Post by flossieskid on Sept 9, 2022 5:47:16 GMT -5
I feel very blessed that I have had so many opportunities to meet movie stars, character actors, writers, producers, singers and many other talented people in the entertainment industry. While not to seem unfazed by such luck, I acknowledge that there was one such encounter with a celebrity that surpassed them all!
During our first vacation to the United Kingdom in the summer of 1976, we left Victoria Station, by bus, to drive up through England and Scotland. While enjoying the lush countryside, we were also overwhelmed by the beautiful manors where we stopped for tea each day at 4pm. We had a great tour guide and terrific bus driver who made such good time, our guide said they were going to take us to a "surprise destination" where they think we will enjoy the chance to take a very special photograph. Within a short period of time, we pulled up to THE most gorgeous metal, ornate gates and we could not even see anything behind them.
We were told we could get out and stretch our legs. There were only 20 of us on the bus and we slowly departed our seats and began walking toward these incredible gates. That is when our tour guide told us that behind those gates was Queen Elizabeth's summer estate: Balmoral Castle. Needless to say, all of us were thrilled! As we started to move closer to take our photos, we heard our guide yell very loudly and quickly 2 or 3 times: "Move away from the gates to the side of the road." My husband and I moved to the left side of the gates and so did about 5 other people. The rest of the bus passengers moved to the right side of the gates. We all assumed a delivery truck was either coming or going so we were a bit frustrated that we had to wait to take the special photo.
Then, the gates slowly opened and a large black car began to appear and started to turn directly in front of my husband and me. It dawned on us that this was no service truck since the car with the big windows looked VERY familial. Then I peered directly into the car and saw two people who were sitting in the back. I nearly stopped breathing! There she was: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip! She was wearing an lovely pastel yellow blouse or suit and a beautiful matching hat. Who knows what the heck Prince Philip had on - I was not diverting my gaze for a nano-second! I assumed when her driver sees "her subjects" in the road, he knows to slow down so the Queen could smile, acknowledge them and then give the world-renowned "WAVE"! Sadly, the Queen had no way of knowing that these people were descendants of the British deserters who left the realm to start a new life with new freedoms in a place that was NOT England!! Perhaps if she knew, do you think she would have told her driver to speed up?!? I doubt it, she just seems too regal. I digress...
Now, I have been in the presence of many celebrities that might cause palpitations to their fans. I use to think I was "controlled" and would handle a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with someone of this exalted caliber with profound dignity and grace. So, imagine my surprise when I realized I was fan-girling like a participant at a free Beyonce and Jay Z concert - or a Garth Brooks sing along for 60,000 people! I looked at my right hand and I was waving like I was leaving planet Earth and wanted to make sure I said a "very heartfelt goodbye" to anyone I ever met in my life!!
Since our side of the road only had about 7 people, I thought "DRAT! She will look over where most of the people are - on Prince Philip's side." But, in a flash, she turned toward us and I SWEAR there is not a doubt in my mind that our eyes locked for a few seconds. I would recognize that welcoming smile anywhere! Of course, I was the only redhead in the group and perhaps my pronounced wave looked like I was having a stroke and she mistook my smile for palsy! Heck - I didn't care - she actually LOOKED at me! My husband is 6'2" so he could not see into the car as well as I could, but I thought I would throw him a bone and I assured him - "Oh that smile was for the BOTH of us!" Is it wrong that I KNEW that was a lie?!?! I thought perhaps I was afforded a focused look by her Majesty because I have red hair and maybe, because of my gyrations, they thought I might be a "plant" from the dangerous IRA group that operated out of Northern Ireland!
But, then in a flash the car was gone. Our tour guide shared with us that the Queen and Prince Philip always went to the church down the road on Sunday when they stayed at Balmoral throughout the month of August. But, they don't always depart at the same time. She and our driver were hoping we might catch a glimpse of them leaving the castle but didn't want to get our hopes up. Didn't want to get our hopes up?? How about giving us a heads-up so we could all dig into our fanny packs (yes those were still popular in the '70's!) and pull out our actual cameras and capture this once in a lifetime event? NONE of us had our cameras at the ready because we all thought we were just going to take a photo of some massive gates. NO PICTURES - NONE, ZIP, NADA OF THIS AMAZING ENCOUNTER!! We all walked back to the bus, rather dejected, lamenting that we weren't able to get a snapshot of Queen Elizabeth and her Prince. Believe it or not, most people didn't even take a photograph of the dang gates!!
So, when I learned of Queen Elizabeth's passing, I went right back to that short but VERY impactful encounter with the most famous woman in the entire world. What she accomplished during her 70 year reign will live on throughout eternity. There are, simply, not enough adjectives that would accurately describe the amazing queen, daughter , sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother she was to her large extended family. She set the bar far too high with her leadership, work ethic, humor and an unwavering dedication to all her subjects. It will never be matched.
Just because I wasn't able to take a photo of this beautiful Monarch, all I have to do is Google her and I would probably see millions of photographs of this phenomenal woman. But, none of them will be more touching to me than my own memory of her glorious smile, looking directly at me, during that incredible August day in the summer of 1976. How lucky am I? But just think, how many billions and billions of people, all over the world, throughout her long life of service who saw Queen Elizabeth, over the decades of her reign, and who have their own special moment with Queen Elizabeth. I am sure that her smile will live in their memory forever.
Post by patriciaanne on Sept 9, 2022 6:27:05 GMT -5
What a great story! The closest I came to the Queen was when I brought my parents to Ireland for their 50th anniversary 10 years ago. We spent the day in Northern Ireland in the town where my grandmother grew up. We heard that the Queen was in the area very close -- perhaps only a mile or two away. I was worried about getting caught up in traffic, so we went in the opposite direction. And that's probably the closest I ever came to her.