I learned from a very early age to always pretend like I belonged somewhere even if I felt out of place. This little piece of advice has helped me make friends, feel more comfortable when doing something out of the ordinary, and has kept me safe while traveling. It also proved to be very valuable on a trip to Jamaica when I found myself unexpectedly sipping cocktails with British Royalty!
I was staying at Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. A massive luxury resort spread out over 400 acres along the Caribbean. I had never been to a place quite this exclusive. In fact, over the course of my week there I saw Terrence Howard, sat near Emmitt Smith at a BBQ, and watched Ashley Simpson and Pete Wentz stroll down the beach together.
Besides keeping my eyes peeled for all of the celebrities, I spent my days laying on the beach, hanging by my private pool, and drinking many rum and cokes at the bar. Pretty much the definition of a relaxing Caribbean vacation!
One afternoon, after some napping and swimming in the sun, I headed to my favorite beachside bar. The bartenders had become my new friends on this trip and were constantly making sure my hand was never without a drink.
As I sat in the shade, chatting with my new BFF’s, they mentioned that a big event was happening shortly at the resort: Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla were coming in for a royal reception!
What?! My first question, of course, was if Prince William and Prince Harry were coming as well. Sadly, no, but still! The Prince of England and his wife were about to set foot in the same resort I was staying at! I needed to investigate for myself.
So, in my bathing suit and sundress I headed over to the location where the reception was going to take place. Sure enough, something was happening. The building was roped off, buses with the sign ‘Royal Reception’ were rolling in, school children were parading through, and a Jamaican band was playing. This was a big deal!
Eventually, the band started playing, which signaled that they royals were arriving! Their car pulled up, they got out, they waved and they walked into the building. The band packed up, the school kids got back on their bus, and the other guests that had stuck around dispersed.
Not me though.
I walked around the back of the building to see what I could see, and found that the reception was not inside at all, it was outside on the lawn!
It being a royal reception and all, with the future King of England in attendance, I assumed the security would be pretty tight.
Guess what? It wasn’t!
I strolled along the perimeter of the green watching the activity of the party. A few steps at a time, I slowly started inching my way closer and closer to the action.
Once I was within earshot of conversations under the tent, a security guard started walking toward me.
This is it, I thought. They are finally stepping up on the security front and making me leave.
Anticipating that the security guard was going to send me on my way, I snapped a few last pictures and began to turn around.
I was quite surprised when the security guard called me by my name!
I whipped around, shocked.
“Are you Kay-tee?”
“Those guys sent me over to get you,” he said pointing to the bartenders.
Ah, the bartenders! Hanging out at the bar all day paid off! The bartenders that became my friends that week recognized me loitering on the edge of the party and summoned me into the soiree!
I beelined for the bar where they handed me a rum and coke, laughed about how I was not dressed for the occasion, and told me to go get some food.
Not being one to ever turn down food, I made my way into the middle of the tent, got a little plate of hors d’oeuvres, and stood on the lawn pretending that I fit in with the beautifully dressed Jamaican dignitaries and the Royal Family.
Not one person questioned the inappropriately dressed girl throwing back drinks.
I stayed for about 45 minutes, chatting with the bartenders and watching the event unfold. Camilla walked past me and said “Hello”, but that is as close to having a conversation with them that I got.
At the end of the cocktail party, there was a little ceremony where Prince Charles and Camilla received an award. I couldn’t help but giggle to myself as I stood smack dab in the middle of the group clapping as they were presented their award.
I am now part of a very small group of people who can say that they crashed a Royal Reception!