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Somebody Else at the Royal Wedding (Part II)

May 28, 2011 by Somebody Else

As I told you in Part I last month, because of an unexpected cash windfall, courtesy of Thurston Thornton's long-deceased father, I was able to finance my trip to England to see the royal wedding of William and Kate. With about fifteen grand in my pocket, I figured that I was pretty well set. Little did I know how quickly that money would soon run out.

First, I had to buy the round-trip plane ticket -- there went $1,500. Then, I had to reserve a hotel room for a few days in London, and as you might imagine, the prices were through the roof in anticipation of the royal wedding -- I ended up booking a room at the Kensington Rooms Hotel for about $800 a night, so for four nights that came to about $3,200. And of course, I had to get myself the classiest suit that money could buy if I expected to have any chance of interviewing the royals -- so, I got an Armani that set me back $2,000. And of course I couldn't leave out the A. Testoni Norvegese handmade Italian shoes at $1,500, the Rolex watch at $6,000 and my Santos-Dumont white-gold cufflinks at just under $4,000. And I also bought an elegant tie and fine dress shirt, both made of silk -- I can't remember the brand names or how much they cost, but I can tell you, they were pricey. Of course, I had to eat, and London restaurants weren't cheap, so that was more money spent, maybe around $1,500, since I chose to dine at several establishments frequented by Lady Di back in the day -- you know how it is, if you want to interview the royals, you've got to eat the way they eat so that you can develop some authentic rapport. To that end, there's nothing like a healthy serving of Almas caviar with several glasses of Dom. Romane Conti 1997 to wash it down. Oh yeah, I also decided to drop in at Sergio Faustus hair salon, where I got the full treatment, including organic menthol scalp massage, for about $750. And let's not forget all the money I spent on taxis, tips to porters and waiters, etc. That alone came to several hundred bucks.

If you've been tracking the math, you've undoubtedly figured out that I went way over my $15,000 budget. So, in order to come up with the extra money needed, I took out an unsecured loan at the local credit union. Well, it will take me a few years to pay back all of that money, and the steep interest rate won't make it any easier. But don't ask me to sell the Rolex watch -- I've kind of gotten attached to it.

Evidently, such sacrifices are needed in order to dwell in that rarified atmosphere occupied by our beloved royals. Nobody said that access to them would be easy or cheap. But hey, a truly professional journalist has to do what he has to do to get his exclusive story.

After I flew in to London and got set up in my hotel, I headed over to Westminster Abbey to check out preparations for the wedding, which was to take place in three days. Well, there seemed to be absolutely no way to get close to that place. Official people wearing jet-black sunglasses -- funny, because it was quite cloudy -- were walking around everywhere with official-looking badges pinned to their jackets, and talking into cell-phones and walkie-talkies with highly official-sounding voices. It wasn't clear to me what exactly they were up to, but it seems that a large part of what they were doing was keeping people like me at a healthy distance from the church.

I approached one of them and had the following conversation:

SE: Excuse me, sir. I am interested in --

Official: Please present your clearance pass.

SE: Say what?

Official: If you do not have a clearance pass, please kindly stay out of the restricted area.

SE: Oh, so this here is the restricted area? I thought it was back over there at the church entrance, behind those velvet ropes.

Official: Sir, do you have a clearance pass?

SE: Sure, here's my American passport.

Official: No, no -- that won't do. Sir, if you do not leave the restricted area at once --

SE: Check out this Rolex watch. And look, I'm wearing an Armani suit. And get a load of these cufflinks. I'm telling you, I'm definitely royal wedding material here.

At that point, several of that guy's official-looking buddies showed up, and they made it pretty clear that they were ready to get physical with me in a hurry if I didn't leave. One of them even mumbled some stuff at me under his breath. I couldn't make out the British slang, but it seemed to me that it wasn't all that respectful, if you know what I mean. Not wishing to be roughed up and thereby ruin my freshly-pressed Armani suit, I walked away from the church. Actually, they kind of escorted me out of the zone, just to make sure that I really was going, I suppose.

So, at that point, I was feeling pretty darned discouraged, and truth be told, I hardly felt that the motherland of my native tongue had offered its wayward son much of a homecoming. In fact, the treatment I'd gotten outside of Westminster Abbey seemed to be screaming at me: "Yankee go home!"

But then I thought back to all of America's improbable victories over the British. You know how it was back in the day. The Brits figured that they were all big and special, like they owned the place and called all the shots, and considered the Americans to be nothing more than a bunch of uncultured upstarts, not to be taken seriously. Well, we showed them that they couldn't have their way with us.

So, I determined that I would keep alive the spark of American defiance against English tyranny, and figured that come hell or high water, I would find a way into the royal wedding, even though it was an invitation-only affair, and surprise, surprise, I hadn't been invited.

The next couple of days went by in a blur. I hit the town and spent a lot of money, ate way too much rich food and got a very bad case of indigestion, watched a lot of television in the hotel room, visited some museums and did a bit of sightseeing, and sent a few e-mails to Somebody, letting him know what was going on, and expressing my frustration at not being able to penetrate the inner sanctum of the church where the royal wedding was to be held. He urged me to be patient and told me that he had a feeling I would somehow find a way to interview the royal couple.

Well, on the big day, security was at its absolute maximum, and there was no way for me to get close to the church. So, I went back to my hotel room and watched the whole ceremony on the tube.

Trying to overcome my discouragement, I reminded myself that the point of my visit really wasn't to simply witness the royal wedding, since anyone could do that from their own home by watching the news coverage, but rather to get an exclusive interview with William and Kate. So, if I couldn't interview them at Westminster Abbey, I'd find a way into Buckingham Palace after the wedding.

I decided that I would get them to reveal their most personal and candid thoughts:

During the ceremony, did you itch somewhere, and how did you resist the impulse to scratch? What do you really and honestly think of Camilla Parker-Bowles? How much longer do you think Queen Elizabeth has before she kicks the bucket? Do you want to be king, or would you prefer that they find a way to make your dad king even though he broke the royal rules by divorcing your mom?

I imagined my earth-shattering interview would win me the Pulitzer Prize and would help Somebody's Webpage to become the most popular website in the history of the universe.

With these thoughts in mind, I left the hotel room and made my way towards Buckingham Palace, where I was certain that I would find William and Kate resting up from their arduous nuptials.

Well, there was no more way into that place than into Westminster Abbey. Exasperated beyond belief, I sat on the curb next to the entrance gate contemplating my next move.

While I dejectedly sat there, a catering van pulled up. The driver stuck out his pass, but there was a problem. The security guy was saying that the pass had to be renewed, that it had expired, and the driver was saying, look, I've got a delivery, you can call in to verify, etc. While they were arguing back and forth, I very quietly opened the back of the catering van and found a small place to sit down among the several multi-tiered cakes back there. Fortunately, nobody saw me slip in.

After a few minutes, the bureaucratic conundrum was somehow worked out, and the catering van proceeded past the gates and made its way to the palace. My heart thumped with excited anticipation.

The van stopped outside of the palace kitchen, and the driver got out, probably so that he could find someone to help him bring in the cakes. As soon as I heard his footsteps fade away, I quietly got out of the van and looked around at the splendiferous magnificence of the royal grounds. But I only took it in for a few seconds, lest I arouse suspicion. I straightened my posture as much as possible and made an effort to look extremely official. I even tried to come across as a bit bored and nonchalant.

It was dinner hour, so as I walked about the grounds, completely ignored by everyone walking past me, I tried to get an idea of where dinner was being served. Lifting my nose to the air, I detected some lovely culinary scents coming from a large outdoor tent. Guessing that it was the royal dinner reception, I headed in that direction.

There were hundreds of people milling about there, and my heart fairly stopped when I saw William and Kate hand-in-hand standing next to a table laid out with hors d'oeuvres. Not wasting a second, I began making my way towards them, but just before I could introduce myself, they started conversing with five or six other people, and there was no way for me to get a word in edgewise. Taking a few steps back, I cautiously watched them out of the corner of my eye, waiting for the opportunity to talk to them while I munched on some jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce.

It turned out that I was not the only one waiting for an opportunity. William and Kate excused themselves, and then briskly headed towards a building next to the outdoor tent. Opening a door, they disappeared inside and were not followed by anyone. Maybe they wished for a brief moment of privacy.

All well and good, but they've got the rest of their lives for brief moments of privacy. As for me, I knew that the time had come for me to get my historic interview. It was that moment or never.

Quickly heading for the door, I found it unlocked and quietly went inside. I could hear William and Kate talking to each other down the hallway. Their voices were low and sounded rather serious. I heard her say, I'm tired, and I just want to rest awhile. I've got a splitting headache. He replied: Shall I get you a powder? I approached the room where they were. It was a small storage area filled with a bunch of janitorial equipment. I guess they figured that nobody would find them there. How wrong they were. I switched on my digital recorder.

SE: William and Kate, congratulations on your marriage!

William: Pardon me -- I don't know who you are. Why are you here?

SE: My name is Somebody Else and I am here to interview you for an exclusive article!

Kate: Oh my God, call security. Press the button, do it now.

William: I just pressed it, no worries. Look here, piss off you pathetic Yank.

SE: Can I have your autographs?

Kate: Stay back! Keep him away from me!

William: Love, let's be calm. He's obviously just a harmless idiot.

Kate: How long until security gets here? And how the bloody hell did he manage to get in?

William: Give them just a minute, they'll be here.

SE: So, let's begin the interview! First question--

William: Like I said, piss off.

Kate: I want him arrested!

SE: Kate, you're not smiling like you do in those glossy magazine photos. Am I seeing another side to you?

Right after I said that, a bunch of royal bodyguard thugs came thundering into the room and I was thrown to the floor and had my arms pulled behind my back and bound with handcuffs. I ended up bruised and sore and my suit was ripped in the back. Then, they took me to some dark detention room and a bunch of police officials came in and grilled me for a few hours. They wanted to make sure that I wasn't an Islamic terrorist or something, I suppose.

When they discovered my true motive for crashing the royal wedding reception party, they kind of eased up on me a bit, and there was even some joking around. One of the policemen pulled up Somebody's Webpage on his computer and read one of Thurston Thornton's articles, then remarked that the queen might enjoy some of his material.

Finally, after two days I was released, and was told that William had thought my story was kind of funny -- although Kate apparently didn't see any humor in it -- and for that reason had decided not to press charges against me. The British government, however, was not amused, and I now have a lifetime ban on travelling to the United Kingdom.

I must admit that I did not deliver the goods for you this time, but hey, you can't say that I didn't try. I feel like I've learned some kind of important life lesson from the whole experience, although right now I can't say what exactly it might be. But whatever it is, I'm sure that I'm an infinitely wiser man because of it.

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