Monica, Messenger at 10 Downing Street
My name is Monica. I started working with the Prime Minister’s Office as a Messenger and served 2 Prime Ministers during my time. I worked in Downing Street for a total of 14 years and enjoyed every minute of that time. I worked for Sir John Major in his time at Number 10 for 4 years and then Tony Blair for 10 years.
My duties as a Messenger included looking after the Prime Ministers directly, ensuring he had all he required such as refreshments, access to members of staff and anything of a personal nature in his residence. This also included allowing people, such as Clive (the clock man) to wind the clocks in the Number 10 flat, which he did in most of the buildings in Whitehall.
As part of my duty at that time we were required to stay overnight in Number 10. This was to ensure duties such as carafes being full, pencils and papers available in the Cabinet Room and many other jobs were completed.
During my time with Sir John Major he introduced me to Her Majesty the Queen on Sir Ted Heath’s 80th birthday dinner party, hosted by the Prime Minister at Number 10. Unknown to the Prime Minister at the time, meeting Her Majesty was my childhood ambition, and I am so happy that I was able to do so.
After seeing the Prime Minister on his way back from seeing Her Majesty to the front door I said “thank you Prime Minister” and he said “I knew you would like that”. On one occasion, we would be required to take the Prime Minister’s Red box to Cambridge with his papers and Dame Norma’s mother would also get a lift as she sometimes spent time at Number 10.
During the week that Sir John Major was going to leave, I was on my knees one day outside the Private Office checking the mini bar making sure there was enough bottled water. The Prime Minister said to me “Monica, you don’t have to go that far” and I said “Prime Minister I am praying for you” and everybody started laughing.
I found Sir John to be a very pleasant man to work for and enjoyed working with him.
During my time with Tony Blair, I noticed there were a lot of changes when he came into power, for example there were lots more staff which meant extra offices and a new Number 10 café.
As I would personally attend to the Prime Minister when working my shifts especially the nightshift, I used to leave many knickknacks such as cheese sticks and other treats for Mr Blair. He always knew it was me when he found these and he was very pleased.
I have many fond memories from this time as well, which included Tony Blair’s dad playing the piano for me in the Number 10 flat. The detectives used to say “watch him Monica he likes the girls”.
I met Nelson Mandela on 3 occasions; which included once before he became President and Tony Blair introduced me personally to him in the lift.
I have met many other heads of states, singers and actresses in my time including Shirley Bassey and Cliff Richard too. I have many memorable events in Downing Street from my time working there and this will always be a job I will remember.