26th November 2011As Samantha Stevenson stared out from the stage of the Royal Albert Hall, the 28-year-old mother of two watched in awe and astonishment as the audience slowly rose to their feet and unleashed a cacophony of applause.
From the royal box, the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla smiled down warmly.
Along with the 100 women standing beside her in elegant black evening wear, she tried to stop the tears from falling. Tried — and failed.
United in song (from left): Samantha Stevenson; Nicky and George Scott; Hayley and Ade Bowles; and Emma and Gavin Williams. BBC2's The Choir: Military Wives has changed their lives
If you had told the Scottish housewife nine months ago that she would be singing a solo in front of not only the Royal Family but an audience of 2.65 million viewers on national TV, she would have dismissed you as deranged. For by her own admission, she is a woman whose whole life has been led behind the scenes.
Samantha is a military wife and, like thousands of others in her position, she’d long ago accepted that she was not the ‘star’ of the family. The uniforms, the risk-taking, the cheering crowds and royal salutes, that was for husbands like hers — the heroes who fight overseas — not for the wives left behind to quietly get on with the day-to-day business of raising a family. Not that Samantha minded.
‘A lot of the focus is on the men, and rightly so,’ she says. ‘But we wives and children do get forgotten about. When our husbands are in Afghanistan, it is hard for us, too. We have to be single mothers and try to keep strong for our kids.’...
Much more on these Military Wives - Heroes every single day - here