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Prince William shook my hand

Touched by royalty–I know I’m not supposed to get overly excited about celebrity proximity, but I am, as one woman said in the crowd, dead chuffed that Prince William shook my hand today. I came down with the flu yesterday and this morning I had to stagger to the pharmacy and then buy some food, but most important–I still had to get some whisky so I could make a hot toddy–I mean, here I am in Scotland sans whisky–not done. So I thought I might see if I wasn’t too late to catch a glimpse of the royals.

To find out why Prince William and his lovely Kate Middleton visited St Andrews, read the BBC article here.

Some people had been waiting to see them since 7 a.m., waiting in the rain, I might add. I come strolling up and 15 minutes later, he’s shaking my hand.

There was a heavy police presence as they filmed us.

And I even spotted a few lookouts on the tower roof.

But as Will and his lovely Kate came toward me, I suddenly thought, I should stop taking photos and stick out my hand. So I did. And he took it. And he looked at me. And call me crazy, but what I saw in his eyes was that he cares. I had expected some politician’s hand pump, and a turning away, a wall even, glazed-over eyes, not connecting, shyness maybe. Instead, he cared. Maybe he was caring about his wife-to-be, hoping she doesn’t turn out like his mother. Maybe he’s so new to this he’s still moved by a crowd’s adoration, but I broke out into a grin and felt singled out, special even.

I know my Irish grandmother is turning in her grave that English royalty would have this effect on me. Plus I’m just not into the whole fame cult. But here was romance and tragedy and hope and youth and 600 years plus royalty, all wrapped up in one intriguing man.

Those of you who know me well will also know I’m a shameless eavesdropper. And the invention of the mobile phone has been a great boon for people like me. I have overheard the most intimate of conversations, mostly on Dutch trains. Today, however, I heard people laughing into their phones: “He shook my hand!” “She’s so lovely!” “It’s a mild day!” And my personal favorite: “Don’t forget to transfer money!”

The lady in front of me called her mom, then turned to the agent patrolling us and said, “My mum wasn’t impressed. Who can I call who will be impressed?” I then called my husband and told him I’d shaken hands with the prince, just to hear my own Prince Charming reply, “Can I get back to work now?”

And Kate, when she passed by, she said in a very posh accent, “Oh, there’s so many hands.” And I thought, it gets worse, sweetie.

The Asian students were the most excited, clicking away on their i-Phones. But the American students, especially the women, made the most noise. One Scottish woman said, “I’m here because I worshipped his mother.” That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? The Diana cult continues. Right down to the sapphire ring.

So where does that leave us? With the press, and with a future king and queen. Just look at the wistfulness on the faces of the girls here. Don’t we all just long for a fairytale ending?

An hour later I was back in bed with my hot toddy. You have to love a country where you shake the hand of a prince one moment and the next, you can buy Bunnahabhain Islay whisky–in a supermarket.

Long live the queen.

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