There were probably more than a billion people who would’ve loved to have been inside Westminster Abbey to see Prince William marry Kate Middleton and to soak up the glamor of what was, for a day, the world’s biggest news story.
I was lucky enough to be assigned a position inside the abbey, but though I got to witness the spectacle through a camera lens, my experience was less about pomp and pageantry and more about perils and pratfalls.
With the congregation dolled up to the nines, even the photographers were expected to smarten up. Abbey staff told us to wear “a suit and tie or female equivalent”. Dressed accordingly in my smartest jacket and skirt, I felt the part – right up until I saw the ladders.
To get to my position, a rickety, three-story high balcony perched above the abbey’s main doorway, I would have to scale a series of steep, metal-rung ladders. I would have to scale them carrying a heavy camera bag behind me — wearing a skirt.
It was hard work, but myself and the six other photographers assigned to the spot worked like a team of Himalayan sherpas to ferry all our gear up the ladders. After 15 stressful minutes of hauling and holding on for dear life, I was safely at the top.