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William and Kate: The modern-day fairytale

Molly Madden | Saturday, April 30, 2011

While I have only written one other post for this lovely blog, there was a common theme in my last one about attending the BAFTA awards: getting up incredibly early so that I could be part of a “once in a lifetime” event.

The BAFTAs were certainly amazing, but being front row on the parade route for the Royal Wedding this past Friday was truly, as cliché as it sounds, unforgettable.

I left my flat in central London with fellow Observer reporter Maija Gustin at 4:20 a.m. in my Wedding Day finest, albeit covered under my layers of Howard Hall sweats. Our destination was the famed Mall, the main street leading up to Buckingham Palace and where the entire wedding party would pass on their way to Westminster Abbey later in the morning.

Surprisingly, we got a front and center spot on the Mall where we would be guaranteed to have impressive views of the procession. However, before I would take my spot, I took a short nap in St. James Park five feet from someone I thought to be a Royal Watcher as myself; he turned out to be a homeless man. Oh, what I endure in the name of Will and Kate’s happiness.

At around 8 a.m., more crowds began to arrive so Maija, our friend Kelsey, and myself took our positions right up against the barricade and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

We knew the precise times the bridal party would depart their respective locations (Prince William and Prince Harry and 10:10 a.m., Kate Middleton at 10:58 a.m) so we took time to talk to the crowd we were lumped in with.

Everyone was incredibly excited and some had traveled great distances to see the future King and Queen of England on their special day. We also gained British insights into the monarchy (Will and Kate= good, Charles and Camilla=bad) and tried predicting what British designer Kate selected for the creation of her sure-to-be-talked-about dress.

Finally, at 10:12 a.m., we saw a motorcade approaching and a Bentley with the Royal House of Windsor’s crest on top. Prince William and Prince Harry were fast approaching.

Fast is the operative word here because the car was going entirely too quickly for my liking. However, I did get what I determined to be a personal wave from Prince Harry so I was satisfied.

The next thirty minutes was a whirlwind of Royalty as Prince Andrew and his daughters, Prince Charles, Camilla, and finally the Queen accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh drove past.

The crowds were waving their Union Jacks excitedly as the moment we were all waiting for quickly approached: the arrival of Kate Middleton.

The soon-to-be Duchess of Cambridge did not disappoint. Riding with her father in a Rolls Royce, she looked every bit, excuse yet another cliché, the modern princess bride. She looked radiant as she dutifully waved to the crowds screaming her name and wishing her well in her final moments as a singleton.

I was surprised by how much affection I immediately felt toward this woman who would one day be crowned the Queen of England. Yet, the estimated million people gathered on the parade route knew this thought was far from her mind and that her focus, as it should be, was on her future marriage with the man with whom she had shared the past eight years of her life.

Nearly thirty minutes later when Kate said “I will” and the crowds cheered in appreciation, we all knew a fairytale had been fulfilled. Not the fairytale of kings and queens, but one where two young people meet at school, fall in love, go through trials and tribulations, but are still able to find a modern-day happy ending.

And that is when I realized why I had stood on the route so long. Sure, I had wanted to see some famous royals in the flesh, but no one, not even the biggest royal haters, could not feel the faintest twinge of emotion at such a devoted couple committing to spend the rest of their lives together.

And that folks is the stuff dreams, and network television specials, are made of.