oh and BTW: "Reine Chérie" doesn't mean "Dear Queen", it's means "Bitch Queen."