I debated whether or not to write about this topic but the more I thought about it the more I saw how my, if I’m being honest, obsession with Prince William has really played a part in my life, and subsequently my travels. And if there ever was a time to do it, today’s the day for it is Prince William’s 30th birthday.
I first became aware of the Prince through the media (Tiger Beat, Bop, YM). It was probably around the time I realized that all New Kids on the Block members (or one in particular – love you, Joey!), were way too old for me that I turned my tween crushing ways towards the age-appropriate Prince. And it stuck.
In high school, a friend and I had come up with names related to our future husbands; she became Nicole Joel (Billy Joel) and I, Lady Lindsay Windsor (Wills is of the House of Windsor). When it was time to create my first ever email account, Prince William played a role having granted me Ladyship. And today the name of this blog stems from that. Travel Lady Lindsay isn’t just meant to be read as ‘the travel lady’ like ‘the car guy,’ but also as Lady Lindsay who’s writing about travel.
Tongue-in-cheekily, he followed me to college via a poster. Then Kate stepped onto the scene. My first thought when news of a serious girlfriend hit the tabloids was that I should have sucked it up and gone to the University of Edinburgh for my undergraduate degree. We could have met with him planning to attend St. Andrews…three years later.
Later he showed up in a rhyme I wrote to commemorate my acceptance to the London School of Economics, as surely this was the time fate had meant for us to finally meet. Though rarely serious in my references to him, deep down a little part of me believed in the fairytale.
Over the years, I’m sure William added to my growing Anglophilia, had even been a catalyst. I traveled to a small number of (totally non-stalkerish) Prince William destinations, ones that I would have visited regardless (St. James’s Palace, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Holyrood Palace). The years of crushing just adding that extra dash of fantasy.
Only two destinations have been more William-specific.While visiting Windsor Castle over spring break in high school, I wandered over to Eton College, where the Prince studied at the time. Alas, few students were at the school as it was Easter holiday. But just knowing I was walking in the same halls as he did provoked a voice in me to whisper, “what if?”
And with no proposal made yet, I thought I’d give the dream one last go by planning to visit St. Andrews as part of a post-“I just turned in my Master’s thesis and want to get outta here!” trip. In the end, time didn’t allow for the stop. I soothed myself with the fact that he had graduated two months prior and was unlikely to be in town anyways.
Timing was never on our side, and six years later it was time to truly say goodbye. The wedding day drew nearer and all I could think was:
The big day arrived. A friend and I baked pasties, and donned whatever hats we owned while I drank (too many) English porters as Kate walked down the aisle towards my greatest childhood dream. Apparently, I made many others aware of this dream over the years judging by the Facebook messages, texts, and emails I received between the engagement announcement and the wedding expressing condolences.
Watching was bittersweet for me. It was hard to say goodbye to someone – something – that had been a part of my life almost every single day (recall the email address) and to say goodbye to the naïve notion that, as this fellow William-crusher wrote, “simply having strong feelings is enough to give you a chance with a total stranger. Once you’re older and realize how silly that idea is, there’s no way to return to that innocence.” A huge and probably long overdue chapter of my life closed. And all he left me with was a title.
I now associate my Ladyship status with my Anglophilia. I even looked into those ‘buy a piece of Scottish land to help preserve an old castle’ schemes in order to make the title official just for kicks. It has become such a part of my identity. It has also helped to shape my professional brand in that I can’t imagine not using it creatively in one form or another e.g. its appearance in this blog’s name.
For this, I thank you, Prince William. Happy Birthday and Welcome to the Dirty Thirties!
P.S. And wouldn’t you know it! A year after William and Kate wed, my parents – MY PARENTS – shake hands with my former future father- and mother-in-law!