When Harry (& Meghan) Met Margaret
My Mum sent me an email on June 19th with the subject “All the best people are coming to Dublin next month.” I emailed her back immediately saying “Who? What other best people are going to be in Dublin next month apart from ME?” She replied “Harry and Meghan!! Kensington Palace just announced they are going to be in Dublin on July 10th and 11th.” I think I decided there and then that if at all possible, I was going to meet Harry and Meghan when all three of us were in Dublin.
The official announcement of their visit said: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit Dublin, Ireland on 10th and 11th July. The visit is at the request of Her Majesty’s Government." They are looking forward to learning more about Ireland's history and experiencing its rich culture, as well as meeting the people who are shaping the country's future.”
The news in the days coming up to their visit said where were going to visit: meeting Ireland’s Prime Minster, meeting our President, a Garden Party at the British Ambassador’s residence, Trinity College, Book of Kells etc etc. But no specific times due to security concerns. It was only when I got out of bed on Wednesday July 11th that specific times were available thanks to these tweets from the British Embassy….”Where to get a glimpse of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex today: @tcddublin Their Royal Highnesses will be at Trinity College late morning. Access is from Nassau Street entrance at 10am. They will then be at EPIC - the Irish Emigration Museum. Access will begin there at 12.00 noon. You may be waiting some time so bring water and sunscreen/wet weather clothing. Gardaí advise that there will be security checks and that people should come with minimal personal items to ensure ease of access.” I decided Trinity College and the Book of Kells would be super-crowded and so EPIC - the Irish Emigration Museum was the best location.
I arrived at EPIC a little before noon and was maybe the 12th person in line for the security checks. When I showed the policewoman my NYC driver’s license she remarked “Don’t tell me you came all the way from New York to see Harry & Meghan.” I told her I hadn’t, that it was just a happy coincidence we were all in Dublin at the same time. I then asked her if she knew when they would be arriving at EPIC. She said “We’re hearing 2:30PM, they’ll go inside EPIC until 4PM, come back outside at 4PM and meet/shake-hands with the crowds for 30 mins and then leave for the airport for their 5PM flight back to London.” For a split second I thought, “Am I really going to wait 4+ hours to see them?” As I don’t understand people who queue hours for new iPhones or Black Friday sales. But then my next thought was “I’m on my hols, I’ve got nothing else to do and nowhere else to be – I can wait 4 hours to see my Royal BFFs”
Now wearing my super-snazzy been-checked-by-security gold wrist-band, I pick my spot behind the barricades and wait for H&M. The four hours passed in a flash. Lots of Royal talk with my neighbors to my left and my right, who I swapped email address with and we sent each other our photos afterwards. The people watching was fab. Some people had brought an England flag and flowers for Meghan. Two little old ladies had brought fold-out chairs and a picnic basket complete with little sandwiches, scones and a flask of tea. They were clearly pros in the Royal-Watching Bizz.
At 2:30PM Harry and Meghan arrived at EPIC. A huge cheer erupted from the crowd as they walked into the entrance of EPIC. They spend 10+ minutes meeting the various dignitaries before disappearing inside. Lots more chatter ensued about how tiny and petite Meghan is, and how handsome Harry looks. And before we knew it, they were coming back out of EPIC at 4PM to more huge cheers and heading towards us. When Harry got to me, I shook his hand and said “Best of luck tonight against Croatia.” (England were playing Croatia in the World Cup that night.) He broke into a huge grin and said “Thank you so much. Should be a great match.” When Meghan got to me, I shook her hand and said that I hope she’d enjoyed her brief visit to Dublin. She replied “We have. It’s been wonderful. Everyone we’ve met has been so so nice.” After they moved on to the next people, I took LOTS more photos, including selfies with them in the background and then they were off to the airport for their private jet flight back to London and the soccer.
When I got home my Mum said “Well how was it? How were they?” I replied “It was amazing, they were lovely and I got to chat with them and meet them, and shake their hands. But I’ve had a very quick return to reality. For this right hand that shook Harry and Meghan’s hands an hour ago just took in your empty bins from the driveway. So much for never washing my hand again!!!!”