One of the perks of being a part-time badminton journalist is that you get access to all the press conference rooms and speak to all the world-renowned badminton players. In most places, you get to sit at the best seats for free since you will be the one telling the whole world about how awesome the tournament is. For an avid badminton fan (okay, almost maniac) like me, it was more than I could have asked for.
But another less known perk of being a badminton journalist is that you get to meet other non-badminton famous people. Like the minister of sports. Or a prince.
Yes, you read it correctly, a P R I N C E. I still can’t believe it till this moment. I have met and spoken to a real life PRINCE. Even though it was more than a year ago, I’m still hyperventilating as I’m writing about it. It all happened so fast that I did not even have time to faint right there and then.
I was just doing my post badminton match ritual at Copenhagen Masters 2012 in well, Copenhagen. It always pretty much goes by this sequence: you sit and watch a badminton match, when a match finishes you run off to the press conference room to interview the players if they interest you, then you return to the media room to jot down the quotes into your computer and return to the stadium again to catch the next match and repeat the same steps.
But that day I decided to break the cycle. I guess it was because I was rather tired from running around the stadium, but after interviewing one of the players, I did not return immediately to the media room. Instead a few of us decided to just hang around after a press conference and rested our feet. It had been a long day.
Suddenly the door opened and a few important looking men came into the room.
“OMG it’s the Prince!” I heard my friend exclaimed.
And if you know me, I’m probably the least updated person with current news. So my first reaction to that was, “Which one?”
My friend pointed at a tall good-looking guy in suit. I really ought to feel ashamed of myself. For someone who proclaims her love for Denmark on a daily basis, I should at least know how the royal family looks like. And he was not just anyone in the family. Standing in the room a few feet away from me was Prince Frederik, the Crown Prince of Denmark, the future KING of Denmark.
The good news is I recovered quickly from my initial ignorance. Apparently he had come there to watch Peter Gade’s retirement match and was about to give an interview to a TV news. Mustering the confidence that I had within from being a journalist, I walked up to him with my friends and just said, “Hi, could I have a picture with you?”
Yes, I just walked up to him. I don’t even know whether you are supposed to say “Your Highness” or curtsy in front of a royalty these days. And to my most utter delightful disbelief, he AGREED. So pictured below, my first picture with a royalty!
We exchanged a few words, the Prince and I and my two friends. He asked us where we were from and some other things that I could not register anymore since in my mind a voice kept screaming, “OMG I AM TALKING TO A PRINCE!!!!!”
Oh and can you believe that he had no bodyguard around him save those few important looking men?
Anyway, for those few minutes, I felt that I was Princess Mia from the Princess Diaries. Except that I was not the princess. And I didn’t then find out that I was born a royalty or something and had to go through princess lessons to correct my less than elegant way of sitting and how to wave at the crowd with grace. But you get the idea. (For those not in the know, Prince Frederik’s love story is probably the loose inspiration of the movie “The Prince and Me”).
And with almost every important and exciting thing in life, the complete realisation of its significance did not really dawn on me until my next visit to Copenhagen six months later. I decided to visit the Frederiksborg Castle and check out what I saw at one of the massive ballrooms.
Because how often does someone have their painting put on the wall of a Castle? But more importantly, how often do you get to meet someone in such a painting? 😉