I had gotten the impression from news stories I read that there were dozens of people camped out for weeks, waiting for the big day. But really, the campers were just a small group of die-hard anglophiles. There were however, dozens of reporters. The press crowd was massive. Cameras everywhere, and from every direction I could see and hear live interviews being done, in so many different languages.
When I had been there about 20 minutes, I wasn't sure what was left to do. It was fun to just watch people, and listen to the random chants of "Hip-hip Hooray" the die-hards were doing for the TV cameras. Then the door opened to the Lindo Wing and the unofficial town crier came out, ringing his bell. In an instant, everyone was gathered around him and it went silent while he read the decree.
"Oh Ye! Oh Ye! Oh Ye!
On this day, the 2 of May, the year 2015
We welcome with humble duty
the second born of their Royal Highnesses
the Duke of Duchess of Cambridge.
The princess is fourth in line to the throne.
May our princess be long lived, happy, and glorious."
To be honest, I couldn't really understand what he was saying. He read it several times and the reporters went wild with their interviews and the crowd chanted "Princess! Princess!" I stood there, totally surrounded by strangers and it just felt BIG. When I realized that he was announcing the birth of the baby, my heart started to race and I got really emotional. I'm not sure how to account for such a visceral response. I think it was in part due to the fact that I respect Prince William and Kate as a couple, and as individuals. I think it also had to do with my own tender memories of giving birth, and somehow that made me feel connected to Kate, who in nearly all other circumstances I have nothing in common with. But mostly I think it was just a feeling of pure joy and excitement that was coming from the hearts of all the people around me. The British public seem to adore their royal family, and it was contagious.
After the crowd dispersed I asked a woman standing nearby what the fancy man actually said, and we chatted for a minute about the excitement of it all, and how nice it is to enjoy some happy news for a bit.
On my way out of the mania I just happened to come across Tony Appleton, the fancy man, doing an interview. He was so elated and emotional himself, I found it completely endearing. He talked about doing this for the birth of Prince George and how much it meant to him to have the honor.
I am not a fan of celebrity worship or name-dropping. I genuinely believe that the remarkable people in my life are just as valuable as the famous people that live in the public eye. And to be fair, the announcement I saw came over two hours after the baby was actually born, and I wasn't there when the family made their brief public appearance to the crowd. But I still felt like a small part of history that day and I can't believe how lucky I was with my timing. The whole experience had me smiling all day.
God save the Queen!