A Brush With Royalty

After climbing a hilly sidewalk to get to Casa Loma, we stumbled upon soldiers in uniform.

They were lined up facing the mansion, and a small crowd had begun to gather. I saw a woman in black walk solemnly into the house. Was it a funeral? An arrest? We later learned they were celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, Canada’s oldest infantry regiment. Another gawker told us a princess was about to exit.

Twenty-five minutes of much of the same, and 30 pictures with different angles of much of the same, the colonel-inchief finally appeared.

Princess Alexandra, the cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and 33rd in line of succession to the British throne, emerged from the mansion in a white suit and blue scarf. The men welcomed her. She approached them, briefly speaking with each and apologizing for keeping them waiting. She addressed them casually, at least as casual as royalty could be, as if no one was watching.

I’d gotten a great spot away from the crowd and just a few feet from the guards. As soon as the princess approached the men, however, the official photographers blocked my view. My height impediment (and the fact that I’d run out of memory) restricted me from taking too many photos, so I just watched and absorbed the moment.

After addressing the men, she spoke to a spectator. She talked to the girl as if she’d seen her before, though I’m sure she was just a stranger in the crowd.

Then, with a wave, the princess was whisked away.

Minutes before the princess’s grand exit.

Cameras galore.

In height order.

Perfectly still.

Switching places.

Falling in line.

“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.”

Fancy photographer in the distance.

Everyone but the princess.

Princess Alexandra.

Final salute.

Update: This post made it to WordPress’s “Freshly Pressed” list today, which the site describes as “The best of 300,828 bloggers, 278,358 new posts, 336,321 comments, & 63,502,639 words today on WordPress.com.”

So awesome. Thanks, WordPress editors!

24 Comments

  1. kat says:

    “I’m sorry to have kept you waiting. I had to pee reaaaaally bad.”

  2. becky says:

    Wow, that’s intense. I love the little tiny red carpet the princess is standing on. (She’s adorable by the way – she looks like a story book grandmother.)

  3. Tracy says:

    haha – sounds like an exciting (and intense) moment. Certainly looked like it.

    http://www.tracyzhangphoto.wordpress.com/

  4. Nathan Eckman says:

    Yeah – now that’s something to tell your children.

  5. Oooh a princess!! See what happens when you don’t plan, hahah!

    BTW Your post made front page at wordpress.com =D !!! Ch-ch-check it out.

  6. And I just read your twitter and realized you already knew hahaha

  7. Andrea says:

    Wow amazing photos, this is intense, and geat to look.

  8. rubiescorner says:

    She is an older princess, but a princess is respectable. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  9. ramonakent says:

    Way cool!!

  10. I support the Canadian Forces.
    Nice pictures and HD video camera.
    Thanks for sharing your parade with us.
    Only 22 officers? And what is up with the Berets. I see red, green and black. Shouldn’t it be unified since you’re all Army? But I suppose its like that to identify rank from a distance.

    Remain.Simple

    1. Edit: Maybe its to identify regiment or perhaps some are in the Air Force or Navy.

      Nice M16s Btw

      Remain.Simple

    2. JM4610 says:

      That’s actually a guard from my old Regiment. The maroon berets signifies that those soldiers are airborne paratroopers, and belong to a parachute jump company. The green is for army. There aren’t any black berets there actually, but if there were they would belong to an armoured regiment or in the navy.

    3. skirmisher says:

      Wedge caps are black,, Maroon are qualified para troupers and gren are the Queen’s Own Rifles.

  11. Breland Kent says:

    Really nice!!

  12. Segun says:

    prayer for happy home

  13. Kristle says:

    Great photos! I wish I had captured the same with my poor excuse for a camera on my blackberry. 🙂 I attended the reception on Saturday for HRH Princess Alexandra and she is so lovely. Very soft spoken. The occasion at Casa Loma was in honour of the Queen’s Own Rifles (QOR) 150th Birthday. Princess Alexandra is the Colonel-in-Chief of the QOR regiment in Canada. The display outside of Casa Loma is the Honour Guard. The difference in beret colour actually denotes qualification. The red berets are military police. Green berets are special ops and the Maroon berets refer to airborne. (I didn’t know either so I asked my husband.) Congrats on getting “freshly pressed”.

    1. karenmaywrites says:

      Awesome! Thanks for clearing this up for us 🙂

  14. renin says:

    wow this entry is cool, no wonder you’re featured as freshly pressed today.

  15. Got a friend in Honor Guard, and I’ve personally met military police but never special ops or airborne. They are simply put it, the best.

    Thanks for the info Kristle,
    Remain.Simple

  16. Kris says:

    Oh you got lovely pics of the important occasion!

  17. Rohit says:

    Pics are great and Princess Alexandra does look charming.

    I am sure, it was fun and thrill to watch an event like this expecially if you have watched it accidentally. A lot of people would envy you.

    Thanks for sharing.

  18. RLV says:

    I like Kat’s comment. Teehee.

    Congrats on making WP’s front page!

    And awesome pictures! Can’t wait to hear all about Toronto! 🙂

  19. unforgivens says:

    I found your site from the WordPress.com page which has several sites that are strong enough to make the page. Your site is wonderful and beautiful.
    Thanks…

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