William and Kate: An Insider’s Perspective
Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton visited the Scottish town of St Andrews to launch the University’s 600th anniversary celebrations today.
For the past few days, the sleepy Scottish town has been a hive of activity. Policemen have been standing in ancient doorways, unmarked cars have been crawling slowly around corners, and newscasters have been thrusting cameras and microphones in unsuspecting visitors’ faces.
As a second-year student at the University, I’m used to the media attention our little town manages to attract. The home of golf, we have photographers and camera crew descend whenever there is a tournament. Every student knows someone who has been to a house party with Hugh Grant or Samuel L. Jackson. Every student knows someone who has been interviewed for the BBC or Sky News. But this week has been different.
A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to sign up to a ballot to get tickets to meet Wills and Kate, hear the speeches, and see the unveiling of the anniversary plaque in St Salvator’s Quad. The system was inundated, with over 4000 students and members of staff applying for tickets – and many were left disappointed.
All week we’ve faced disruptions to our lectures and tutorials, with classes being moved to less convenient and less comfortable locations. I’ve heard precious few complaints though – the town has been filled with an air of excitement and anticipation about what was to come.
By day, we’ve felt sorry for the police officers having to stand around in the biting Scottish wind, ensuring nobody enters the Quad. We’ve been annoyed at the news reporters interrupting us on our trips to the library or to class. We’ve laughed and felt awkward at the ‘celebratory’ cupcakes with the couple’s faces on.
By night, we’ve been interrogated as to our whereabouts. “Wandering around at this time? Where are you going? Make sure you stick to the roads.” Of course, we paid no heed. No amount of press/police presence will stop students from partying on the beach.
Today has been something else entirely. We were warned that we’d have trouble getting to classes and would have to show our IDs and convince policemen that we were supposed to be wherever we were trying to get to. But there was none of this – I walked into all my tutorials completely as normal. I’d slept until noon, and woke up to mixed reactions of excitement and disappointment. Some people felt let down by the fleeting visit, others excited merely to have been in the presence of the Royals. But everyone agreed that Kate looked beautiful, if a little thin, and was completely and appropriately gracious and sweet-natured.
And now the film crews are packing up and driving away, the barriers and traffic cones have been removed and cleaners are sweeping up all the litter. I’m sat in the library, and though a little quieter than usual, it seems as if everything has returned to normal already.