When it was announced a couple of months ago that the Prince William and Kate were going to get married today, I really didn't think much about it, other than the fact that we were going to get an extra day off work. Over the last couple of weeks, I gave some thought to whether or not I would even go into Central London today at all. In general, the English really aren't as fascinated (or obsessed would probably be a better word) with it all like the American public seems to be. In the end, I decided that I would be doing a disservice to the US to not go since I am living here. I must say that the American in me won big time today. It was probably one of the most exciting and memorable days I can recall.
I woke up this morning around 6:00 (I was supposed to leave at 6:00, but whatever), got ready and headed into Central London. When I arrived on the tube at St. James' Park, I had never felt such energy and excitement. I was supposed to meet up with a couple of friends, (turns out there were nearly 2 million people down there and that didn't work out so well for us), and as I was approaching the gates of Buckingham Palace, I ran into one of my favorite weathermen (second only to Gary Lezak), Al Roker!
Evidently, he was in a bit of a hurry but we exchanged some pleasantries, I got some photos, and he was on his way to do something more important than talk to me. Anyway, I met a couple of guys from New York that were equally (or maybe not so equally) excited about our celebrity sighting. They assured me that the place where we were standing situated just next to the press tent was the best place to be. After seeing Al, I needed little convincing and spent the rest of the day with them. Great American's! (Sadly, I must admit there were some American's that were not so great down there and a little embarrassing...)
Anyway, I got there at around 8:00 and really nothing happened for a good two and half hours...except for also meeting Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, herself...Jane Seymour! She's very friendly and was equally as excited about taking pictures of all of us. We also saw lots of other British press and celebrities go in and out of the gates. I was standing on The Mall, a street which runs from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square. I was back away from the street but was able to see and get some photos (though not very good and don't do it all justice) of the other foreign royalty, the minor members of the British royalty, Prince Charles and Camilla, The Queen!, the bridesmaids, and finally Kate and her father as they drove to Westminster Abbey.
As I wasn't in an area with big screens airing the wedding, we were only able to listen to it through speakers that were set up all over Central London. It was quite surreal being so close to something like that. After the wedding, everyone (hundreds of thousands of people) sang "God Save the Queen," the British National Anthem (which I do not know). So amazing!
As we were waiting for the family to come back to Buckingham Palace, I officially went global! The International CNN anchor stood right next to me and my new, New Yorker friend as she was on air corresponding with Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan! When she told me that I was going to be on TV, she even encouraged me to quickly call my family to make sure they had the TV on CNN in the US. I haven't been able to find the coverage of it all on the website but if I do, I'll post it.
After my big debut, Kate and William made their own as a married couple and the Duke an Duchess of Cambridge. The parade began with them coming back down the mall in the open carriage, followed by their families, the wedding party, and The Queen again! (I think she is unbelievably cute!) All of this, paired with all of the pomp and circumstance, the horses, and the guards with fuzzy hats, I think it was the most excited I've ever been...which says a lot. Most of you probably know that I'm easily excited! :)
After everyone was back into Buckingham Palace, the police unleashed the public and we all made a mad dash to go all the way up toward the gates of the palace for the Royal family's appearance on the balcony. This rush turned into a bit of a mob. People were pushing and I was climbing fences and running to get as close as possible. It was chaos and I'm actually quite happy I'm alive tonight...but I got really really really close. I was able to get photos of the family, the infamous kiss, and the flyover (a gift to Prince William from The Queen).
After wandering around fighting crowds, police, and trash for a bit, I made my way back home. While it was such a good day, I met some really great people, and experienced all sorts of excitement, I'm exhausted! I can't imagine how they must be feeling.