Yesterday morning our local news announced that Kate Middleton would be visiting NewcastleGateshead that day for the first time. Of course, I had a driving lesson first thing, so I figured by the time I got back home at 11:30, I would have missed the bus and wouldn’t be able to get into town in time.
So I had my driving lesson – new car and everything. I was the first one to drive (and stall) the car. The gear shifting was much easier even though going from 2nd to 3rd gear is a tricky one. I also finally got my head around the stupid roundabouts and how far away I should be from the junction when I downshift. I can hear the same things over and over again and not understand but the minute I hear it explained differently, I get it and all is fine. I’m still not ready for my test but next week I get to go onto the motorways again and do complex roundabouts and all sorts of fun.
When I got back from my lesson, Steve had texted me that he saw things (cops and people) going on between the library and our doctor’s office. I still didn’t think I’d have time to get down there but when I looked at the article from the paper, it said she’d be there at 12:30. I ran and got myself back into my contacts and winter clothes, then rushed out of the house and down the street as quickly as I could. (I was trying to get there so fast that I even forgot my hat.) Since I don’t know what’s going on most of the time around here, I just followed the crowd to where they were all hanging out at a little side street that was blocked off.
Apparently I got there right after she had gone into the local charity because I stood around eavesdropping on all the people from the Jewish community we were in and waited for the Duchess to come back out to her car. Steve said that she would come out and say hello when she was done but some people speculated that we’d just get a glimpse of her. But we waited anyway and it was about an hour out in the cold before anything started happening.
There was a Jaguar, a van, and a Land Rover parked outside the building and one of the ladies next to me asked the serious looking cop which car she had come out of. He mouthed the words “The Jag” which, of course the lady repeated for all to hear and the cop looked really sorry he’d answered her. Then we heard someone say, “Two minutes!” which would have been about 1:30 when she was coming out. So I got my new, fancy camera ready and aimed it at the Jaguar.
It was so interesting to see these people get ready for her too. There were cops all over, even some on the roof somewhere, I heard. Then big dudes in suits and earpieces came out and stood in various spots on the street. Now, where we were, there was a hedge blocking the entry way, so all we could hear was excitement by the kids at the charity building. Then some lady who was part of the entourage got into the Land Rover and moved right in the way so the whole crowd made a collective groan. (Figures – some woman driver!) I went as far as to wave and yell, “Get out of the way!” (I’m American. We shout at drivers.) which she finally did.
I thought my option for taking a photo was dashed but all of a sudden, there she was!
Now, the amazing thing about this was, when I saw the Queen in July, everyone was excited and cheering and waving flags. With Kate, people were just in awe. I waved at her but people didn’t make much noise at all because they just wanted to look at her. It was the same face we saw at the Royal Wedding and in magazines all over the shops and there she was – in real life!
I had noticed the kid holding some flowers (that child had a smart mother.) I though, yup, she’s going to go straight for those and sure enough she did. When she came over, the crowd just sort of swooned. I, of course, got teary eyed because she was right there! So, I got my new camera and tried to get whatever photos I could of her while still making sure to look at her with my own eyes. (That was a big mistake I made when I saw The Queen. Looking at something through the lens of technology isn’t as impactful as taking in the world and what’s going on for a moment.)
She was only out there for a few minutes and she didn’t come close enough for me to shake her hand (if Prince William would have been there, he probably would have gone to my side of the crowd while she took the right) but all in all, it was just amazing. Now I’ve seen two members of the Royal family in close proximity in the same year. If that doesn’t constitute British Citizenship, I don’t know what does!