Friday, April 29, 2011

Surprise Royal Spin

This was one of my favorite moments of the day. Just more proof  how fun this new couple is going to be to watch in the days to come.

It was a day of memories--a once in a lifetime experience, a wedding celebration like no other. London was ready for a party.
I left my house at 6:40 AM to meet friends and make our way to the Mall which leads to Buckingham Palace. I know that many of you in the US got up much early, so you may not appreciate that early hour, but I did have to walk a couple of miles to claim our viewing spots.

On our way, we passed near the Goring Hotel where the Middleton family was staying, and saw the white canopy which would hide Kate as she would discreetly leave the hotel a few hours later.

When we parked ourselves along the street with the other one million people who were on the streets of London today, we met some interesting characters who made our party even more memorable.

Little princesses came to see the Princess Kate they all idolize.

Along the way, we found several wedding couples,

and a very special princess who had stepped into the loo for a bit.

We made great friends with our parade route neighbors, Alex and Monica,

and stood patiently 7 hours in all to see all the spectacles of the day. We were positioned about 6 people deep,

so any pictures we got were just quick glimpses of the wedding party, in between a sea of cameras. The crowd roared in delight when Kate Middleton drove by on her way to the wedding, and we got the first peek at that divine dress designed by Sarah Burton, as many had surmised the last few weeks.
As the ceremony took place, those of us on the parade route had copies of the wedding program so we could follow along as the wedding was broadcast from loudspeakers.

After the wedding, the newlyweds, now entitled the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, came back down the Mall in a 1902 State Landau, an open carriage that had carried Princess Diana and Prince Charles down the same route years ago. Disappointing pictures, since you can tell that my camera focused on the camera in front of me instead of the royal couple,

so I'll also share Cristen's photo she took, as they stood at the Horse Guards Parade to get their view.

Harry and the 2 young pages came next,

followed by Pippa Middleton and the young bridesmaids.

The queen and Prince Philip opted for a glass carriage, with the intention of keeping the focus on the young newlyweds, and not on them.

They were followed by the two sets of parents of the bride and groom, now in-laws to each other.

The coach buses carried "minor royalty."

As soon, as the procession passed, we all headed towards the palace to see the royal family step out on the balcony of the palace, to greet all 800,000 of us waiting.

Cristen grabbed this shot, as they greeted the crowds. Didn't you love the way Prince William blushed when he kissed his new bride?

And as the day draws to a close here in London, I think the wedding of the much loved William and Kate has once again proven, "Fairy Tales Do Come True."

There were many moving moments of the day, but one especially resonated with me. It was when we all joined in with the wedding guests to sing a rousing, if not musically perfect, rendition of "God Save the Queen." Hope you enjoy this peek into the street scene of one of the biggest parties London has ever seen.
Click twice to see full screen.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Knees Up Time

I spent the Wedding Eve with two of my favorite people, my son Jason and his wife, Cristen, who also live in London. We headed out early to do our "homework" to find where we might want to position ourselves for the Wedding Day.

Security questions still abound, but everyone entering any part of the parade routes will have to pass through one of the many security gates to get in.

We had a good chuckle at the bets being taken by several betting agencies in town.  Will the Prince fall asleep, will Prince Harry drop the ring and who will be the first to cry--the queen, Kate, Elton John or David Beckham?

You could also place a bet on the colour of the queen's hat,

as well as will Kate be late, early or on time? And when will they have their first child, and what is its sex?

New cameras appeared overnight at Buckingham Palace Gates.

Even more campers perched across from Westminster Abbey,

making themselves comfortable for the final countdown, and becoming celebrities as reporters from around the world interviewed them.

We encountered quite a few characters people as we wandered about today.

A cheesehead from Wisconsin,

a senior citizen with a passion for the royalty,

a guard keeping his cool,

a tourist showing off her Kate Middleton doll,

avid fans, and

royalty camping along The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace.

We bumped into friends who were sporting a very familiar engagement ring,

spotted a flashy driver,

wondered about this knight clinking across the street,

got a kick out of London bobbies who were using iPhones to give directions to tourists,

waited in suspense as this gentleman proposed to his lady in front of the Westminster Abbey,

and then breathed a sigh of relief when she said "yes."

The day wound down meeting Will and Kate for drinks at The Antelope pub where all the American gals hang out on Thursday nights.

Cristen and I then rushed over to Westminster Abbey where we did a live interview for the ABC Houston affiliate. Unfortunately, their technology failed us, so only a few moments of the interview were aired before they cut to the local reporters. Technology is great when it works, isn't it?

Now as the sun has gone down, Kate and her family are all snuggled in at the posh Goring Hotel nearby, where they have completely reserved all 71 rooms for family and friends, and Will is spending the night with his dad and brother at Clarence House.

Tomorrow it's rise and shine early, as friends and I head out for the long anticipated adventure. We're looking forward to a "royal knees up" and crossing our fingers for a good weather day.

If you'd like to print out your own copy of the Wedding program to follow along, you can find it here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's A Royal Circus!

Well, this spur of the moment trip to London has started out in an exciting way. Monday afternoon, in a weak moment, I let my husband talk me into getting on a plane the next day and flying back to London to enjoy the festivities. When I got to the airport, my adventure began when I was interviewed by Dominique Sachse, the Houston NBC anchorwoman, and then we flew side by side to London. The interview aired on the 4 PM show in Houston on Tuesday, so many of my friends were kind enough to write and say that they caught it on the air.

After being greeted by some beautiful weather, I ventured out to explore. First stop: Buckingham Palace, where as you might imagine the media circus was all abuzz. A multi level construction has been erected there to accommodate the major network studios.

On the bottom level are a myriad of make-up artists and hair dressers to keep the reporters looking their best. I learned one tip from an anchor today--use your cameraman's sunglasses as a mirror to check that your hair is in place.

The first reporter I came across was a correspondent for NBC's Today show pointing down the Mall and imagining the parade route on its way back to the Palace.

This is a photo of the Americans they "coerced" into cheering for ABC's "Good Morning America" crowd,

and this is the view on the other side of the camera, being filmed along with all those "crazy Americans," after I decided to join them. Did you see me?

I heard a couple of photographers asking this boy's father is they could take his picture--do you really think he would have dressed him up like this and paraded him on his shoulder if he didn't want his picture taken? He was a cutie!

I ran into Becky Anderson, CNN's London correspondent, who was reporting that there are more than 9.000 journalists from 60 different countries reporting here on the regal event.

Piers Morgan was chatting with  Katie Nicholl, a royal correspondent who is being tapped by several networks for her inside scoops.

Sharon Osbourne and Kevin Frazier were feeding reports to "The Insider."

I moved on to Trafalgar Square, where MSNBC has set up a viewing platform and mini studio.

Terri Seymour, Simon Cowell's former girlfriend, was chatting by video to Mario Lopez, her co-host on "Extra."

And one of my favorite's, Meredith Viera, of the "Today" show with NBC, gave us a shout-out when we called her name.

My final stop of the day was at Westminster Abbey, where a viewing stand has been in construction for weeks, and every inch of rooftop space around is taken up with camera crews. Very valuable real estate! Reporters from around the world were interviewing the early "campers" who had already claimed their spot for the Friday show.

So I'll close off today's report with this picture taken today of the very regal Westminster Abbey, all polished and shining, waiting for another most historical occasion to begin in just a day away now.

We are crossing our fingers praying for a nice weather day like this one, but all bets are off on that one. Rain is on its way by Friday, they predict, but they say that only brings good luck on a wedding day.