A Royal prayer to the weather gods

April 11, 2011

Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton arrive at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA), in Darwen, northern England April 11, 2011.   REUTERS/Phil Noble

It can’t be very often that I have the same thought as Prince William, or indeed his fiance Kate Middleton. But after today’s visit to Darwen in northern England I’m sure there was at least one point, as the rain bounced off the pavement, that we were all thinking the same thing; I hope the weather is better than this on the 29th!

It was billed as the couples last public engagement before the big day and myself and Reuters colleague Darren Staples had arrived at our separate venues early in the morning to set up and claim our positions.

Security and competition from other photographers means the call time is usually at least a couple of hours before the VIP’s arrival. This is fine when the weather is on your side, but after a gloriously sunny weekend England’s famed April showers chose today to put in an appearance and soaked us to the bone.

The fiancee of Britain's Prince William, Kate Middleton, arrives at the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA), in Darwen, northern England April 11, 2011.  REUTERS/Phil Noble

When covering football as a photographer you are always prepared for sudden changes in the weather, but protocol dictates that waterproof trousers and hiking boots aren’t usually de rigeur for royal visits and smart attire is neither comfortable or waterproof.

Keeping your cameras dry is the main priority in these situations so with rain covers applied and them tucked under umbrellas for safety the only thing is to tough it out and get wet. The last thing you want to hear from the palace PR team is they are running late, but late they were. It was only 15 minutes but long enough to ensure that by the time they arrived the rain had finally penetrated my gore-tex jacket and the puddles in my shoes were ready to accept fish.

My colleague Darren fared little better as although the monsoon had passed through his venue just before the couple’s arrival the bright sunshine that had replaced it was now causing his gear to fog up with condensation.

If the weather gods are listening a nice dull, slightly overcast day from dusk to dawn on April the 29th will be gratefully received by the photographers. And I’m sure the couple won’t complain either.

Photographer Phil Noble (R) poses with photographers at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA), in Darwen, northern England April 11, 2011. Courtesy of Paul Ellis

One comment

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Phil: I like both your style and your stories.

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