I was born in 1984. Same as Prince Harry.
I am a citizen of the Commonwealth. Same as Prince Harry.
I love to travel. Same as Prince Harry.
Sometimes I wear inappropriate costumes to theme parties. Same as Prince Harry.
I think it’s important we as humans help each other out. Same as Prince Harry (Good guy!).
I look great in jeans. Same as Prince Harry.
As you can see, Prince Harry and I are basically soulmates.
And it was really only a matter of time before our paths crossed.
Because tropical islands are where all good love stories start (The Blue Lagoon; part 3 of Eat, Pray, Love; Blue Hawaii, Cast Away, the Beach… ok maybe not the Beach, that got a little crazy with the guns and drugs and stuff).
So to add some context here, let me explain. I was in Barbados for some planning workshops with my organization. The three days I was in town happened to be some of the most festive days of Barbados’s 50th Anniversary. Great timing organization! Around this time, Prince Harry was bumming around the Caribbean visiting some of the other countries and eventually ended up in Barbados for these celebrations.
I had no idea about this Royal Tour de Caribbean until the second day of the planning workshops and I googled what was happening that evening celebration wise. Barbados Today (thankfully!) informed me that Prince Harry had arrived that morning.
After physically assaulting the Bajan program officer beside me for neglecting to give me such crucial information (“Oh yeah, Prince Harry is here, that’s right, yeah”…..!!!!!), I furiously Googled more and checked Kensington Palace’s Twitter account. The thought of being on the same small island as the Ginger Prince was almost too much.
I was in 100% stalker mode.
Must spot Harry.
That night, Harry was set to be at the unveiling Ceremony of the 50th Anniversary Monument at the Garrison. He was set to ‘place the gnomon on the sundial’. Whatever a ‘gnomon’ is… The time was set for 10pm.
Oh, that’s late, everyone knows my bedtime is 9:30. No, this is important! You can do it Emily. Take a nap.
Decision made. And then it started to rain. Torrentially. The rain fell from the sky, in a way that can only happen in the tropics. This kind of downpour is why people quit Survivor. The streets quickly flooded (apparently the Barbados drainage system leaves something to be desired). The skies showed no signs of stopping. I imagined being the only person there to see Harry place the sacred gnomon. Excellent.
Not excellent would be the severe case of pneumonia I would get following the rainy ceremony.
The rain continued.
Finally the deluge quit around dinner time, allowing me to go and eat Chinese takeout for stalking fuel.
After dinner I checked Twitter and saw that the Ceremony had been postponed due to rain. Thankfully it was only postponed until the next night, and to actually a much more suitable hour 7pm! Yay.
My date with the Prince would wait.
The next day was my last day in Barbados. If the ceremony was postponed again my brush with royalty would be postponed indefinitely and to who knows where. Checking Twitter, it looked like we were a go. Operation Prince.
I caught a cab towards the Garrison, only a couple of kilometres from my hotel in Rockley. I joined the throngs of folks pressed up against a fence miles away from any action. Hmm, this wouldn’t do. I can’t properly stalk Prince Harry via Jumbotron.
Now, I’ve snuck into my fair share of things. Alexis Jones and I once sauntered into the Halloween party at BC’s Marijuana Party headquarters. I was appropriately attired as a panda.
I figured I needed to be in a better position.
I moved over to what looked to be a driveway that entered the ceremony area and ended at the huge tent where one would assume the Prince would be. Maybe his car would even go down this driveway.
Well it didn’t. The convoy came in another driveway. But standing on the edge of this driveway, I was actually perfectly placed.
Once the Prince arrived and was seated in his royal folding chair, some people started walking down the driveway towards the big fancy tent. Hmmm….what if….
I joined the the crowd! The worst that can happen is I’ll get kicked out, and no way that could be as embarrassing as getting kicked out of American Pie at the Willowbrook Cineplex in 1999.
Trying to blend in and look less stalkery, I followed the walkway up a ramp and into the back of the big fancy tent where I took a seat near the middle but in the back. Looking around, somewhat discombobulated as to my new setting, I tried to pay attention to what was happening on stage, a welcoming prayer of some kind.
Unfortunately there was this big head in the way, sitting down in front, blocking my view. If only that big red head would….
HOLY SHIT IT’S HARRY!!!!!
Harry’s head was blocking my view of …Wait what was going on up on stage? Who cares!
Breathe Emily. Enjoy the musical performances and dance numbers…oh look there’s Harry! …No! Focus. This is a huge event in this country’s history and you are lucky to see these amazing Bajan performers… I wonder if Harry is enjoying this… I wonder if Harry can dance… I wonder if Harry ever texts in the middle of this kind of thing. That would be a bad diplomatic move to be sure, but he’s still a millennial and some of these events must get pretty tedious… Oh look a trumpeter, you don’t just see trumpeters every day!
Trumpets + Prince Harry = Surreal
This event is great! Dancers… Singers… More singers… No speeches… This event is the best! Oh, people are walking…
The time came for the unveiling of the Monument. Several folks from the front row stood up and walked the 100 metres to the monument to place a time capsule inside. The capsule was filled with all kinds of great Bajan artifacts, notably a bottle of Mount Gay Rum. Then the Prime Minister walked out and did something.
Finally, Prince Harry stood and walked out to the monument. It’s him, yup, that is really him. My soulmate looks great in a suit…
Once Harry was out at the monument, he placed the gnomon (though I still don’t know what that is) and immediately the walkway connecting the tent with the monument went up in light, bordered by flairs announcing the completion of the monument through flame. Made me jump to be honest. I thought they were trapping Harry out there with a wall of Voldemort-like fire. Wait that’s a different fiction…
But the sparks died down and were replaced by a fireworks display from the grounds of the Garrison. I couldn’t see the fireworks in the sky since I was under a tent, but they sounded fantastic! And then Harry started walking back towards the tent. There’s the money shot!
So handsome. So tall. So royal.
What a dreamboat.
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