If you know anything about me, or have scrolled through my Instagram feed for a hot second, you’d know that I have a slight interest in the royal family, specifically in Kate Middleton. By that I mean I’ll read the occasional article or check out a post on her most recent fashions. I’m laughing as I type this because that is a total lie. Full disclosure: I have purchased clothing items that she reportedly wore because I have a dream to make my closet look like hers. No, really. I have a pair of pants and a necklace, both from Zara, that are the same model as the ones she wore. Look, when a duchess shops at a store you can afford, you best do what you can to add these items to your collection, and quickly, because they tend to sell out.
I digress – Do you have anything that you absolutely geek out about? (Geek out defined: to become immediately obsessive or enthralled in a subject that is considered by many to be geek-favorable. this includes comics, books, technology, etc.) My geek out subject of choice is the royal family.
I’ve read a few books on the subject (truth: I’ve read and own five…hardbacks. Happy to provide recos.) and have liked the most British pages imaginable on Facebook. You bet I follow The British Monarchy and Kensington Palace on Instagram, too. How could I not? It’s a hip time to be a royal and I want the inside scoop.
That said, during my trip to London, I made it a personal goal of mine to find a royal. Before you begin to judge, you should know that this did not involve me hiding in bushes with binoculars in tow. Luckily, the royal family makes it
not at all stalker like easy to make them a subject of your sightseeing by updating an online diary with all of their engagements. Prior to the trip, I’d reviewed the online diary weekly, only to find that there were no royal engagements set up for the week I was there. For people like me, this was truly devastating.
One night in London, as I was whining to my boyfriend (that word…) about how unfair and unjust life is when it comes to this lack of royal engagements, I decided to prove my point by pulling up the diary, putting in the dates of our visit, and showing him how depressing that big fat “zero results” was. He needed to understand this disappointment, to feel this level of failure on a more personal level. Alas, my melodramatic performance failed in the most wonderful of ways. The Queen, Duke, and Earl and Countess of Wessex had a new engagement planned for Saturday morning, just a short walk from our hotel! This could not be more perfect. We already had high tea at The Goring scheduled for that afternoon (more on that shortly) so Saturday was coming together quite nicely as the most royal of days.
Once Saturday morning came, we got up early to head over to St. Martin-in-the-Fields, a church in Trafalgar Square where members of the royal family were scheduled to attend a service in honor of the 70th anniversary of Victory in Japan Day. We staked out the perfect spot and waited about 45 minutes for the exciting moment. Every few minutes, someone would have a new theory on how they would arrive and from which direction. One of the police officers guarding our area of the fence chimed in to say he heard the Queen would be arriving via bus. This of course resulted in me taking a photo of every bus that passed by the area. (Spoiler alert: She didn’t arrive by bus.)
The buzz and excitement around the event was contagious, and I’m pretty sure my travel buddy got into the atmosphere, too. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, was the first to arrive, followed by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. (I didn’t know who the couple was, but luckily had an encyclopedia of a man standing behind me, spitting out fun facts and titles.) About five minutes later, the Queen and Duke arrived – from the opposite direction, I might add, which means that at one point in my life, I was standing about four feet away from royalty.
The Queen, Duke, and Earl (Queen’s son) and Duchess of Wessex were everything I hoped for and more. The Queen even smiled…more than once! And the Duchess of Wessex wore stripes in the best possible way.
After the members of the royal family were secured in their spots, a short woman in front of me asked if I had seen Kate Middleton walk in. I let her know Kate (first name basis, BFF status and all) wasn’t in attendance. She was convinced the blonde Countess of Wessex was my pal Kate. Lady, you better check yourself before you wreck yourself. I was able to straighten her out by telling her I’d probably be passed out if Kate had been there. She looked down at the sidewalk, then back at my still standing figure, and seemed to get the picture.
Once the excitement of seeing not one, but six members of the royal family died down, we got changed to head out for afternoon tea at The Goring. This was a royal activity for not one but two reasons. As a standard twenty something, high tea is not an activity I generally partake in. It’s an event that is typically reserved for people a bit more…elite than I am, like royals. The second reason is the location choice. The Goring is the hotel where the Middleton family stayed before the royal wedding, meaning this is where Kate got ready for the big event.Truly, only those who have the royal family listed as their geek out subject would know that, but it was a very exciting feeling knowing that we walked through those same doors. High tea at The Goring is hands down an experience I will never forget. From the attentiveness of the staff, to the perfect sandwiches and pastries, everything was just right. I also fell in love with their striped china patterns and the way the door men were outfitted.
I think I’ll let this portion of the story be told by pictures.
For a royal
geek enthusiast like me, this day stands as a clear highlight of the trip. Now, I’m off to see if I can find Kate Middleton’s most recent Ralph Lauren dress on deep discount. What? It’s black and white, so I must have it.