I grew up with Kate Middleton, Mamamia // 20 April 2011
My piece on today’s Mamamia…
It’s just your average little village in your average country valley in your average chunk of English commuter belt. It’s got a butcher, a pub, a surgery, a council estate, a load of twee cottages and a beautiful tree-lined avenue called, um, The Avenue. Oh, and it happens to count a future princess as a resident.
Welcome to Chapel Row, Bucklebury. My family home until precisely seven months before the royal engagement was announced. Ouch – how’s that for timing, no sooner had my parents bubble-wrapped the last Beatrix Potter figurine, when house prices started nudging up as a national, no, a global spotlight turned onto little old Bucklebury. To add insult to injury, the Daily Mail chose to run a feature about property in the area using OUR cottage above all others as a shining example of what’s on the market, with none other than Kate and Carole, all smiles, superimposed onto our front lawn! Oh the unwelcome muddle of pride and pain!
We walked past her – always perky and pretty – on muddy lanes in our wellies. We sat next to her after she bustled into the Remembrance Day church service a full five minutes late (tut, tut). We queued behind her as she paid for for milk at the supermarket: it may not sound like it, but the truth is we got used to seeing our famous Kate around. But when Will came to visit – that’s when tongue-wagging went stellar and village knees went all a-quiver. I remember my mum breathlessly rushing in from the post office and, barely able to get the words out, telling me how she’d JUST. SEEN. PRINCE. WILLIAM.
But just because we’re no longer in prime situ doesn’t mean we aren’t as wrapped up in wedding day hysteria as the next kind-of-once-sort-of-knew-Kate-a-bit-ish family. Oh, no. Thanks to the all-encompassing gossip network that pervades Berkshire countryside like an overzealous boxing day fox hunt, yes, even in Sydney, I am exposed to fallout from The Wedding Guestlist. And the stories of my ex-neighbours knock the socks off my claim to fame.
Half the village will be inside Westminster Cathedral on the 29th. I happen to know that in addition to Ryan the postman (undisputed heavyweight king of Bucklebury gossip), Martin the butcher and Hash the Spar shop proprietor, a host of other highly reputable local service delivery agents and family friends are all invited to THE big day. From stories of frantic dieting to frenzied frock buying, the local grapevine, it’s fair to say, is going into meltdown.
Ryan and co. – who get to see the Queen, witness “I do” and sing along to the hymns for heaven’s sakes! – leave us mere mortals to get our wedding fix via TV and twitter, along with the rest of the predicted 3 billion global congregation. Gulp, that’s going to be a long walk up the aisle for our Kate.
Lucky invitees will dine out on the juices of the matrimonial experience forever more.
So, my miniscule smidgen of a connection with future Princesses aside, what are your brushes with celebrity?
Calling all claims to fame – did you share a slurpee with Kylie, have you danced the conga with a President, is your yearbook signed by a future Spicegirl? Hell, are YOU also invited to the wedding of the decade?