Student Experiences British History


Photo courtesy of Leslie Millard

May Unions – Royal Wedding

Jolie Monroe

Coverage of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was everywhere weeks before it took place. U.S. magazines, television shows and newscasts covered every detail of the important day. While coverage seemed to be at a maximum here, wedding news and memorabilia were even more abundant in London. Merchandise was sold throughout the city. Some hung banners in front of their houses. People from all over traveled to London to watch the day’s events unfold. 

Leslie Millard, senior in marketing, is currently studying abroad in London. Not only is Millard able to enjoy London for the semester, but she also got to be present for one of the country’s most exciting moments. Millard made a point of being outside  key locations associated with the wedding, because she wanted to be present for Prince William and Middleton’s historic union.

While some dedicated people spent the night in the streets of London to get a good viewing spot, others arrived early in the morning. Millard and friends woke up 4 a.m. in order to reach the city by 5 a.m. Since they got there before many other spectators, they didn’t have a problem finding a spot from which to view the royals.

“We had the perfect spot on The Mall. We were right across the street from Clarence House, where William came from,” said Millard.

Around 10:10 a.m., William left the house, After his departure, Millard was able to see the the queen and the bride as they passed. While a select group of people were allowed inside Westminster Abbey, Millard was one of the lucky few who were able to see a bit more.

“We were right behind the BBC News crew, which had a flat screen TV showing the wedding from inside the Abbey, and we could hear everything on huge speakers,” Millard said.

“Afterwards, we saw everyone returning from the wedding and fought our way down The Mall to see [Kate and William’s] kiss. We made it all the way to the steps of the fountain right in front of the gates to Buckingham Palace,” Millard said.

While one might expect the scene to be chaotic, it was orderly and friendly, Millard said. There were also security and policemen guarding the area. Millard and her friends were required to walk through metal detectors, but didn’t have much trouble getting to good viewing spots.

As an American watching British history being made, Millard said she “didn’t even think about being American.

“There was such a sense of British pride, and I was singing and clapping right along with them,” she added.

Along with the pride came celebration. Some of the celebrators sported interesting outfits.

“There were a lot of people, men and women, in wedding dresses. Everyone wanted to be Kate, no matter gender, age or nationality,” Millard said.

While a wedding of this size has multiple defining moments, Millard said hers was “chanting with the huge crowd of people in from of the palace, [screaming] ‘Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!’ and seeing the unprecedented two kisses.”

The wedding brought together millions of people, in person and through the television, to watch the event unfold. With perfect timing, Millard was able to witness the experience of a lifetime.