by KATIE GREENWOOD
I was never meant to meet the Duchess. When the email came asking me to nominate a representative for morning tea with Princess Kate, I entertained the idea of going myself for about as long as it took me to update my facebook status with the ethical conundrum of how to choose someone in my stead before I went and spoke to one of our longest serving staff.
Life here in the Solomon Islands can be tough and joy is amplified. I wanted a National staff member to have this one, great opportunity. That was the idea anyway.
As often happens here, things didn’t quite go according to plan and on the morning of the event I got a message that our representative was unavoidably detained and she couldn’t attend the planned gathering. Oh. My. God – save-the-Queen!
Long story short, after several phone calls, it turned out the most appropriate person to attend with this much notice was me. Me, who had NOTHING TO WEAR!
As someone who has worked in Disaster Management for many years, I’d like to say what happened next was all done smoothly, with detached logic and precision. In reality, it resembled a full blown meltdown. Yes it’s awesome to get to meet the Duchess of Cambridge, but of course *I *get to do it with ONE HOUR’s NOTICE!! Turns out I was the princess that morning!
Meltdown aside, there I was an hour later, hair and makeup pulled together by my calming sister, outfit chosen by my patient partner, sitting in a leaf hut with 50 other women mentally slapping myself stupid about the fact I’ve lived here for 4 years and have not yet had a traditional “Pacific Formal” outfit made.