Part II of SOCIALITE LIFE’s interview with CBS news royal correspondent Victoria Arbiter kicks off with memories of the royal wedding on April 29th, 2011 and a special nod to the late Princess of Wales.
What was the Royal Wedding like? What was it like being in London? What kind of feeling did you get when Kate first stepped out of the car?
VA: It was…It was surreal! It was like an out-of-body experience, I suppose. I moved out to England at the beginning of February and Erica Hill (The Early Show) and I pretty much covered the big event daily for 3 months. Then suddenly, there’s this village in London and it felt like nothing else in the world was happening. We were in this bubble with all these people I looked up to. There’s Piers Morgan walking by and Nancy O’Dell, all these people from every walk of life that have either watched or admired were in the one place at the same time. And so on Royal Wedding Day, it was like we weren’t quite experiencing it because it was suddenly a culmination of 3 months of relentless work.
It was actually quite nice 2 days after the wedding, I was finally able to just sit in my hotel room and watch wedding from beginning to end and I loved the whole way through. I got to enjoy it for what it was as opposed to wondering if our satellite system was down or the fact that I couldn’t hear Katie Couric in my ear piece or what was going to happen next.
There was this one really poignant moment for me, and I think it’s just because my father had worked for Diana and because I experienced time with her and adored her so much. Right when Kate came pass Buckingham Palace in the car and she turned on to the mall (we were told that it would be storming all day, there were grey clouds in the morning, everyone was really worried about it) andsuddenly, right as she turned onto the mall, the sun came out. It’s really hokey and a bit peaky to say it, but to me it was like Diana had just arrived. She wasn’t there, her presence was so missed, and the night before the wedding, it was really sad just thinking about the fact that she was missing it. And so someway ,when the sun came out on the day we were expecting rain and torrential thunderstorms and everything else, that was a really special moment.
(Meanwhile, I’m silently weeping)
I even approached it with a bit of trepidation just saying it because it’s like some people would say, “Oh, vomit!” but it was! It was just, it was just lovely and I know how much Diana adored her boys and I think she would love Kate and she’s everything, I think, she wished for William. And to see it finally come to life, to happen it… You could feel her. You knew she was there and it was a way to inject some happiness and joy back into Westminster Abbey because, of course, the last time we saw William there was his mother’s funeral.
She did such a fantastic job raising those two. You can really see it.
VA: They are gentlemen through and through and they’ve got the very best qualities of both their parents. It’s remarkable how that happened, and how well adjusted they are especially with what they’ve been through. And it’s bizarre, how the photographers catch William at a certain angle and, gosh, he looks just like her. It’s uncanny. In his eyes and everything you can see the compassion, you can see the same empathy that she had. It’s incredible to see that.
What can we expect in the new year with William and Catherine? London has a full plate come 2012 with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. William will be with RAF, and in a few months he’ll be going to the Faulklands. What can we expect to see from William and Kate in terms of royal duties? Will they take on more? Will they step away from the limelight and go up to Scotland?
VA: I’m really hoping that certainly when William goes to the Falklands, we’ll see Kate take on more solo engagements. In the new year, we’re expecting an announcement from Clarence House as to which charities she has chosen to be a patron of. There will be National institutions that she will represent much like Prince Charles and the Opera. We may see her take on a role with Wimbledon; We know she’s a big tennis fan. She’s got a lot of decisions to make in the coming months, but when William goes away it’ll be a great opportunity for her to come into her own and feel confident. Again, it can be done slowly. I love when she filled in for Prince Charles. The fact that it was at Clarence House, it was last minute (which meant there was no press), so she was really given an opportunity to get the first one out of the way without worrying about falling on her face.
And she did a great job.
VA: It was certainly great to see her get busy with that and it’s going to be an incredible busy year for the Royal Family as a whole, but especially with the first tier. The Queen is going to expect members from her family – Charles, Camilla, William, and Harry – to go on various international trips to Commonwealth realms, really as a celebration of the incredible achievement. Queen Victoria is the longest serving Monarch by 64 years and the Queen is 60, so we can well see her break Queen Victoria’s record. And there’s a wonderful passion for the Queen in England. The public adore her. So I think it’s going to be a really positive year. I kind of felt the wedding kicked off what was going to be a spectacular 2 years for the country. And England has needed this. And of course this leads to the Olympics as well. We’re really going to be on the global stage for a positive reason, which is refreshing. So many countries have been on the global stage for a tsunami or the financial crisis or something sad.
The monarchy fascinates me. And it’s not so much the glitz and glitter of William and Kate, but of the establishment itself and the history behind it.
VA: I’m so glad to hear that! Everything goes through ebbs and flows. There are low points and high points, especially since we’re approaching the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee that there is all this good will towards the family. It’s fantastic! And I think she’s feeling really appreciated and respected. I mean, when she said her vows, she said them for life. And she’s taken her role very seriously and unfortunately, there have been moments along the way that family exploits have let her down.
Such as Annus Horriblis in 1992.
VA: Exactly. Oh gosh, 1992 was one thing after the other. It was horrible. And none of it was the queen’s doing. It was just marital woes [for her children] and just one thing after the other. So, I’m really glad that she can go into next year knowing that the monarchy is safe for future generations. She and William are very close; she absolutely adores him and I think she’s keen to show Kate the ropes and really give her a good foundation for the role she has ahead.
Switching gears to Camilla. I’ve read that Camilla does not want to take on the title of queen. She only wants to be princess consort. Does she have a choice in the title when Charles ascends the throne?
VA: Though her wishes will be definitely considered, more than anything she’s playing a very safe political game. She’s right, because even though there is a fondness growing in the country for Camilla, I think she’s actually a bit behooved. She obviously makes Charles happy and it helps that William and Harry like her, because that’s actually given her a subconscious seal of approval. But she also very aware of the fact that everyone was expecting Diana to be queen, and as a mark of respect to Diana, William and Harry, I think she’s very keen to not usurp and overstep her role. Also, she is a divorcee, and as Charles will be the head of the Church of England. It’s the reason Edward VIII abdicated because he couldn’t marry a divorcee. Rules have obviously relaxed a little bit and it’s daft to think Charles can’t be king because he’s married to a divorcee.
They’ll both wait for public opinion, and they’ll wait for public approval and I don’t think Camilla is eager to be Queen. She didn’t get into all of this to be Queen. They sought this out because they were in love. And I think she’s just going to be a wonderful support to Prince Charles. She’s going to be by his side. We can probably see a role similar to Prince Philip supporting the Queen really.
Camilla and Kate get along well, it seems.
VA: They do! They really do. It’s unfortunate because there was such a love for Diana, so it wouldn’t matter if Camilla was Mother Teresa. People were not going to like her because of how it all went down. Obviously it takes two for a marriage to crumble, and Diana was not without her faults. But Camilla and Charles have played the game very carefully, and it’s been gradual. It’s a good thing the Queen has such good genes because no one would have accepted Camilla when they first got married, in her role. But I think at this point the British public is just like, “Ugh, enough already. He’s happy. She’s happy. Let’s be done with it.” They don’t carry it on. So I think that they’ve just been very sensible.