|Image: Colin Galbraith|
Yesterday’s Royal Wedding kind of took over everything for me, quite in a way I never expected it too. Sometimes, it’s days like that, which make living in Edinburgh so worthwhile.
I was in a coffee shop in Princes Street by 9;45am and writing into my notebook over a coffee. It’s was nice and quiet so I was able to get a lot done. I wanted to pop into Miller’s Arts & Crafts on the North Bridge to get paper for my haiku project for Trees for Life, but when I got there I fond a huge “Closed” sign and the shop gutted inside. Goodness knows what I’m going to do now.
At this point I decided I would pop down to the Royal Mile near Canongate Kirk to see what was happening. I’d already seen a lot of people with mini Union Flags walking in the other direction so I was starting to suspect I’d missed the wedding entirely.
When I got there I could get quite near, about a couple of hundred yards from the main entrance. It was busy, but not too busy. I asked a policeman how it had gone and he said the wedding wasn’t until 3pm. I looked at my watch: 11:30am—was it worth the wait?
I decided to wait for a wee while and see how things panned out. After the first hour and a half the first guests started to arrive by bus from the Balmoral Hotel. I didn’t know most of these people—all rugby types gathering by the reaction from the crowd around me, although I did spot Sir Jackie Stewart.
The crowd had by swollen to a healthy number by this point. It wasn’t too packed though, because the police had closed the road at both ends so who was in stayed—and who was out had to watch from a long distance away. A TV camera crew did a live broadcast just down from me, the man on the spot having already persuaded the group of a dozen women to scream at him and wave their flags when he turned towards them. It went out live but I don’t know which channel.
Having waited for an hour and a half already I now so no point in leaving. The people around me provided much banter and we all ended up sharing a good laugh. I never got anyone’s names, but there were two elderly ladies from Australia, a girl from Edinburgh who was a photography and Royal fanatic, a bloke who had been dragged there by his wife on the promise of a pint (I think his name was John), and the staff and shop owners of the shops on that section of the Mile I was camped.
Whereas the buses had come down the hill with the guests from the Balmoral, the Royal family and wedding party arrived in cars from Holyrood Palace. First to arrive was Prince Andrew with his daughters Eugene and Beatrice, followed by Prince Edward and his wife, the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
The next car provided the biggest cheer and hysterics of the day when Prince Harry and the newly weds, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived. For me, though, the next two cars were the main reason I’d come. First, The Prince of Wales and wife Camilla, followed not long after by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.
The bride was suitably late and disappeared into the church very fast indeed, the doors closed, and that was that. The crowd suddenly began to melt as people left and so I was able to get much further up towards the front of the Kirk. I decided to wait until the end of the ceremony now I was so close and it proved to be worth it, as the the Royals and the wedding party emerged from the Kirk much slower and right across from me as they left for the reception.
So what was a day of no plans and mild hope at getting a glimpse of a Royal wedding turned out, in fact, to be a great day out despite the four and a half hour wait. I met lots of fabulous people standing in the street with me, saw live media crews from all around the world in action, watched the lengths the paparazzi will go to to get one decent shot (no building or lamppost was safe), had some great banter with the police men and women working the street, got to see first hand the organisation and security that goes into protecting the most important Monarch in the world, and of course, I got to see a Royal wedding, the first in Scotland for 20 years, which had all the senior Royals in attendance.
By the time I started to head home I was knackered and had to make my way straight for my Mother in Law’s. She was making us all dinner but it was a meal from heaven and one that I needed after having stood on the Royal Mile without food, drink or any toilet breaks for so long.
It was worth it though!
Now, back to the page.