I think one of the biggest reasons I was offered a job at Australian’s Women’s Weekly was the fact that I’ve met an actual member of the Royal family.
They’re pretty fond of the royals at the Weekly office and although I was fairly ambivalent about them four weeks ago, my luke-warmth is getting warmer.
As I create galleries of corgis and look through old family photos of Lizzie and Phil I started to see their appeal. Maybe I’ll even get a waving Queen for my desk at home soon.
When I casually mentioned that I’d met and chatted to a member of the Royal family it was like I’d dropped a bomb. Little heads popped up all over the office like a pack of meer cats.
“What did she say?” I heard rippled through the office as a wave of excitement whooshed through leaving my hair all static.
“I met Prince Harry,” I said, “My friend even kissed him.”
“OH. MY. GOD. TELL US!!!!!!!”
There was a time in my life, about 10 or so years ago, where I use to travel out to the middle of nowhere NSW to Kerry Packer’s polo ranch, Ellerston. I would tend the bar at Ellerston for the duration of polo season. I did it a couple of times and it was pretty crazy fun with some truly awesome people, some of whom I’m still friends with today.
The longest stint I did was 6 weeks. The little village of 20 swelled to a couple of hundred for this period and all of these seasonal hospitality workers, horsey types and the filthy stinking rich would descend on the ranch and turn it into a bustling hive of horses, alcohol, and ridiculous wealth.
And one time there was a Prince.
He was a cheeky young pup named Harry, and he was fairly ordinary aside from minders constantly at his side.
They carried his cigarettes and lip balm in a bumbag so he needn’t fill his pockets with extraneous belongings and they accompanied him to the bathroom. I’m assuming they just watched his back while he was in a vulnerable position as opposed to actually performed any Royal wiping duties or anything.
Mostly, Harry was just one of the gang. He mixed with the plebs, he chatted to everyone and he was really just one of the guys.
Everything about Ellerston was kind of surreal.
There was no segregation between the filthy stinking rich and the normal people. Everyone was in the middle of nowhere together and it was like a festival vibe…. unless you were a groom. They were considered to be fairly low down the ranks, but not all of them. There were three girl grooms who bucked that tribal order and kicked it where ever they wanted.
The first time I went I worked as little as possible with the intention of writing a script during my quiet days surrounded by sprawling mountains. I got about 1/3 of the way through a dog of a script and then got very distracted by the real life Jilly Cooper novel I was living in.
We all used to get paid very well, and there was nothing to spend the money on so when the season finished people would pack up and go on holidays or back to real life with a wedge of cash that smelled like Kerry Packer’s vault. That is not a euphemism, FYI.
I did a couple of seasons, and a couple of corporate weekends where the ACP team would travel out there and I’d be the face they saw at the beginning and the end of the day.
Anyway, back to the little Prince.
I would be fairly safe in saying that he wouldn’t remember l’il ol’ me, but he did take a quite shine to my friend, even sneaking in a couple of sneaky pashes. She never told anyone, because she’s classy, but the Women’s Weekly team were afire with that news and wanted the juice.
Did I give it to them?
I’d kind of forgotten the story, to be honest, but for the rest of the afternoon when I caught the Queen smiling at me, I gave her a little knowing smile back.
Her grandson is a cheeky chappy.
Tell me, have you met someone that would send a ripple through the office?
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