Never in my life did I imagine I’d meet a member of the British royal family. Then it happens – and I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.
Before I go further, let me put you in my shoes. You’re a journalist who loves writing about the British royals. For two years, you get up every morning wondering what angle to use for a fresh story on handsome Prince Harry or seemingly grumpy Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
The options get slimmer by the day as you’ve written five stories about Meghan’s unconfirmed pregnancy, or about her stormy relationship with her dad, Thomas Markle. But you manage to scrape the words together to write something – because there has to be an article about the royals.
The royals had been the inspiration for my unborn daughter’s name – model Ireland Baldwin had been a guest at Harry and Meghan’s wedding. And when the commentator said the name, I realised how much I liked it. Not only that, but I needed an unusual second name. My unborn daughter’s name is now Lady Island Earth. Lady, because of course I’m royalty too – in my own mind, at least.
Let me get
to the point, or we might sit here into next week speculating if Meghan is
pregnant again. Hey, I’m just putting it out there . . .
Fast-forward to a few months ago when I heard the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be kicking off their official tour in Cape Town – with little Archie in tow.
I was in a real state. 1. I’m not a journalist anymore. 2. How am I going to bypass the crowds to get a close-up of them? And: 3. How’s it possible that Harry and Meghan, of all people, will be visiting my hometown and I’m sitting in the office at work? And nobody else here shares my passion for the royals?
My poor housemate had to listen to my endless ramblings and speculations about what the royals would be doing in Cape Town and how I could organise to meet them.
My plan was to see them on Tuesday (24 September, Heritage Day) at their visit to the District Six Museum in the Bo-Kaap. Until one of my colleagues mentioned that the museum visit would be happening on Monday morning, not on the public holiday as I’d been planning on.
So, I didn’t have time to get my hair done and I wasn’t wearing the neat outfit I’d planned on. Plus, my Monday was full of meetings. I had no idea if I’d get to see the royals. Every second person in the office asked if I was okay because I was getting a little hysterical.
But I managed to make my way to the museum. There was only a small group of people at the museum’s entrance – lucky for me, because I believed I was sure to meet them. But my excitement didn’t last long. One of the organisers moved us to the other side of the street to make way for the procession of vehicles.
I’m not one to complain but I was upset. All this effort to get close to Harry and Meghan, only to be shoved out of the way like yesterday’s dirty washing.
Harry and Meghan arrived, greeted the crowd and headed straight into the museum. I wasn’t that bothered because I knew they’d have to walk past everyone to get to their next appointment.
Then the moment arrived. My feet were sore, my throat dry and my cellphone battery nearly flat. But the moment I spotted them, I knew it was now or never. Time for action!
Harry and Meghan, hand-in-hand, were making their way past the first group of people. As I tried to get Harry’s attention, Meghan spotted the bunch of proteas next to me and headed straight in our direction.
Smiling beautifully, she paused to chat to us. First, she thanked us for the beautiful proteas and then she shook hands with one or two of us and introduced herself. I knew no one would believe me, so I needed to do something unusual. I asked her to say, “H,i Tarryn”. And without hesitation, she smiled and said my name! “Hi, Tarryn . . .”
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, the late Princess Diana’s daughter-in-law, said my name. Can you believe it? Because I can’t!
10m from me, flashed a gorgeous smile in my direction. Suddenly, all those long
hours typing away about the royals made sense. It felt like I’d come full
circle – as if I were being rewarded for all my hard work.
And it doesn’t matter that Harry didn’t shake my hand – he can still have my last Rolo.