Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Princess Diana encounter

Growing up I had an affinity for all things English. English country, English clothing (ahem- I wore rubber boots before they were fashionable), English riding and of course, all things English royalty. Keep in mind, this was way back when most people (Americans, at least) thought the monarchy very tedious and dull.

And then SHE came along.....the lovely Lady Diana. I think it can be convincly said that she changed our world - or at least she did mine. I immediately got the haircut. I pored over every photograph, collected every magazine in which she graced the cover, and of course joyfully jumped out of the bed at the crack of dawn on July 29th, 1981 to 'be there' for her special day. Sitting in my living room, eyes glued to the television set, I had no idea that soon I'd be making a move across the 'pond' and not only would I live less than 90 miles from her, but I'd even get to SEE her.

Adjusting to a new country and a new way of life can always be a bit difficult and some of that difficulty I have to say we brought on ourselves. Jay was in the Air Force and when he got his orders I knew right away that I did NOT want to live on base. No way. I wanted to be in the middle of all things British - and that's exactly what we did. I adapted to British customs, British food and made friends with the locals. We were newlyweds and all we could afford was a one-room flat over a hardware store in the small village of Ramsey. We lived there happily for a quite a while, and it wasn't until I was expecting Rachael that we decided to move into a house.

One weekend we took a break from 'setting up house' and took the train into London for Queen Elizabeth's annual birthday parade. My excitement over a possible Diana sighting was thwarted however when the news reported that due to the hot weather, Diana, who at the time was also pregnant (with Harry) would not be riding. Jay asked me if I still wanted to go. Sure. Why not? It's still not ever day that you get to see the Queen ride through the streets on a horse.

So we went.

We took a few snapshots of Buckingham Palace, then walked around London before claiming our spot to watch the parade. Please keep in mind two things. Number one - this was back in 1984 so these pictures aren't the best in the world, and number two - I was 7 and 1/2 months pregnant. It was unusally hot that summer - England isn't known for it's warm temperatures to begin with and this particular summer animals in the zoo were dying due to the unusually extreme temperatures. So, I was hot, tired and grumpy. And ready to go home. But still...I lingered. Smart decision. As the parade starts there is murmuring in the crowd...then excitement fills the air and trickles down the line like a small tidal wave as the news leaks out that Diana WILL be there after all.

But first....we have to wait as other members of the Royal Family are paraded through. The photo below is of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. The Duchess is the Queens first cousin and is the 26th in line for the throne.

And she is, Diana riding with the Queen Mother. The picture, I know is awful, but in real life she was very close. Since I was pregnant people were nice enough to let me stand in the front near the street, and when Princess Diana's carriage went by I got a PERFECT view of her. She faced our side of the street as she waved!!

and there she goes.....

It was only for a few moments, but for me will last a lifetime.

Although April 29th belongs to William and Kate, I think it's safe to say there won't be one single solitairy person around the world that won't also be thinking of Princess Diana on that day.


Becky said...

I completely agree...I know I will be thinking of Di and have been over these many weeks during the wedding build up.

lljljljljj said...

Great story!

My mother was pregnant with me (but didn't know it yet) when she watched Charles and Diana's wedding, so we will be watching! I live in London so it's at normal time for me :)

Marydon said...

Beautifully shared, Kathy. All I got to see was the guards at the palace ... they have no sense of humor! lmty. Chuckle!

I so love(d) Diana. Hopefully her sons will carry on her traits over the paternal side.

Have a beautiful weekend ~

Nezzy said...

How thrilling ya got to see her in person, even for a brief moment in time. Kinda like her life here on earth.

I do pray that William and Kate with have a lifelong fairytale love affair. Di's boys deserve true happiness.

God bless ya and have a beautiful day sweetie!

EFT Video Emotional Therapy said...

I could only wish that I had the opportunity to have an experience with Princess Diana.

Learn EFT said...

Such a wondrous experience for you. I know she's a great person.

Beth Dunn said...

I'm obsessed with "English" culture and my English heritage!