I’ve been fortunate to travel to England dozens of times and have had some remarkable experiences. One of them was meeting Prince Charles in 2010. I was having dinner with a couple of Marriott’s PR reps at the famed JW Grosvenor House, which had recently become a Marriott hotel and I attended the hotel’s 80th birthday. So I got to know the GM, Anthony Stewart-Moore, as well.

Anthony is a real character and has the best stories, especially since he used to run one of Washington DC’s most famous hotels. He walked by us so we invited him to join us. While we were eating and listening to his outrageous stories, he got a call saying that he needed to greet Prince Charles and Camilla at the front of the hotel when they arrived for the Pride of Britain Awards.

He left and came back a few minutes later saying the Prince was running late. When the call came again, I said, “You have to let me go with you to take a photo.” He said, “No problem, I just need to ask the Prince’s security team.” Shockingly, they agreed and positioned me right in front of the paparazzi and fans who were all lined up behind barricades.

It was November 9 and freezing outside so I was kicking myself for not bringing my coat, and even more for not bringing my big Nikon camera, which I always carry. But since I was going to a fancy party after dinner, I didn’t want to be lumbered with it so I just had my Blackberry (remember, it was 2010). Just about the moment I realized I couldn’t feel my fingers (after about 20 minutes), I see the police escort and the Prince’s car approach. I snapped the shot above of Tony greeting them.

Prince Charles then walked right towards me. I didn’t know what to do so I just thrust forward my hand. He looked at it for a second (it was awkward) and I started thinking I had just made a huge faux pas. But then he shook my hand and asked me something and then we both joked about the scene. I don’t even remember what I said but whatever it was must have been good because the paparazzi later asked me what I had said to make him laugh. I walked away thinking, Prince Charles has a bad rap because he’s not stuffy or dry at all. In my short encounter I could tell he was warm with a great sense of humor. 

The following day I spotted the back of my head in the papers but I can’t find the photo of us shaking hands and talking. I know it’s out there since thousands, and I mean thousands, of flashes were going off during our handshake.

The Duchess of Cambridge names Royal Princess

A few years later, I attended a spectacular ceremony in Southampton, England with her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. She named the new ship Royal Princess when she released a bottle of champagne that smashed against its hull. Afterwards, she was touring the ship and standing right next to me. I didn’t even realize it until it was too late but I learned my lesson not to introduce myself to royalty.

Sadly, I never got to meet Queen Elizabeth, but I have seen her motorcade multiple times and watched her takeoff in her helicopter a few years ago. Photos above and below. May she rest in peace.

6 Comments On "The Time I Met Prince Charles, Princess Kate and Watched Queen Elizabeth Takeoff"
  1. Carl W Muller|

    Per your meeting the prince. We were in Borough’s market one Sat morning, it was busy people trying samples when I noticed something strange. I said to my partner look around, lot of guys all dress the same (leather jackets) in the crowd. Then in front of us we saw Charles and Camilla speaking to the farmer who was selling his fruits and pies. They were almost midgets, both short but nice, he turned around and smiled to the people around them. They moved on to the next table, all the leather jackets moved with them, obviously security. We though how low key it was compared to US security. Very cool though.

  2. Scott Peterson|

    Its interesting the different definitions of met. I was in a crowd of 300,000 people to see Prince Williams in Christchurch NZ after the 2011 earthquake. I considered that “meeting” him. While working during Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey, I met a woman and mistook her English accent as Kiwi. After that faux pas, I mentioned that I “met” Prince William she asked all about him, stating that Prince William was the only Royal that she never met. After telling her about Prince William, I asked about the Royals she had met. Turns out that her definition of “met” included staying at the Queen and Prince Charles homes multiple times and having a private meals with the family, etc. Turns out her husband was killed in the 9/11 attacks and she was the British ex-pat representative for the Queen. She said every Royal was down to earth and extremely nice.

  3. Jane|

    Carl Muller seemed surprised to see how short Charles and Camilla are. Queen Elizabeth was quite short. I never realized how short she was until on a tour of Windsor Castle, I viewed an exhibit of her clothing through the decades. The dresses were beautiful, but obviously made for a very petite woman. I just found that kind of ironic because her presence in the world was large.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I don’t remember thinking he was short.

  4. Dan Nainan|

    King Charles is 5’10” tall.

  5. Dan Nainan|

    What a wonderful story that you got to shake his hand and that you made him laugh!!! Truly a great memory, and thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *