Royal Wedding ‘ the day it was’

There’s not many moments in your life you can look back and say ‘wow’ it was well worth it. I’m still recovering from my aching feet, early morning hours and running around from the last week and the final day. 

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Exactly a month ago, when I went to work on the ITN news desk for the royal wedding, little did I know what I would be doing and where. After a month of editorial research, relentless interview chasing and production work of the British royal family and everyone linked to them, I was given the responsibility of being Producer at Westminster Abbey with Presenter and royal correspondent for ITV news Romilly Weeks.

A lucky spot I’d say close to the BBC and Sky News TV crews,  I realised only the day before, I got a chance to experience views of not only the British, European and foreign royals arrivals but also the newly weds Will and Kate

Obviously, it was a much earlier start to the day than expected, but not as bad as the camera and technical crew. They were there since four O’ clock that morning all set up and raring to go. I got there for seven, picked up my comms unit, some food for the presenter and crew, and was there for seven. Something I learnt in my first week at ITV, to be a good producer get the guest speakers, editorial research in place, and logistics right but to be a great producer, also feed them and find your crew a place to sleep. As Sarah Hill, Foreign News Editor at ITN puts it ‘ The job of a producer is part editorial, part logistics and part baby sitting.’

It  was a cold morning and everyone was freezing, quite unusual especially after experiencing some good weather in the past few days. The live interviews arranged before the service went as per schedule. Our presenter interviewed the grocers frequented by the couple in Bucklebury ‘The Shingadias’ called Hash and Shan Shingadia. This was followed by an interview with Edward Gould, Kate’s former head of Marlborough College who said ‘ she was popular but understated’ while she was studying there. We also had a quick chat with Tom Bradby, ITN political editor, a trusted friend of Prince William, and the lucky one to get an exclusive to the engagement in November last year.

In the meanwhile, I also saw interviews going on with the other TV crews next to me. Apart from the pre scheduled interviews, I thought this was a great chance to poach some of the interviewees that were at BBC or Sky after their interviews. Things you have to succumb to get the job done. I was lucky enough to get hold of Gareth Thomas,  Welsh professional rugby player. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London had to decline as the Abbey were closing doors for their guests to be seated.

After the service we also got a chance to speak with Ian Thorpe, Olympian  swimmer and founder of Fountain for Youth in 2000, Harry Meade, friend of William, Van Straubenzees’, parents of Thomas Van Straubenzee, who is said to have helped Harry with his best man’s speech. Not forgetting to mention Patrick Cordingley and his gorgeous wife, and Ben Fogle, NBC Presenter and friend of William, who declined again. He is also said to be a look a like of William and mistaken by people passer bys on several occasions.

Unlike most who might have caught the event on TV and saw close ups of guest arrivals and their fashionable attire, it was hard for me to glean  from  the point I was at. But I did get a chance to get my own live footage and photographs. And the best of them all, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving the Abbey after the church service

It didn’t end there, this was followed by a trip to our studios at Canada Gate, Buckingham Palace to deliver some tapes. I had to battle crowds to actually get there, though i should be the last person complaining .My press pass helped me breeze through the crowds, some of the advantages that comes with the job. Having got there in the nick of time I got a brilliant view of the couple leave Buckingham Palace in the vintage Aston Martin , which I thought was a happy and sweet ending to the whole ceremony.  

Emma Hoskyns, Programme Editor at ITV was in tears when it was over. This was the only thing she was living, breathing and sleeping in the past six months. I can imagine how relieved she was. Steve Nicklin, Unit manager got in the champagne and it was celebration time.


Royal wedding madness

The final day has arrived and its tomorrow. Much work has gone into the royal wedding preparations in terms of editorial, production and logistics not for one month, but for the last since months since the engagement was announced I hear. I was at the media rehearsal at Westminister Abbey today, and one thing I’ve learnt,  working in live television is highly stressful and exhilarating at the same time. The whole experience has been challenging everyday in the past one month but definitely one where you look back on and say ‘what was I doing there’

The whole country is celebrating. You can tell by the street parties, the buntings, royal ads in supermarkets and café’s, and all sorts of promotions. While I was walking from the Abbey to the media stands at QE2 ( where all the local and international media stands are) I had the opportunity to get a glimpse of some of the overnight campers from all over the world, who call themselves loyal royal fans. They were adorned in tiaras and glitter, carrying the union jack with wills and Kate embossed in the centre , and comforting themselves within the walls of colourful tents.

I’ve been assigned the role of  St. Margaret’s Producer, just a few steps away from the abbey and have to ensure my pre scheduled guests will arrive on time and interviews will take place without any glitches. I‘m hoping technology won’t let me down. Its not even my wedding, and I have never planned something in my life, up to the minute.

I’m nervous and excited, its all surreal and the magnanimity of this event has suddenly dawned on me. Guess I need not say more as these pictures from Westminster will give you a better idea of the live atmosphere outside the Abbey today.

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