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OPINION: my own royal anniversary – ten years of royal watching

By Robbie Dale - Flickr: Royal Carriage, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Ten years ago today, I was introduced to the world of royalty. As an American, I was not accustomed to the idea of royalty, let alone the British Royal Family. That all changed on April 29, 2011.

I was a sophomore in college, studying to become a nurse. My semester had ended two days prior, and I was home, recovering from final exams. My mother had mentioned a “royal wedding” of the beloved “Princess Di’s” eldest son, but that’s all I knew. But, for some reason, I decided to set my alarm for 3 am (eastern time) to see what this was all about.

At first, I wasn’t sure. I was used to Hollywood royalty, but this was different. The pomp and circumstance were outstanding. I loved the music, the historical feel of it all. But, the deal-breaker was the moment Princes William and Harry stepped out of their state car, to roaring applause. I was hooked. I remember tearing up as they made their way down the centre aisle and thinking, “get it together, Meg .. they don’t even know you exist.” But that didn’t matter; I LOVED it. And then Catherine Middleton, hand in hand with her father, seemed to float down the aisle. To this young girl, it was obvious the couple was very much in love.

I spent the time between the ceremony and the balcony appearance doing as much research as I could. Of course, the majority of this research was tabloids, but it helped quench my insatiable royal thirst. And then the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kissed not once, but twice. If I wasn’t changed before, I was then.

Although the Royal Wedding of 2011 set my sights on the Royal Family, it was not the end of my royal watching. I soon became connected with other members of this fan club. However, it became more than just this. In the ten years since my fascination with royalty began, I’ve seen my share of joy, fear, fatigue, sadness, and grief. We’ve seen the birth of royal babies, four royal marriages, countless tours and engagements, and a couple “leaving” the Royal Family to become financially independent. I could have never imagined the happiness this hobby could have created for me on that fateful day, ten years ago.

This memorable experience, exactly ten years ago, brought me to where I am now. Sure, the fashion is great, but royal-watching is about much more than clothes and princesses. The history, heritage, and culture that permeate through the British Royal Family are enchanting. When my life felt lonely or overwhelming, this aura has carried me through. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Watching this family complete engagement after engagement has enlightened me to many different causes that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. I’ve bought articles of clothing, shoes, accessories, etc., that were worn on these engagements. I have become more involved in my community because I have been inspired by each and every member of this family. I am eternally grateful that my mother encouraged me to watch this wedding with her ten years ago. It forever changed my life.

Ten years on since the wedding of Prince William and the then-Catherine Middleton so much has changed. Babies were born, couples were married, and just a few weeks ago, the family suffered an unimaginable sorrow with the death of Prince Philip. And, although we aren’t members of this prestigious family, it feels like we have shared these common experiences. I will be spending my day at work as a front line healthcare worker but will rush home and rewatch this special wedding.