In addition to my usual “Keeping Up with the Cambridges” piece, I am here to bring you a more personal tale….a tale about a young woman’s passion for the British Monarchy, and more specifically The Duchess of Cambridge.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the young woman I speak of is me. Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a strong interest in the British Royal Family starting with Princess Diana and her two handsome Princes. My dear friend Meagan and I used to fight over who would get to marry William and Harry, and let me tell you, it got ugly. My interest diminished somewhat as I got older, but was brought back to life when The Duchess of Cambridge nee Kate Middleton entered the picture. I had finally accepted defeat, that I wasn’t in fact going to marry William, but if anyone was going to take my place, I was happy it was Kate. Here was a young woman from humble beginnings who stole the heart of a Prince, and managed to steal our hearts in the process. Not only is Catherine beautiful, but she radiates kindness and warmth that can be hard to find, especially in someone of her position. What also struck me was her modesty and elegance in the way she dressed and carried herself, which again is hard to find in a young woman in the spotlight. Can anyone say Lindsey Lohan or Kim Kardashian? Needless to say I was hooked, and I gladly and openly drank the Royal Kool-Aid.
When the internet was abuzz with rumors that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were coming to New York, I didn’t quite believe it at first. It seemed unlikely, and something I had only dreamed about. Luckily, my doubts were squashed when the official announcement came out that William and Kate were indeed coming to the Big Apple. I knew right away that I had to make an effort to catch a glimpse of the couple come hell or high water. I mean, what other real chance would I get? I couldn’t wait until I started dating Harry, no no that was too long, I had to act now.
I happened to be off from work the Monday that Will and Kate were here, so as soon as I woke up I started devising a plan. Kate had two solo engagements during the day and I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the 11 a.m Harlem school visit, so I aimed for the luncheon with the British Consulate. I live just outside Manhattan, so I checked the train times and proceeded to get ready. As I was just about finished, my gut told me to double check the train times and when I did, I shouted one big expletive (not what Kate would do) and ran around the house like a mad woman. I had accidentally read the departure time as 10 minutes later than it really was so the chance of me making this train was very slim. I decided to go for it and try my best…and by best I mean maybe, possibly, probably going through a red light. Hey, all is fair in love and Royal watching, no? I parked my car, and ran like the dickens across the street as the train was pulling up. Thankfully, I made it onto the train and all was right in the universe.
As I arrived in the city, I looked up the address for the British Embassy and started to walk over in that direction. Something didn’t feel right however, and when I approached the supposed destination, there wasn’t a barricade or police officer in sight. Not to mention, it was a high-rise building on busy 3rd avenue which seemed an odd location for a luncheon. I panicked and messaged our editor Amanda and asked her to look into it for me, and was crestfallen when she told me “she is already inside”. I double checked with the doorman and he said that the British Embassy was in the building, but the Duchess was not here. Disappointed and confused, I demanded Amanda find the correct address for me so I could continue on my quest, and luckily she had just what I needed! The luncheon was at the private residence of the British Consulate which happened to be just a few blocks from the embassy. As I turned onto the street, I knew I was in the right place…
When I reached the end of the street I saw the barricades, photographers, and a small crowd of waiting fans. There were two young girls who came all the way from Ohio, a couple from Colorado, and some native New Yorkers who snuck out of the office on their lunch break. We were told by one of the police officers that she would be out in approximately 20 minutes, but that came and went, and there was still no sign of Kate. There were a few false alarms of other residents coming out of the building, and I couldn’t help but think it was reminiscent of watching the Lindo Wing doors when Prince George was born. Many of us are still suffering from the side effects of what I like to call LWSD or Lindo Wing Stress Disorder. With each passing minute, I was growing colder and colder and started to lose feeling in my fingers and toes, but hey, what is a little frostbite in the grand scheme of things?
After waiting for an hour, the police started closing down the street so we knew that her departure was imminent. This was it! The moment I had waited for was about to happen and I couldn’t have been more excited. The two doors swung open and out she came in all her glory, looking exactly as I imagined she would. We cheered Kate’s name and she turned to face us with a big smile and a wave before getting into her car. As the car pulled away, I could see her hand through the heavily tinted windows giving one last wave goodbye. All in all, the moment was fleeting, but filled with so many emotions. Here was a woman who I idolized, that I now saw in the flesh and not just on the pages of a magazine or on my computer screen. The whole aspect of that was nothing short of surreal, and as I started to walk away, an older gentleman said to me “you’ll remember that for the rest of your life”. I simply smiled and knew that truer words had never been spoken…