The Great Kate Wait as it became known, was the highlight of our week. Several of my fellow Americans were just as excited, and asked to be 'kept in the loop'.
My phone pinged and the message from Samantha was quite simply, 'We are having a baby!' I was stunned! It was when I read the next post it said, 'Kate has gone into labour'. It was when I realised that she meant, the royal 'we', I was delighted. (Does that make me a bad mum?) Being a traditionalist, and a royalist, the thought of the future King's son, producing another future King, was going to be an additional 'one of those dates in history', that I catalogue. (My dad had always called us to the television, or radio, when something 'great' happened, like the lunar landings, etc, and said 'Watch this, and you can tell you children that you remember when it happened') Although a new law had been passed to allow girls to have the same right in the line of succession as boys, I was rather hoping for a boy. I think there is something far more appealing about a royal son choosing a princess than the royal daughter choosing a prince. Despite the fact that major designers have been male, it is normally the female that dominates the catwalk. After all, a suit is a suit, and the most one can hope for in traditional formal male apparel is the change in width of both lapel and trouser bottom! To wit, it is always far more interesting to see how the princess dresses rather than the prince! However, I digress!
A laptop is rather an intriguing device. Not only can I type, skype and get the hype, it can be used as a television and radio. Accessing the live coverage outside Buckingham Palace, waiting for the news to be posted on the famous easel, was not as easy as I had imagined. Eventually, I found the CNN broadcast with a live feed to both Buck House and the hospital, where the royal birth was supposedly imminent. With two screens open on one web browser, I then had to find an audio outlet, on another (so as not to overload my ancient system) as neither of the feeds had sound. Radio 5 live was my answer. Every time the announcer stated that they were going to cross over to their reporter in the field, I slid across the floor on my office chair, which fortunately has wheels, and reactivated the screen to see if there was movement. Eventually, shortly after two in the afternoon, we heard the news. A King was born! I became very emotional, much to the surprise of those surrounding me, with the exception of Samantha. We were one down, two to go!' When was the new Prince and his parents going to make an appearance, and what would he be called.
Simba was the first choice from the comic crew. Although the England emblem is the three lions, and Windsor Castle is not far from the Safari park, it seemed unlikely that Prince Harry would lure his nephew into the elephant sanctuary, which would cause the newborns father to come in search. Despite the animals not being caged, the surroundings are not really concussive to cause a stampede, and no one is in real danger of being trampled underfoot. My choice was George, and it had nothing to do with the Jungle! It is true that our gorgeous Kate, formerly Middleton, was a princess bride, and it is possible that she keeps a princesses diary, but the rest is far from Disney!
For a time I felt like royalty myself! Many clients, neighbours and friends called or text'd with messages of congratulations, which I received graciously, and commented, 'I didn't do too bad, did I!' The royal 'we' appeared to have extended to all over the globe.
Tuesday morning started with the computers being booted up and the live broadcasts being sought. CNN was favourite for video, again, and the BBC 5 Live was most accommodating for sound. As the Royal couple left the hospital after being visited by both sets of new grandparents, I found myself having to fight the lump in my throat that threatened to rise and cause a stream of sobs. I do love my adoptive country, but I am, and always will be, at heart, an Englishwoman!
However, with the odds against the names Wayne and Julian, I had to leave my computer Wednesday morning to have my manicure. As my nails went from light pink to bright red, we discussed everything but the new arrival, and by the time I could successfully hide myself in a cherry tree, (are we back to the elephants?) I made my way to Sprouts, the grocery store that sells my 'must take at your age' pills, and the variety of vegetables with which I have fallen in love! Did I mention that our car was in the shop? Without a radio to hear the news, I drove the beast, that was our loaner car, across the river to the nearest location. The gearbox had a mind of its own, and the 'Drive' option was not its favourite choice. 'D' in the brain of the car, appeared to mean 'Don't want to!' Unlike breaking in a horse, each time I re saddled the engine it would scream and I had to coax it, very gently, into going forward. If I stopped at a traffic light, it would slip out of gear, and I would have to wave apologetically to the person behind when I failed to move as red turned to green. The need to get back to the office was, of course, two fold. I had a lot of work piling up on my desk, and I needed to know the name of the crown prince! As everyone in the vicinity who could not get to a media outlet was relying on me, I had to be the first to know! Eventually, I got to my destination and entered the store, which was like walking into a totally different world. Piped music was playing, and the air was cool. I could have been in any Mediterranean supermarket, with cares and troubles packed away across the sea! I took advantage of the interlude, and poured myself a small, complimentary coffee. Unfortunately, however, the world always has a way of catching up with you when you are trying to escape, and in true Tracie fashion, I spilled the entire contents of the sample cup down the front of my dress. I had chosen not to bring my jacket with me, as I did not think I would need it, due to the heat, but was now wondering how I could have been so remiss! Attempting to appear nonchalant, I pushed my shopping cart through the store, hoping no one would notice the giant stain that had grown across the left side of my top, and started to hum the National Anthem. Why? I know not! I can only assume that it had something to do with the 'stiff upper lip', for which us Brits are so famous!
I returned to the office much later than anticipated, having sat at a twenty five way traffic light for approximately ten minutes, (Is it my turn yet? Is it my turn now?) waiting for the traffic in all opposite directions to turn right, turn left, go straight ahead, and stop! The car, by this time, had gained a false sense of security, and believed it had won, so when I put the gear stick into the 'don't want to' selection, it laughed very loudly when I attempted to depress the accelerator! Even the National Anthem was of little encouragement. (I don't think Fiji is part of the Empire, therefore the Subaru resisted emphatically!) By the time our Prince George Alexander Louis was formally named, later that afternoon, I was back in the office, and ready to let my public know! My job as a freelance journalist was over for a while, and I could sit back and relax.
Fortunately, by the end of the week, we had the choice to turn in the car for another. Our vehicle was going to be on the ramp for a little while longer, and it was time the current loaner was sent to vehicular boot camp! Royal fever had given way to other news, and I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend. What happened next is............. another story.