A royal welcome
Welcoming William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to Ottawa in July were Allison Hockin, Artsci’09, Colin McLeod, Artsci’09, Alexis Near, NSc’09, Katie Rider, Artsci’09, MPA’10, and Laura Wilson, Artsci’10, MPA’11. The group of friends chose a spot near Rideau Hall to get a sighting of the royal couple on their walkabout.
Colin writes, “We started to realize our good fortune when about 20 photographers stopped right in front of us, in addition to two Rideau Hall guards (the red coated, traditional British guards) stationed just ahead of the photographers. The Governor-General [David Johnston, Law ’61, LLD ’91] and his wife walked up to where the guards were standing (although he missed our sign unfortunately) and waited for the motorcade. At this point, I would guess that the crowd was at least 5-7 people deep and very energetic.
“The long motorcade pulled up, and much to our surprise Prime Minister Harper and his wife exited their vehicle directly in front of us. About 10 metres away, William and Kate exited their vehicle and were greeted by the PM and G-G. They subsequently picked sides of the crowds and started shaking hands about 10 people away from us. Luckily for us, Kate chose our side.
“Kate shook all of our hands, and most of our experiences were fairly similar. All I could muster out was a ‘hello’ and a huge smile in response to Kate saying hello to me. Laura also exchanged hellos and a smile. Allison thinks she didn’t manage to say anything, but had a big smile on her face. Katie was able to say the most while shaking hands, when she said ‘thank you so much for coming!’ As you can tell, we were all a bit starstruck, so words were at a minimum.
“They continued down the crowd, finishing up about 20 metres past us, where they proceeded to walk in the middle of the pathway to Rideau hall. From there, the hundreds of journalists snapped photos and listened to William’s first speech in Canada. In the end, it was a great experience for us and one of those days we will remember for the rest of our lives. It was Allison and Katie’s idea to make the Queen’s sign, as of course we continue to be proud of our Queen’s days and how it is a binding connection for many of us in Ottawa. Although Kate did not make reference to the sign, many in the crowd asked about it, a few journalists snapped photos and we met a few Queen’s grads throughout the day.”
These days, Colin is about to start his MPA at Carleton, Laura is an administrative clerk at Canadian Border Services Agency. Katie is a policy analyst for Natural Resources Canada, Allison is an administrative assistant at Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, and Alexis is a nurse at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.