The Diana Diaries – Thermals and Marble Madness

by carriegracey

Now this story is actually not written by my father, but by me. This was the story of when I met the Princess for the first time. Over the years, she did very sweet things, for example when father and her flew abroad, she knew I was obsessed with flight packs from upper class, so she always passed her pack to my father to give to me. I still have them….I’m not normally star struck, they’re just human, but she was my exception.

I’m one of thousands that had the pleasure in meeting the Princess, and at 11 years of age, I was a huge fan. My story is nothing new, pretty bland really. Many people have much better stories than mine. But a lot of us wanted to be a Princess when a kid and I was shaking so much just before meeting her. I was to present the bouquet to her when she walked down the aisle of Peterborough Cathedral. As I walked towards her, this was the first time I’d experience what Dad called ‘the white wall’. You couldn’t see a thing – too many camera flashes, blinding my every step. Once I had given the flowers, she said to me, ‘I hope you’re wearing your thermals Carrie, because it’s very cold in here.’ Mesmerised by her and totally star struck, I forgot all about the 50 photographers and any manners for that fact, I pulled up my top and said ‘YES! I AM! Look!’

She giggled and turned to her guide, ‘Carrie’s right you know, you need to get some heating into this place for next time I come.’ Met with laughter, she left and I stood there, wide eyed and in awe.

I jumped all the way back to the guide who had trained me to do my duties. ‘I love her’ was all I could say.

Who’d have thought the subject of thermals would have bought us together and made us such good friends?

This was to be the first of my many excruciating moments in front of the Princess. It seemed the older I got, the more I was unable to control myself around her. Awkward corkscrew curtseys when I wasn’t expecting her so soon, going shy when she made conversation so I’d dry up and then as she went around the room, she’d spot me nearby by peering around the corner at her. A few times, she’d look at me and we’d smile at each other, then my Dad would notice who at this point was in hysterics at my banal behaviour.

One time I was wearing a velvet black dress. Exactly the same dress as hers, another dreadful decision on my part, except mine was C&A (wearing a white t-shirt underneath) – I know, AWFUL – and hers was probably D&G (she, needless to say, was not wearing a t-shirt underneath). I was the sad, uncool person that probably always had a bit of food in her hair. The one that in order to join in with jokes, would just repeat someone else’ funny sentence a millisecond after. I was one of those.

You remember that scene in ‘Friends’ where Ross is trying to flirt with the pizza delivery girl, and as he closes the door he asks ‘did I just talk about gas?’. Well I can relate. Because when I met Prince Harry, we were cushioned into a sense of ‘you two are young, you can talk to each other whilst the rest of us mingle, drink and eat canapes.’ He was visibly bored and didn’t really want to be there and would rather be with his brother who was shooting that summer evening, so in a desperate attempt, I thought of something ‘cool’ to talk about. I could have talked about sports, or drinking, or movies but no – my chosen subject was to talk about the Sega Megadrive. I can feel you roll your eyes already. “Marble Madness” I said. ‘I’m sorry?’ He replied. ‘Marble Madness is my favourite game on the Sega Megadrive.”I explained. ‘Oh yes, yes, no it’s good, I play Marble Madness’. “Brilliant” I reply. Followed by an awkward silence. I was relieved to see the nanny take Prince Harry into another room. I breathed a sigh of relief – I learnt I was terrible at entertaining a Prince on demand. Then in fear it dawned on me, I asked my father as he came up, ‘Did I just talk about Marble Madness?’

We left Kensington Palace and I comfort ate my sorrows with a MacDonald’s Quarter Pounder. My father would watch me for the rest of the night on our journey back saying ‘WHY DID I TALK ABOUT MARBLE MADNESS?’??????!!!!!’