As written by MDF's own 'roving reporter' Amanda Hockham.
Late Friday evening I received an urgent email from my friends over at Modern Day Films asking if I wouldn’t mind covering the Royal visit for them as they’d be out of town during The Royal's visit to Santa Barbara (Oh, and they didn’t have a Press Pass!). No worries, I thought, this will be a piece of cake! I lept like a lord waiting for the 12 days of Christmas. Having grown up in the Commonwealth Country of New Zealand, The Royals have always been a part of my life, even going so far as to pop up when we went to the movies and compelling us to stand and sing the national anthem with fervor before each showing.
So, when Saturday rolled around, the excitement began to build. Rumors of helicopters landing at the Polo Club began early in the day. I put on my fancy faux fascinator and ran for the door, making sure to grab my camera as I ran to my coach. As my plans to carpool with Oprah were dashed, I realized I’d have to drive myself, so I plotted a strategy to bypass the crowds and park as close as possible. Once I arrived, I was surprised at the lack of a crowd and was able to park one street away from the event. I immediately strolled over to the Polo Club only to be stopped by a paparazzi who wanted to take a photo of my fascinator. I was even able to glean a few details from the paparazzi including which areas to avoid. Armed with my new knowledge, I sauntered up to the area in question and quickly realized that security was tight - very, very tight! They were not kidding around, and rightfully so, which made it very challenging to take pictures at first.... but a promise is a promise, so I set off to see what I could see. I became very creative and was rewarded numerous times with an up close and personal visit and lecture from several not-so-friendly officers of the law. Did I let this distract me from my task? NO! I forged ahead. At one point I noticed numerous people gathering at the hedge in the front of the grounds and wandered over. I was delighted to see that you could actually see something, anything. Even better, it was near our end of the field. Suddenly a horse was in front of us! We all tried to figure out if it was Prince William and came to the conclusion that it was hard to tell who it was at all due to our vision being obscured by a large thick hedge and a chain link fence. Suddenly someone said, “I think it’s him! I think it’s Prince William!” I was so excited to see anyone, someone on a horse, I just started snapping pictures willy-nilly! I figured that sooner or later I’d get a snap of someone. Well, let me tell you friends, it paid off! I was able to get two pictures of Prince William before security came to move us away. I felt so empowered! I could do anything! And as I walked around the corner near the private, fancy bathrooms, I was able to hear that Prince William had just scored a goal. Then I noticed a woman in a large, beautiful black hat so I stopped to ask if I could take a picture of it which, thankfully she agreed to.
Was it worth it? Well, aside from a small mishap when I twisted my foot in a hole, it was. I had missed the Queen when she had come to the area in the mid 80’s and had been rained out; this was my opportunity to make up for it. I had a lot of fun and met some interesting people. It was almost like being there.
So, thanks to Modern Day Films for going out of town so I could have the opportunity to have an excuse to wear my faux fascinator out on the town.