The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

May 2, 2011

'Fairy tale come to life'

Herald-Banner Staff

— It’s been three days since Prince William and Kate Middleton were married and the electricity from the event is still running high in London, says a former county titleholder living and working there.

“It is unilke anything I have ever experienced,”  said Miss Hunt County 2001 Brooke Hamilton in a Sunday telephone interview from her London apartment. “It is magical. It is a fairy tale come to life.”

Hamilton — who works for the public relations department of the United Kingdom office of Rackspace, an IT hosting company — added that the excitement started late last year when the couple announced their engagement.

The groundswell started to grow about two weeks ago as England placed flags and planted flowers throughout the city in anticipation of the thousands upon thousands of visitors coming for the royal wedding; either as invited guests or those lining the streets by Buckingham Palace and Westminister Abbey.

The night before the wedding, Hamilton — who lives 15 inutes from the Abbey — agreed to a friend’s suggestion to take a walk to the church and the palace. Apparently, they were not the only ones with that idea.

“You couldn’t imagine the amount of people already lining the streets,” Hamilton said, noting the numbers willing to sleep on the streets just to catching a glimpse of the royal family or of Middleton and her family. The people had donned cardboard masks of the couple and the royal family or carrying Union Jack flags bearing the official photo of the couple in the middle.

“I almost wanted to camp out myself,” Hamilton said.

On the morning of the wedding, Hamilton met another friend for a champagne breakfast that included a toast to the soon-to-be Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. That was followed by another walk around the area.

There were people again with the masks, but Hamilton also noticed others in costume and some carrying signs with messages to the couple — and even to the wedding party. A young woman showed a sign saying “We’re next, Harry!”, according to the former county titleholder.

However, Hamilton and her friend could only get as close as a block from the Abbey. Hamilton said the unofficial estimate had the crowd number at 550,000 surrounding the church and the palace, making the audience comparable to the January 2009 inauguaration of President Barack Obama in Washington.

The two were able to watch a live telecast of the wedding from Trafalgar Square and, after the wedding, continued the celebration with a horsedrawn carriage ride through London.

“It was magical. I don’t think there is a better word,” Hamilton said. “Everyone was just happy. The whole day was filled with joy.”

Hamilton did admit to getting caught up in the enthusiasm as she did purchase a t-shirt proclaiming “I (heart) London.”  She added the most popular souvenirs of the occasion were the masks and the flags, athough coffee mugs,l inens and other items bearing the couple’s names or likeness could be purchased.

She estimates that the United Kingdom businesses made “millions and millions and millions” from the wedding.

When Hamilton arrived back at her apartment, she hosted a small party for her friends to cap the day’s activities. The main course for the dinner was barbecue beef.

“I had to have a little touch of Texas to celebrate,” said Hamilton, who has lived and worked in London for two years after moving from her home in North Richland Hills to fulfill a longtime wish to live in a foreign country. She added that she still carries some of her Texas twang, but her co-workers and people she meets don’t seem to mind.

“The people here have been so nice,” she said. “London is becoming more like home.”

As a transplanted Texan, Hamilton said it is not difficult to see the love the British have for their monarchy.

“The queen and her family are so beloved,” she added. “(The British) also have a soft spot for William and Harry, who were so young when they lost their mother. You could see that love come alive for the princes and the royal family during the wedding. And the people are starting to fall in love with Kate.”

Hamilton said the wedding has started her thinking about her own nuptials — whenever that date happens. However, there is one aspect that will not be included.

“I don’t know if I want three billion people watching,” she added, laughing.