Prince William and Kate Middleton In Canada

July 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm (Commentary, News) (, , , , , , , , , )

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings- nor lose the common touch,
…. Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more— you’ll be a Man, my son.

-If a poem written in 1910 by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Watching Prince William and Kate Middleton’s visit to Canada these past few days reminds me of these lines from Rudyard Kipling’s poem If.

Frankly, Prince William and Kate Middleton are absolutely an amazing couple.

And that has certainly come across in the time they’ve spent in Canada.

They’ve thoroughly charmed Canadians- including French-Canadians in the province of Quebec who (according to the news media anyway) are supposed to be staunchly anti-royal and anti-monarchist.

There were a minority of Quebec separatists who booed the couple in both Montreal and Quebec City but they were drowned out by the cheers of the friendly crowds.

The reason for their affection with everyday Canadians?

They are indeed a regal couple but ones who keep the common touch.

There is nothing stiff or formal about them.

They are genuinely affectionate and actually spend time talking to people and even more importantly listening to people.

Watching the interviews of Canadians on TV who have just met the Royal couple, that is the same theme over and over again.

“Prince William actually genuinely laughed at the joke I told him…”

“Kate asked me where I got the flowers I gave her…”

And it is not just one or two… or even dozens… it’s hundreds of people who say this.

Trying to keep Will and Kate to a fixed schedule has become a nightmare for Canadian organizers.

As they spend time and more time talking and walking among the crowds trying to engage in interaction with as many people as they can.

Watching all these scenes on the Canadian news, I came to the conclusion that Prince William and Kate Middleton are indeed a special couple.

But what solidified it for me was the announcement on the news tonight that Prince William and Kate Middleton will be making an unscheduled stop tomorrow morning in the town of Slave Lake, Alberta which was destroyed by fire this past May 16th and has now been called the second most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history.

According to the officials, Prince William and Kate Middleton have been allotted a full hour to talk to town residents who will be bussed in for the event- most of whose homes were destroyed by fire.

I have the feeling that hour will stretch way way past 60 minutes when the meeting does take place.

Kate Middleton seems she was born for this role. She is truly a princess in the most special sense of that word.

Prince William of course was born to the role of being a prince.

But not all who are born princes rise to the challenge.

Of which the most pre-eminent example is William’s own father Charles, Prince of Wales who had an ongoing multi-year extra-marital affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles all the time he was supposed to be ostensibly married to William’s own mother Princess Diana.

Of course Princess Diana was a very people-oriented person and no doubt William has inherited that from his mother.

I remember a story told me by a woman who remembered seeing Prince Charles and Princess Diana when they visited Edmonton, Alberta, Canada back in the early 1980s.

I’d never heard this story anywhere else. The woman said it wasn’t mentioned in the media covering the event.

She said Princess Diana was walking the streets and she said quite naturally she was looking at Princess Diana’s outfit.

And she said Diana was wearing the most beautiful looking shoes.

They were a very expensive pair of shoes too she judged by looking at them.

Anyhow Diana was talking to members of the crowd and she (the woman telling me the story) noticed the handlers were awfully anxious for Diana to get back in the car.

Finally one of the handlers motioned for Diana to get back in the car.

It was at that moment the woman narrator of the story noticed a little girl in a wheelchair way on the other side of the street who was holding some roses and looking very disappointed that she wasn’t going to meet Diana.

The narrator also noticed that there was a huge puddle in front of the girl in the wheelchair and because of the huge crowds standing around the only way Diana would be able to get to the girl to take the flowers would be to walk straight through that puddle to get to her.

Straight through that puddle in those beautiful shoes.

Those exquisite shoes.

Those expensive shoes.

The handler was doing Diana a favour by motioning for her to get back in the car.

It would save her lovely shoes from getting wrecked.

But just as Diana was about to enter the car, she just happened to look in the direction of the girl in the wheelchair.

The woman narrator of the story said from her vantage point, she could see both Diana’s face and that of the little girl.

She could tell from the expression on Diana’s face that Diana had not only noticed the little girl in the wheelchair but had noticed the puddle directly in front of the little girl as well.

She noticed Diana looking down at her shoes and as a fellow woman she said to me, she knew exactly what thoughts must have been going through Diana’s mind at that moment.

But then she noticed a firm look of determination suddenly appear on Diana’s face.

She walked away from the car much to the discomfort of all the handlers present and motioned them aside.

With full determination, she walked straight to the little girl in the wheelchair.

She walked straight through that puddle the woman narrator told me without even batting an eyelash.

She graciously accepted the little girl’s flowers and even spent a number of minutes in conversation with her much to the thrill and joyful expression of the little girl in the wheelchair.

And then just as determinedly Diana walked back through the puddle in her beautiful exquisite and expensive shoes holding the little girl’s flowers and then giving one last wave to the crowd before entering the car.

“That one action,” the woman narrator told me, “spoke volumes about the kind of character that Princess Diana had. And hers was definitely a character worth having.”

Indeed.

And it appears that Diana’s own son Prince William has the exact same sort of character.

And so does Diana’s own daughter-in-law Kate Middleton- whom she never lived to meet.

Princess Diana would be so proud if she were alive today.

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