When it was first announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were coming to Canada it was hard for me to believe that as someone who writes about them day in and day out that I would have the chance to cover them in person.
Yet soon enough (and after completing many media requests about the tour!) the first day that I would be able to cover them came in Vancouver. The media was requested to meet at a hotel in Vancouver where we would load a bus to Jack Poole Plaza. I met up with Amanda of What Would Kate Do? as it was also her first tour. We figured best to concur this thing together! As we loaded the bus it was pretty evident that we were the odd ones out, everyone chatted to each other in their British accents and teased and taunted one another (not unlike High School).
I recognised the face of many Royal photographers right off the bat so we figured it was our best bet was just to follow the veterans! After the bus driver took a wrong turn and had to make a three-point turn in the middle of a two-way street we made the 5-minute drive to the plaza which was already packed with royal fans. One thing that never occurred to me was how getting the right spot for each photographer is what could make or break them. Obvious to me now, but I guess I never had to think about it before. As soon as the bus doors opened the photographers took off in a high-speed walk to catch that million dollar shot.
Once we figured out that following them would not be the best for us, we ran into a group of royal reporters from almost every major publication. We introduced ourselves, to which all knew us. As impressed and excited as we were to meet with the people that we talk to on a daily basis on Twitter, they were pleased to meet us. They wanted insights into the area and we were happy to give them.
Now with only an hour to go until the arrival by float plane by the Duke and Duchess we found a spot along the walkabout reserved to media. Next came the bomb dogs who walked up and down the corridor. Once they cleared the media pits we were locked in, no ins and no outs until after Prince William and Kate walked by.
It happened quickly, starting with the cheers from those who could see them heading up the elevator from the water terminal. The rain stopped just in time for their walk through the crowd. As soon as we were clear to go it was back on the bus to get to the Immigration Centre.
Some sneaky local media joined on the bus so some were left to take a cab to the next location, but everyone made it on time. The Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark was already there greeting the much smaller crowds when the first motorcade arrived with Prime Minster Trudeau and his wife Sophie. Now I can’t guarantee this, but I am sure the crowds cheered louder for the Prime Minster and his wife then when the Duke and Duchess arrived. The Prime Minster high-fived the crowds and took selfies before the second motorcade came around the corner. William and Kate got out of their car, waved to the crowds and the Syrian families who just arrived in Canada peering down from their balconies. They met officials outside the centre before disappearing inside. So off we went again!
Now to the recently reopened Kitsilano Coast Guard base. The larger crowds greeted the Trudeau’s and the Cambridge’s before their tour of the coast guard centre. They then spoke with first responders about mental health who saw them off on a hovercraft.
If I wasn’t lucky enough to cover one day, I was also able to cover them in Kelowna. The far less busy day also started off on a media bus, but just with one stop for each media bus. I had the chance to pick between the University of B.C Okanagan (UBCO) or Mission Hill. I chose UBCO in the hopes that we would see Kate join in the volleyball game. Although my wish did not come true, it was a great chance to be more up close to the Duke and Duchess.
The crowds at the university were talking about when they saw Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales in Kelowna 30 years prior and I have no doubt that in 30 years all the young children dressed up as princes and princesses will be sharing their memories of seeing the future king and his wife. I know it is a memory that will stay with me for a lifetime, just hoping I will be able to create more like them!