Shortly after Wills and Kate tied the knot in jolly old England, we Canadian commoners found out that the Duke and Duchess would be making their first trip abroad to... wait for it.... Canada! And better yet, their first stop would be in.... Ottawa! Canada's Capital! And most importantly, WHERE I LIVE. Young, attractive British royalty in my 'hood yo!
Needless to say, I was deliriously happy with this news. I thought to myself: "We must prepare, prepare to Royal chase". That would mean some serious crowd surfing since the newlyweds would be in Ottawa on Canada Day, the only day of the year that Ottawa is a "hip" city and there's a huge street party downtown. And by huge, I mean tens of thousands of people show up. It then reverts back to its dull, civil servant laden self. Not that I don't love where I live, but I know Ottawa ain't one of the cool kids, if you get my drift...
Wills and Kate were scheduled to arrive at 2 pm on June 30 at the Ottawa airport, which happened without a hitch. Then they would make two public appearances in downtown Ottawa. However, I was stuck in a meeting all day. Imagine this, if you will. I was in an office building not 10 minutes away from their first public appearance at a war memorial. That hurts people. It cuts to the bone.
To add salt to the wound, my boyfriend and stepdaughter were free to go to the estate of the Governor General (the site of the Royals' next public appearance) where William would make his first speech to the Canadian people. Jealous much? You know it. My stepdaughter has photos, PHOTOS of William and Kate! And I was NOT THERE! Because I was WORKING! But I digress...
The next day, July 1st, was Canada Day, one of those rare days when Canadians get all patriotic and shit. We love our country but we have trouble showing it. Except on Canada Day. Then we're all like, "Hells ya! This country rocks!"
It's a national holiday so I was off for the day and free to hunt for a Royals sighting. We decided to head downtown for the noon show, an event William and Kate would be attending. We squeezed in a bit of shopping beforehand (what can I say, there's a mall on the way), then headed towards Parliament Hill around 11:45 am.
It was a mad house. There were people everywhere. It was a hot, sunny day. Sweat was beginning to form at my brow. We got down to business and dove into some serious crowd surfing. At this point, I would have been content to watch the show from the huge monitor set up for spectators on the street where we were located, just East of Parliament Hill. I assumed the Royals were already there.
But the closer we got to our intended destination, the more it dawned on me. We're walking along the street that Wills and Kate would have been traveling on, in an open carriage, on their way to the noon show. And they haven't come by yet. HOLY SHIT. Suddenly, there was a possibility we could see them IN PERSON.
We walked a bit further, then staked out a spot behind a few rows of people. We couldn't see much except for the tops of people's heads and outstretched arms holding cameras. And this is why I have the best boyfriend in the world - he offered to hold me up on his back so I could get a better view. He is awesome.
I did indeed get a much better visual. First, the security detail, a succession of sinister looking black cars with tinted windows came up the street. Hmm. Ok. That's cool. Then nothing. Then, more sinister looking black cars with tinted windows. Then nothing. I gave my boyfriend a break and jumped back down to my feet. Then, shortly thereafter, he tells me I'd better jump back on. Something big is coming.
Sure enough, a legion of RCMP officers in official uniform on their horses turn the corner and come up the street, and then.... at first I only saw her red fascinator but I knew - I knew it was Kate. I lost all sense of decorum and started screaming: "Oh my God!". The horse driven carriage made its way up the street and at one point, Kate looked right at us as she smiled and waved and we cheered.
I don't have a photo since I cannot multitask. Fumbling with a camera while trying to seize the moment would have ended in disaster, I'm sure. We do however have my stepdaughter's photos and videos from the previous day to commemorate their visit. If I ask her nicely, maybe she'll share one with me and I can post it here.
I don't know why we're so fascinated with the British Royal Family but I was caught up in the excitement of it all, and to be in such close proximity of widely known people (celebrities, really) was a crazy rush. And just in case you were wondering, they look exactly as they do on TV and in print. Simply gorgeous.