I’m not one of those who is all worked up about the Royal Wedding or anything, but it does bring back some memories of a different kind of story that I covered in August of 1997.
Back then, I was enjoying the August recess of Congress by visiting my grandmother in Wyoming when the phone rang. It was the News Director of my station in Los Angeles, KFI-AM, and he wanted to talk business.
Princess Diana was dead and he wanted to send me to London to cover her funeral.
Being the guy who covers politics and Congress, it was just a bit outside of my usual type of story, but I dutifully flew back to Washington, D.C., grabbed some gear and hopped a plane to London.
Apart from the love that the Brits had for Diana, they were crushed at how the boys – Princes William and Harry – would be impacted by this tragedy.
After several days of doing interviews and covering the story, it all hit home as the funeral procession wound its way through the streets of London.
I went over to Hyde Park – where giant TV screens had been set up – and made my way south to Kensington Road to catch it in person.
To this day, I still can’t believe the utter silence of that moment. The crowds were huge all along the route, with people standing on their rooftops or pressed to their windows to get a look at the casket.
That silence was broken only by the chime of a single bell from Westminster Abbey, the same place where William was married today.
The scene became even more powerful when the procession proceeded down the Mall, past Buckingham Palace, where the Princes joined, along with Prince Charles.
I’m a political guy. I like elections. I like Congress. I’m not into royalty.
But when the young Princes and Prince Charles joined the procession, you could feel the weight of the moment. The tears flowed along the road, where people were jammed twenty deep and more.
It was a deeply emotional time for the British people.
Over 13 years later, Prince William is now a man, and he’s now a husband.
And Westminster Abbey was a much happier place on this day.