Prince William ~ Home for dinner by 5pm


, , ,

_76795840_tv023428928It always makes me itch when people say the royal don’t work. Silly gooses.

William starts his new job as an Ambulance pilot this summer. He will be employed by Bond Air Services, which operates two helicopters on behalf of the charity based in Cambridge and Norwich, serving Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Home base for the Cambridges will be Anmer Hall (for more about their country home, click here).

canadakateday5dresses8I love the idea of her waving goodbye to him as he heads off to work!

The prince has been taking a series of exams in preparation for his new role with the charity, where he is due to earn about £40,000 a year. He is due to donate his after-tax salary to charity.

_76795838_tv023428932Prince William gave up his role as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot in September 2013. During his seven years flying Sea Kings, he carried out more than 150 missions and completed more than 1,300 flying hours.

We know that the life of a royal IS indeed “work” but in William’s case, he has had & will again have, a proper job & I must say, it is one of the things I admire most about him. I can honestly say that if I were in his position & had his wealth, well, I admit I would most likely NOT get a REAL job…unless I could get paid to do the things I REALLY love (write, read & eat chocolate & watch the royals!).

Then again, that may very well be William’s mindset: he seems to REALLY love his work. It gives him a purpose that is earned & not inherited & helps him to carve out his own accomplishments, separate from royal life. But the fact that he does something that is so selfless & in fact dangerous, is even more impressive.

Duke+Duchess+Cambridge+Canadian+Tour+Day+5+gKxqvdUAZ_elHe clearly feels very at home up in the air!

His job starts just a few months after Baby Cambridge will be born. I think makes he & Catherine even more relatable. Mum home with two children & papa off to work.

Of course their station in life means that they don’t have to deal with the day-to-day hardships that most people must face but STILL, I commend them for trying to keep things as REAL as possible (as the kids today say!) xo lulu

(all photos via press pool)

Part Two: “This is not a drill. The Tiara has landed. I repeat, this is not a drill!”



0Saturday, December 6, 2014

I arrived into NY Saturday evening. My godmother was on her way to big gala (she’s an award winning TV producer!) & the timing was perfect b’c as she was leaving her apartment, my car was just pulling up. So we got to say a quick hello & then I was able to go in & unpack & get settled in & relax a bit. When she got home we had fun catching up.

1My god-mother is so fancy! Look at all the Emmy’s she’s won!

Sunday morning we got up early & headed over to her parents’ house. I hadn’t seen them in over six years & I just burst out into tears when I saw them. I’ve missed them so much. My god-mother & I headed off to church & then back to her parents’ house where the rest of the family joined us. To be honest with you, I was having SUCH a good time with them that there was a part of me that almost wanted to just forget about the royals & spend all of my time with them! Almost! lol

Monday, December 8, 2014
First up: Catherine’s event at the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem.

I had done a good deal of prep work beforehand, researching each event & gathering as many specific details as possible but in many cases we didn’t really know all the details. Part of the challenge, but also part of the fun, was trying to map out the adventure & figure out where to go & when. It was sort of like a scavenger hunt mixed with a military operation!

I knew that the Harlem event started at 11am so I headed out on the 8:30am Staten Island Ferry (did you know the ferry is FREE? Both directions?? How is that even possible?). Anyways, as I waited for the Ferry I couldn’t help but wonder how everyone could be so CALM! Didn’t they know that I was on my way to see the royals?? Lol Instead, it was just a big group of folks heading into work on a Monday morning.

Waiting to board the ferry. I was SO excited!

It was in this moment, as I waited to board the ferry that it really dawned on me: “OMG! I can’t believe I am actually DOING this. I can’t believe I am actually here in NY to see the royals! This is SO crazy!” The anticipation really started to set in & I was like a little kid the night before Christmas!

On the ferry ride I tried to remember to enjoy the view. As many times as I have taken that ferry ride & seen the Statue of Liberty, I still get a lump in my throat. It’s such a beautiful sight.

2There is nothing quite like seeing the skyline of that great city come into view!

Once we docked, I headed to the subway for Harlem. Again, my familiarity with NYC really helped me to get around easily. When I got off the subway & walked the few blocks to the location, I started to get SOOOO excited & a little bit nervous. Would there be crowds? Would I even be able to get close? I had no idea what to expect.

Eventually into view came the answer: lots of press, smallish but excited crowd. At that point I had to decide where the best vantage point would be. I determined that it was best to be on the side of the street facing the entrance of the building. That way I’d be able to see her walk in & walk out. There was a group of about 20 people on that corner. Such a fun group! And we all debated endlessly about whether or not we made the right decision to stand there. That was an ongoing theme & no matter where we stood we ALL were convinced that THAT was the best spot to stand. Lol!

4The group I was standing with was a hoot. Some really fun Harlem characters who kept us all laughing & in high spirits. But it was COLD!!! Too cold to even try & hold my camera. So we just waited for any signs that the royals were coming.

We saw NYC’s first lady Chirlane McCray arrive & she gave a cheerful wave & smile to all of us. She looked lovely in a bright purple coat dress. The crowd gave her a warm cheer.

Every time we heard sirens we thought it was the royals approaching. Many false alarms. But when that moment finally DOES happen, there is no mistaking it. A police car with flashing lights & then three black SUVS (and the dude with the machine gun) & the crowd goes wild, knowing that SOMEWHERE behind the tinted window is our girl…but not quite sure WHICH window so we just waved & cheered at ALL of the passing windows. “I saw her!” someone yelled & even if we were pretty sure it wasn’t really her, we all cheered. I finally figured out that she was always in the middle car.

At one point I jokingly said to no one in particular, “This is not a drill. The Tiara has landed. I repeat. This is NOT a drill” Everyone around started cracking up b’c there were so many times when we DID think they were coming, only to be disappointed that it was not them. But this was THE moment!

And then they turned the corner & slowed down & we thought, “OMG! This is IT! The moment we’ve waited for & we’re going to get the best view of her coming out of the car! OMG! This is amazi…” wait. WHAT? The ambulance that followed last in the motorcade turned down the block as well & then instead of pulling up behind her car it just STOPPED, blocking the intersection. OMG! We all groaned. Even the press that was on our side of the street groaned. How can this be happening? I wanted to cry. But then all of a sudden, and only b’c I am very tall & was on my tip toes, I saw the top of her head & her hand waving in our direction!!! I swear to you, it was almost as good as actually seeing her face. I mean, there she WAS. It was really HER. That was her head! Her hair! Her glove covered hand! This must be what Heaven feels like!

5She was waving in our direction! And it was EVERYTHING!
(press photo)

And then she was gone. Into the building.

Everyone in the crowd was comparing notes. “Did you see her?” “I think she’s wearing black” “I think she’s wearing blue!” No one managed to get a photo b’c it just went so fast but we were all on a high. Some people left but of course the real royal watchers stayed. So for an hour we waited…in the cold! It started to get really cold. Really cold. That is when you know you are a TRUE royal watcher. Standing out in that cold, with the hopes of getting another brief glimpse of our girl. Only the truly dedicated will do that!

Finally, after about an hour of waiting we saw the doors open…but it wasn’t her. Every time the doors opened the crowd would cheer! It was so funny. A bunch of little kids, all bundled up were brought out of the building & lined up. We knew that Catherine would be on her way soon b’c they wouldn’t make the kids stand out in the cold for very long. From where we were standing we figured we’d have a REALLY good view of her when she came out & chatted with the kids. So exciting. But then drat, a decision was made to move the kids down the block just a few feet…just enough that they were blocked by her SUVS. DANG! Not sure why they did that but it prevented us from getting a good view. It became clear that the only sighting we might get was when she walked out of the building before she turned to her right & greeted the kids.

And that is what happened. The door opened & we could hear the crowd on the other side of the street (who had a better view) start cheering. And in my excitement I lost all manners & put my hand on the shoulder of a very petite young woman standing next to me so that I could boost myself up to stand on the rung of the barricade for a better view. I would like to apologize to her! Lol I know she is now a follower on this page. “I am so sorry that I put all of my body weight on your tiny little shoulders, with no warning”. But my crass actions DID allow me to see our girl, looking right at me & she waved!!!!

6She is waving right at me. I KNOW she is!
(press photo)

I seriously couldn’t believe it! I had actually seen her face & I am sure she saw mine! Lol Even if the adventure had ended right there, I would have been content!

7We couldn’t see this part but we did see the kids when they lined up.
Such troopers. It was cold.
(press photo)

8She spent quite a lot of time with them. It was so cold but she doesn’t seem phased by it. It was sort of frustrating for us because we KNEW she was right there but we couldn’t see her.
(press photo)

After she spent some time with the kids she slipped into her car & she was gone! That was it! But we were all so excited from the little bit that we DID see & everyone was comparing notes, “She waved at us!”, “Yes, she was totally waving at us”. Everyone was hugging & high-fiving & it was so exhilarating! Just writing about it gives me chills!

Royal Sightings:
Catherine            2 (entering & exiting; it all counts!)
William                0

I was on cloud nine. It was more electrifying than I could have imagined but then it dawned on me, “Ok, what’s next?”

That was one of the fun things about having other royal watchers around to share the excitement with. Everyone would huddle around & discuss what they were going to do next. “Are you going to try to see her at the next event?” “Are you going to the game?” “I think I’ll try to see them at the hotel!” “Maybe I’ll see you there!” It was so fun to plot & plan with all of my new friends.

I realized that the way things were set up, seeing her arrive/depart at the next event (a luncheon at the British Consul General’s Residence) would not seem likely esp since those were more private affairs. And I still had to factor in that I was going to the basketball game that evening; it was going to be a long day. So it seemed to make more sense to try & get warmed up first, charge my phone & then plan my next move.

I had overheard some of the press people say they were going down the block to the Dunkin’ Donuts so I thought I’d go too. Mainly I wanted to get warm & use the restroom. It was really interesting to see all the press folks sitting at the counter going through all of their pix & sending the best ones to their editors. I saw press from Italy, Japan, Germany, Spain, Australia & the US. I chatted with a really nice guy who worked for Reuters. I told him that I wasn’t able to get any pix & he was kind enough to let me see the pix he took. It was so interesting to see how they get such great pix. And it was sort of surreal to see the pix of what I KNEW had happened but what I couldn’t quite see.

As I was sitting there with my hot cocoa I met the loveliest couple from Washington, David & Jennifer. They were adorable! OMG! LOVE them. They are hardcore royal watchers. They went to London for the wedding & showed me their video. They also had some really cute video of them following Catherine’s motorcade in NY. (See previously posted Video #2). I LOVE how excited they were! My kind of people!

I was actually glad that I made those little business cards for my page.
1450304_861548040534681_7306367002534111343_n[1]I was able to share them with the folks I met & it’s funny b’c unlike all of you, they were introduced to my page in reverse. They met me in person & THEN discovered my page! That is sort of cool.

David & Jennifer went on their way & I decided that I was not going to try to see the royals at their next event. It didn’t seem practical. I decided instead that I might try to see the royals when they returned to the hotel before they left for the basketball game. So once I was warmed up I took the subway back to the Upper East Side where the hotel was. I figured I could keep checking Twitter for updates & get to the hotel quickly as needed.

I was so hyped up after seeing our girl. I felt like I needed time to process is all.

I decided to really enjoy the fact that I was in the city & took a nice stroll down Madison Avenue. It’s so glam & entertaining. Lots of great fashion & people watching. But drat, my phone needed to be charged again (is there something about the cold weather that drains it so fast??). So I found a really cute little French café & hoped they would let me charge my phone. They did! And so I enjoyed a tasty little treat & some MORE hot chocolate & rested my feet.

10                                           So many yummy treats!

I’ve got eagle eyes when it comes to spotting celebrities & as I was sitting there I noticed that Phil Donahue walked in. He got a cup of coffee…and seemed sort of miffed that no one seemed to recognize him. Lol

At found 3pm I figured that it was time to head back to the hotel. When I got there there were about four press people & about five royal watchers standing out front. “Did I miss her?” I asked one of the ladies. “Yes. By about 10 minutes”. Drat. But she told me that Catherine walked in SO fast that they could barely see her & she showed me her very blurry pix of Catherine’s hair. Phooey. So a bunch of us were standing around trying to figure out what to do. I went up to one of the cops & joked, “Ok, just between you & me…is William already in the hotel or did I miss him too? No pressure. I only came all the way from California to see them!” Luckily he thought that was funny. “William will be here in about 15 minutes”. Jackpot!!

I told the rest of the group & we decided that we would for sure wait for Wills. The cops ushered us down the block to the area just past the garage a bit. Boo!!! There were only about eight of us. It was then that I realized that THIS is where we were going to have to stay. But the group I was with was really fun. There was a man & his son who were actually staying at the hotel. They said that they were in the lobby when Catherine left earlier in the day & it was like something out of a movie. All of a sudden there was this rush of people, about 10 of them, all security & hotel staff & they moved as one & in the middle was Catherine. They said you could barely see her as the group moved through the lobby & that there were also some very menacing looking security people who walked with the group facing outwards to keep their eyes on the people in the lobby.

It actually made me feel sorry for Catherine, to realize that this is how she has to live & it seemed a bit extreme in terms of security. The guys said that they couldn’t even get into the hotel right now, even though they were guests, which meant that something was happening soon: William’s imminent arrival.

There was a young girl in our group who had some flowers she had been trying to give to Catherine. I’ve since learned that her mum, who was there with her, is a follower of this page! The man who was staying at the hotel said that he would bring the little girl into the hotel as his guest & see if they could find someone to give the flowers to, to try get them to Catherine. I don’t know if that happened but it is another lovely example of how nice everyone in the crowd was & how people really bonded.

So we waited & then suddenly the police put the barricades up & then the cop car came down the block with the lights going & our hearts started racing b’c we knew this was it & then came the SUVS. I was pretty calm up till then & hadn’t really thought much about what my reaction would be if I saw William b’c I am All Catherine, All the time! lol But as the car door opened & a swarm of people surrounding a tall lanky figure came into view & I realized that it was William & I could hear myself yelling his name, “William!”. I actually surprised myself! lol

(See Video #3 on my FB page to HEAR me & SEE William!)

I didn’t expect to get so excited but there he was, the man I’d watched grow up. Diana’s boy. Wills. Georgie’s papa. The future King of England. He was RIGHT there. In front of me. Walking SOOO fast. Looking straight head. So I yelled his name. So that he would know that I cared. And he turned his head. And he waved. I think I floated ten feet off the ground. I am convinced that he turned b’c he heard my voice. And as silly as it seems for a 48 year old woman to feel excited & even validated as a royal watcher since the age of nine because William turned when he heard MY voice, I gotta tell you, it was a thrill. It was EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING!

And then he was gone. And my cohorts & I were left to reenact every moment & compare photos & videos. It was exhilarating & now I was on a roll. I was bound & determined to see them when they departed for the Nets game.

Royal Sightings:
Catherine            2
William                1

By now & it was around 3:45pm. I debated going to mid-town to see Rockefeller Center & take in the holiday decorations & sights but I was suddenly feeling like an actual official royal reporter & I kept thinking of all of you & how it was my duty to get the scoop, the breaking news. I was on mission! Nothing could stop me now! I felt like it was best to stay close to the hotel in case there was any breaking news. I realized that I hadn’t really eaten much all day. I still had to basketball game to attend & I knew food would be VERY expensive there so I thought it was best to get something to eat & then head back to the hotel.

I decided to walk down Madison Ave again to look for a place to eat. I noticed a handsome man walking past me; he gave me a gentlemanly nod of the head. It was Jennifer Aniston’s actor father, John. He is really quite dashing in person!

I found one of those classic only in NY Greek diners (which was fortuitous given that I am part Greek, as is Mr. Aniston!). I got a great seat by the window & had a nice little nosh & just sat there, people watching & reflecting on everything that had happened thus far. I was a bit tired but I was also so energized by the day’s events.

Around 4:30pm I headed back to the hotel & there was a super fun group of people waiting in the same spot where I had been earlier. I saw a few familiar faces & also met some really fantastic new people (secret handshake hi to the “comedy writer” & the “celeb stand-in”; they know who they are! Lol). The group was really lively & entertaining & we all had a blast waiting for the royals to leave the hotel. The cops were a hoot & kept us entertained.

Suddenly the barricades went up & that slight hum & buzz of energy & excitement that comes with knowing that something is going to happen filled the air. We all had our cameras at the ready, steady. GO!

And then it happened. Catherine & William walked out of the hotel & it went SOOOOOOO fast. It was a blur of him & her & security. I could tell she had pants on & something grey on top. We cheered. She waved. And it was over. They ducked into the car.

At first the group of us were sort of just standing there, not sure what to do, numb with the excitement that we had just seen them, but THEN we realized that the cars were going to have to drive right past us!!! So we all got so excited & started jumping around to position ourselves to see them.

We could barely see them through the car window but they DID wave & since there were only about 10 of us waving back we all felt like we had now officially become their BFFS! Lol

It went so fast but the thrill you get in that moment is just amazing. And to share it with a group of people who were JUST as excited as I was made it all the more special!

My video of it shows the hustle & excitement of that moment! (See Video #4 on my FB page!)

There was a really nice guy named Griffin who was videotaping the whole thing with professional grade cameras; he didn’t seem to be with the regular press (who were kept across the street). He was gracious enough to email the video & photos to me & he perfectly & so hilariously recapped what it was like to be there with all of us. Thankfully he only captured the back of my head so I am comfortable sharing the video but he did start it off with my biz card! Lol His video & photos (See video #5 on my FB page & Album titled #6 ~ Catherine Walks where if you click thru fast, it almost looks like a movie) are a VERY special treat!

Here is a peek at his pix! You can see her waving at us!

6 add other video



(photos Griffin Hammond)

Even tho if was brief & a blur, we HAD seen her & she HAD seen us & we had ALL waved to each other & all was right with the world!

So now I was really jazzed & fired up. Off to the subway. Brooklyn here we come!

Royal Sightings:
Catherine            3
William                2

It was so funny on the subway because because it was about 5:30pm & everyone on the train was heading home from work & they all looked so tired & Monday-ish. I kept thinking, “Gosh, don’t they know the ROYALS are in town!”

When I got out of the subway in front of the Barclay Center it was an intense scene. There was a big “I can’t breathe” protest; about 200 people. It was savvy of them as there was so much press & while I support their cause I thought to myself, “I’ll get back to saving the world tomorrow. I’ve got royals to see today!”. LOTS of cops & of course all the people heading into the game. It was loud & sort of tense but things moved smoothly & I entered the Center with no problem.

I am a huge sports fan & I love the excitement of going to games. There is always a palpable electricity in the air but this was excitement on steroids. The energy was really intense & it was the combo of the protest & the fact that the Nets were playing the Cavs & King James & then of course the royals. I was listening to people around me & I could hear a lot of royal talk but for the most part I got the sense that the crowd was mostly there for the game.

I charged my phone AGAIN, grabbed a $10 juice (Yipes!) & headed for my seats. OMG! My heart was racing. The music was pounding, the players were warming up & my seats were AMAZING. And the realization that I was in the same building as the royals was almost more than I could bear. I actually felt sort of regal, special. I know it was all in my head but STILL, it really felt that way!

To be honest, going to the game was really just for one reason: to be able to say that for a brief period of time I sat under the same roof as William & Catherine. That was all I expected. I didn’t even think they’d be shown on the jumbo-tron. I didn’t think I’d be able to see where they were seated. I kept looking around at all of the private booths, figuring that that was where they were. I had my binoculars with me & settled into my seat, just happy to be there.

There were two couples on either side of me who were clearly there for the game. They must have thought I was a goof because I kept looking at my phone & through my binoculars & not paying attention to the game at all. I was on high alert, looking around the venue with my binoculars, trying to spot anything of royal note.

There had been some rumors that the royals were going to sit court side but I didn’t believe it. It seemed highly unlikely considering the tight security I had witnessed all day. There was NO way they were going to let them sit there, so publicly exposed. No way.

Then I noticed something. Two court side chairs were cleared. Men in grey suits were standing in front of them. Something was going on. Could it be? No. No way.

And then the most amazing thing: from the far end of the court, there was sort of this buzz of energy. And a slow & steady cheer accompanied by this extraordinary wave of energy started to build. A mass of people was starting to move towards the chairs & the energy of the venue started to shift in a way that you could actually feel in your bones.

OMG!!! It was THEM! They were walking to the seats. They were right there. I seriously thought I was going to pass out. I had my binoculars trained in their direction & I saw them. Clear as day. Right there. I honestly could not believe it. I felt light headed. My heart was racing. My mouth felt dry. I wanted to jump up & Scream! I wanted to wave & blow kisses! I wanted to run across the court & jump into their laps!

One of the women sitting next to me said to her date, “Is that the royals? I didn’t know they were here!” Cue Lulu: I turned to them in a flush of excitement, “Yes it’s William & Catherine. They are here. That is why I am here. I am freaking out! OMG”. The other couple noticed as well. They all also noticed that I was sort of so excited that I didn’t know what to do! Lol They could have laughed at me but they were SOOOOO sweet. I said that I didn’t know if I should take pix or video. I wasn’t sure. I was overwhelmed. One of the women said she would take video for me if I wanted to just look through my binoculars. One of the other guys said he’d hold my drink & my coat (I had a big puffer coat & it was getting in my way) & the other girl said she’d take pix for me. They were so sweet & they really helped me to calm done. Lol My main concern was that I was trying to take it all in but I wasn’t sure how to focus.

But it turned out that the royals were there long enough for me to get video, pix and just stare at them.

13  Follow the green arrow!

14I was actually closer than it seems.

15I SERIOUSLY couldn’t believe what I was seeing!

I suddenly became very aware of the fact that I was playing a role in the intense focused attention on Catherine & I actually started to feel bad. I decided that I was not going to keep my camera/video focused on her for long. I felt self-conscious it. I couldn’t even imagine how she felt knowing that all eyes were on her (while people were still focused on the game, it was clear that the MAIN attraction was the royals. Cameras, cell phone, video cameras were all pointed at them from every corner of the venue). I wanted to practice what I’ve always preached on this page & try to be respectful. My eyes never left them. I was transfixed. I watched her eat her popcorn & try to get the kernel unstuck from her teeth. I watched William explaining the game to her. I watched her make small talk with her hosts. And I noticed that it was one of the first times I’d ever seen her sit with her legs crossed…b’c those are the types of things I notice. lol And the whole time I kept thinking about how so many times we think about her & wonder what she is doing at that exact moment. Well, this time I KNEW! I really tried to take it all in & savor the memory.

18 looking at meIt is very possible they were looking at ME. That is the direction in which I was sitting! lol (press photo)

At one point the announcer introduced the royals & they were shown on the big screen & the crowd went wild!!!! They were so cute & almost seemed shy about all of the attention. I got some good pix & video of it! (See Video #6 on my FB page).

16There was a lot of buzz about if they would meet JayZ & Beyoncé who were there (JayZ is part owner of the Nets). At one point, during a time out, there was another murmur in the crowd that built & built. J & B were walking over to the royals. The crowd REALLY went wild at that point (I got the sense that this was more of a J & B crowd than a W & C crowd! Lol). With the help of my friendly seatmates, I was able to get pix AND video! (See Video #7 on my FB page). The two couples chatted for quite a bit. The crowd loved it. There was a level of excitement in the crowd that you could actually feel!


The royals stayed until the end of the game. When they got up to leave that same electricity went through the crowd & everyone stood up with their camera phones & tablets & that same hum & buzz moved through the crowds. People started applauding & I honestly felt all tingly inside. I managed to steady my nerves long enough to get some video (See Video #8 on my FB page; you can see them moving as a large group in the upper left of the frame & you can notice everyone in the arena watching them! It was electric!).

As people started to leave I actually just sat in my seat for a few minutes, trying to process what had just happened. I was sort of overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that I had been there, in the same air space, for almost 30 minutes with the royals. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. I was elated & exhausted. It was more than I could ever have hoped for.

Prior to the game I had connected via DM with two women who follow this page. I knew they were at the game so I texted them & we decided to meet up in front of the venue. I was sort of nervous because, for the first time I was going to be meeting followers from my page, in person. Would I be what they expected? Would they be disappointed? I felt like I was going on a blind date! Lol Well, they couldn’t have been lovelier. So sweet. I will refer to them as “Lily” & “Rose” to protect their privacy. We hugged & bonded over the game & we were just giggly & jumping up & down with glee. I felt like I’d known them forever. We walked back to subway together.

As we walked, we discussed our plans for the next day. There were reports that there was a BIG storm coming through so we weren’t sure what we were going to do. We agreed that the MET event was a MUST for several reasons: the MET has a LOT of stairs which meant that they would have to walk up and down them very slowly, which would give us a good amount of time to see them AND take pix. And also, it would certainly be a full glam moment for our girl. I decided that I would play it by ear in the morning. If the weather was really bad, I was probably not going to try to go to the 9/11 event or try to see the royals at the other events. It didn’t seem worth it to stand in the pouring rain just to see them whisked inside.

I said by goodbyes to the girls & headed back to Staten Island. I didn’t get home till about 12:30am. My god-mother had stayed up to wait for me. I put on my flannel pjs & jumped onto her bed & reenacted the whole day for her! It was then that I realized how tired I was AND how my body ached! Lol I had been on my feet & in the cold all day & it suddenly hit me: I was exhausted but over the moon. So off to bed I went with sweet dreams indeed!

Stay tuned for Part Three! xo lulu

Lulu’s Excellent Royal Adventure ~ Part One: “Are we frozen yet?”


, ,



Let’s start with NYC.

1The ESB was lit up in honor of the royal’s visit!

As many of you know, I am very familiar with the Big Apple, having spent my teenage summers living there as a model & then attended collage right outside of the city. Also, my mother was originally from NYC so the energy & pace of the city is in my blood. Being familiar with the city was a great asset as I rushed around town to spot the royals. It made things SO much easier & there is no better time to be in NYC than around the holidays.

There were a few times when I DID need to ask for directions, mainly because some of the subways routes had changed since I had last been there (6 years ago) & I don’t care what anyone says: New Yorkers are the nicest, most helpful people ever.

And I will also say that the NYPD was very helpful. There were a lot of them at every event & they were cheerful, funny & very accommodating. There was one cop who was on duty at The Carlyle Hotel & he kept teasing us: “No, seriously, who are you here to see? You’re not REALLY standing out in the cold to see the royals, are you?” He thought we were sort of nutty but he was really funny & nice about it. There was another time, at the Harlem event when our view got blocked by the ambulance that was part of Catherine’s motorcade. It pulled up JUST in place to block our view of her entering the building.

2Can you see me? I’m standing BEHIND the ambulance! LOL! UGH!
(press photo)

We had been standing out in the cold for over an hour & had a really perfect view & then THAT happened! UGH. So I called one of the cops over (Officer Joseph) & was joking around with him, “OK Joseph, here’s the deal. When she leaves the building it is your duty to throw yourself in front of traffic & make sure that no cars, buses, or trucks block our view. You don’t want 100 rabid royal watchers to turn on you, now do you?” He was a good sport & was joking with us & when the time came for her to leave he DID hold traffic back so that we would get a good view of her! Three cheers for Officer Joseph.

Being back in NYC was wonderful. I always forget how much I love that great city. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to meet up with any of my friends who live there but I was able to visit with my god-family (I stayed with my god-mother on Staten Island) & was able to spend some time on Sunday & Wednesday with her parents, my god-grandparents. They are in their 90’s & just celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary on Nov 20…the same day as the Queen & Prince Philip.

10801777_864074276948724_3096973445775885885_nThe view of the NYC skyline from my god-mother’s apartment is stunning! Her birthday is 9/11. I always get chills thinking of that when I see this view.

10846298_864139640275521_8988586182509238770_nThe view at night is dazzling. The lights dance on the water!

1aIt was wonderful to spend time with the family (and family pets! Hi Pee Wee!)


I am really bad about guess-timating the size of crowds but my guess is that at most at some of the events I attended the crowds outside were no more than 100 (if any of you were there as well, let me know if you think that sounds right). I can’t speak to the events I didn’t attend (was anyone at the hotel when they arrived the first night?) but for the ones I DID attend, I was SOOOOOO surprised at how small the crowds were. I was actually disappointed because I didn’t want the royals to feel that people weren’t excited to see them. On the other hand, I thought the smaller crowds would work in my favor in terms of maybe being able to get a chance to see the royals up close, maybe even for a handshake or chat. No such luck. More about that later.

We were on one side of the intersection & these folks were on the other side. The regular media was allowed to stand in the street. The venue was across the street & down the block about 30 feet on that side of the street.

The three times I waited at the hotel for a chance to see them there were no more than 12 people. At the Met event there were about 20 on the side to the street that I was on. On the other corner I think there were maybe 40.

So why were the crowds so small in NYC? Crowds were MUCH bigger in Los Angeles. I think part of it is just NYC itself. It’s not a city that lends itself to people lining up on the street. It’s a fast paced city & with so many people & so much traffic, things need to keep moving. I also think that in general, New Yorkers are not fazed by much so while they were excited that the royals were there, it was really only the hardcore royal fans who would stand outside of the hotel for over an hour in the cold for the chance to POSSIBLY see a strand of Catherine’s hair fly by! At the Harlem event there WERE a lot of people from the neighborhood who showed up for a look. They may not have been hardcore royal fans but they had a great sense of fun & energy & kept us all entertained.

I really WAS surprised at how small the crowds were though; much smaller than when I saw Diana in NYC in 1989. I hope the royals weren’t disappointed; I sort of worried about that. I hope they know that they are loved & admired here in the US…but that New Yorkers are just busy little bees!


The tightest I’ve ever seen on a royal tour. Now granted, I have only “seen” royal tours via video & photos so it’s hard to really assess what the scope is but it seemed VERY tight, almost on par with a Presidential detail. Their regular UK based PPO were not there; the security was clearly NY based & there was one woman we kept calling “The Camel” because she wore this long camel colored coat & every time we saw her we knew that the royals were either on their way in or out of the venue.

(See video #1 on my FB page for a view of the motorcade in front of the hotel)

There were probably about six cars total in their motorcade including police cars & an ambulance (in case there were any problems related to her pregnancy). The royals traveled in SUV’s & in the one behind them there was always a man with a trench coat who sat in the back with the window rolled down…and a machine gun in his hands! I don’t know much about guns but it looked like a machine gun or a rifle. He looked very menacing & it was quite startling! In some ways it was almost offensive to see such a sight, as if the implication was that anyone would do anything that would make his presence necessary…but I understand the need for protection…but STILL it made me sort of sad for Catherine as well, to think that that has to be part of her reality and it made me said for US that we had to be viewed as possible threats.

I wasn’t at the hotel when they arrived the first day so I am not sure what the scene was like then but when I was there they were whisked from the car into the hotel VERY quickly & the crowds, small as they were, were kept about 20 yards away.

5(press photos)

Based on the pix of them arriving, it looks like folks were allowed to get a bit closer to the hotel entrance at that time. It seems that after that a decision was made to keep people back a distance.

6 add luluHere is where we were kept to stand. Close & yet so far!

The cops had us stand there while we waited but once they put up the metal barricade we knew that it was getting close to something happening.

Standing around for so long, you started to pick up on how the whole operation was going down. At one point we (I keep saying “we” since we were really a group of people & not just me!) heard one cop say into his walkie talkie, “Are we frozen yet?” We heard the reply, “No. We’re frozen in about 10”. We realized that “frozen” was code for, “Lock it down; stop traffic, hold everyone back”. Basically it meant “Freeze the scene. Nothing moves. The royals are on their way”. So it became a running joke with us & the cops, “Hey Officer Johnson! Are we frozen yet?” They were very good natured about it.

It was clear that the royals had been told to move quickly once they exited the car or hotel. I’ve never seen them walk so fast. We made a good bit of noise & they would turn & give a very quick wave but they never slowed their gait. It all moved VERY fast & there were about 5 people around them, including security & hotel staff as they took those five to six long strides from the entry of the hotel to the car.

It became very clear that we were not going to be able to see them up close. They would not be allowed to come over to receive the flowers that the daughter of one of this page’s followers had wanted so badly to give to Catherine. It was actually a bummer. In the heat of the moment I didn’t really dwell on it but on my way home, the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I was. We were SUCH a small group outside of the hotel & even at the Met & even at the Harlem event. If they had been allowed to interact with the crowd EVERYONE would have had a chance to see the royals up close.

I can see why maybe it wasn’t practical at the other events but at the hotel, I think they should have made an exception. It was not a busy street; traffic was blocked off & there was a school across the street (the very exclusive Hewitt School in fact) & the rest of the block was residential so it was very safe. I think they could have easily & safely let us closer to the entrance of the hotel (there were so few of us that if they wanted to pat downs & check our bags, they easily could have & I know we would have been happy to oblige!) & let them come over & say Hi to us.

6bView of the front of the hotel. Those cars were part of their security detail.

There were more security & cops than there were royal watchers; they outnumbered us probably 3 to 1 so I think they could have felt that it was safe enough. It was too bad that never happened. Really too bad…for us and for the royals. I think they would have been tickled pink to meet the folks that showed up to see them. Everyone was so fun & energetic & entertaining. I think William & Catherine would have enjoyed meeting everyone & gotten a firsthand sense of the energy & fun of New Yorkers as well!


It was really interesting to see the dynamics & hierarchy of the press.

The royal press (as I call them, the Arthur Edwards of the world) were of course granted the best access. In many ways they were treated like royalty themselves & there was a bit of good natured animosity about that from the rest of the press core.

7This was the press in front of the Harlem event. There were directly across the street. The rest of the press was kept to stand with us across the intersection. (press photo)

The rest of the core could be divided into three other categories. The first would be the national media for the major networks, and then the core press pool (AP, Reuters, etc.) & then the independent photographers who take pix & submit them to the various outlets. Oh and then the European press too! That was interesting. I met a really nice guy who is one of the core photographers for the Dutch & Danish royals. His schedule is punishing; he covers so many of them & travels nonstop. As we chatted he was actually pretty impressed that I knew so much about all of the royals around the world that he gave me a beautiful set of photographs he had taken of the various royals in the form of postcards. It was so generous & thoughtful of him. I was truly touched.

cardsA very special gift!

There were a few photographers that were REALLY annoying. I think they were part of the local independent pool. In one of the videos I took of the royals arriving at the MET you can hear two of them (a man & a woman) yelling at the royals to turn around. They were actually really boisterous & borderline disrespectful but in fact the reason the royals finally DID turn around was because of their yelling. The folks in the crowd yelled & cheered too of course but it was different type of yell. It was one of admiration & excitement. The press was more desperate & battering…esp since they were right behind me & yelling in my ear. At one point before they arrived the guy said, “Maybe she’ll fall down the stairs. That would be a great photo!” Well, needless to say we ALL turned around and GROWLED at him. At one point I said to him, “You’re getting paid to do your job. You might not care about it beyond your paycheck but for the rest of us this is very exciting & we are taking video & you are RUINING it by yammering about how much you hate being here!” That shut him up! Lol

As soon as the press would get their pix they would hurry & get their laptops & balance them on the top of trashcans or mailboxes & quickly edit their pix & send them off to their editors. It was sort of like a concrete jungle! Very fast paced & competitive. It was so impressive to see them in action. People kept trying to peek over their shoulders to see the pix & in some cases tried to take photos of the photos on the laptops which is a no no. It was important to be respectful of their job & the fact that their editors have first dibs on the pix.

At one point, one photographer asked me which of two images I liked better; he couldn’t decide which one his editor would prefer. “That one! Definitely that one!” I said. He seemed relieved that I made the decision for him & I was honored that he trusted me to do so.

At one point I say royal reporter Robert Jobson. A lot of us hard core royal watchers recognized him. He seemed to be part of the royal pack & had access that others didn’t have. One thing I noticed though is that the folks who report on the royals don’t seem all that excited about it. I guess for them the thrill is gone & for them it’s just a job at this point. I kept thinking, “Wow. I wonder if I would ever get bored of seeing the royals if I were in their shoes!” I doubt it!


One of the things that I never really considered before the trip was the fact that I would meet other royal watchers from around the country & world! Silly me! One of the greatest joys of this adventure was meeting so many delightful royal watchers. It was SO refreshing (and reassuring!) to talk to people who were just as excited (and knowledgeable!) about all things royal as I am. I met people from Ohio, Wisconsin, Washington (Hi David! Hi Jen! Pretty much the cutest couple ever!!), North Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, New York & Virginia! And the really fun part was that we would keep running into the same people over & over again. There were about six of us who always ended up seeing each other & it made the adventure a really unique shared experience.

9This is Jen! (And there is the security guy I was telling you about!)
How cute is she?
David & Jen got some great video as they were chasing Catherine’s motorcade. (See video #2 on my FB page)

Meeting other royal watchers in NY made the whole experience so much more memorable & it was a pure joy to share it with other people. Everyone I met was so warm & funny & gracious. I know that some of them are now following this page so a big hello to everyone I met!

I also had the amazingly delightful experience of meeting two woman who follow this page! More about that later!


One of the biggest “issues” I had was trying to decide if I should try to take pix or videos or just be in the moment. Like I mentioned before, things moved so quickly & the view of the royals, esp at the hotel were so fleeting that it was impossible to get good pix unless you had a zoom lenses & high speed camera. I was able to get some good video at the basketball game & at the Met event but here’s what I discovered: the things I saw with my eyes, being in the moment, in real time are what I actually remember more vividly. Studies have shown that people have a more impactful memory if they see something with their eyes vs taking video or photos. It’s an important lesson, esp as we seem to have an entire generation now that experiences life via a smart phone.

I knew that in most cases the photos I was able to take would be nothing in comparison to the pix that the press would get. And in fact, I didn’t look at ANY press pix of the tour until I had been home for about a week. I wanted MY memories to really sink into my brain. I didn’t want them to be blurred & confused by images seen elsewhere. I’m glad I made that choice. It has preserved my memories in a very solid & permanent way.

The bummer side of that is that I don’t have as many pix as you probably wish I did (though I did get some great video!) but my hope is that my retelling of the adventure will be vivid enough to take the place of any photos.

As you’ll read in the next post, seeing the royals leave the hotel on their way to the Nets game was a highlight but impossible to get a good snap of. A really nice filmmaker named Griffin Hammond who was there emailed me his photos & videos. SOOOO nice of him! He knew how bummed I was not to be able to get any pix. He had a zoom lens & a speed motor so he was able to capture some good pix. He also did a great video about the whole adventure. More about that later but I just wanted you to have at least ONE photo for now!

10(photo by Griffin Hammond)
Catherine & William as they left the hotel to go to the Nets game.
I am SURE she was waving at ME

So that is a recap of the basics!

The trip was more & beyond & extra & above & better than anything I could have imagined. In fact, I don’t really even know WHAT I expected. It’s been almost a month & I am STILL in disbelief that I saw them in person! The whole adventure was a whirlwind & it kicked my tush too. I got SOO sick on the way home & was sick for about a week. My body sort of shut down when I got home…but it was worth it!

If there was anything I would have done differently I would have brought a phone charger (you’ll see why in my next post) & I would have booked my return flight for a few days out so that I could have visited with my family longer. Other than that, I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

Stay tuned for part two! xo Lulu