From the outset, Prince George’s christening at St.James’s Palace in London has been billed as a low-key, private affair.
However, that isn't enough to stop the royalist hardcore fans – a kind of grown-up version of One Directioners, but less screechy and more arthritic – from descending onto the streets outside of the palace.
These are the group dubbed the “Golden Few," a bunch of mostly fifty-plus "superfans" who praise, preach and feel impassioned for all things regal. “We’re all royalists together – it’s like one big party when we’re all together,” says Margaret Tyler, 69, from Wembley, north London, who has amassed a stash of over 10,000 pieces of royal memorabilia.
The street scene is made up of a very small collective of ‘loyalist royalists’, passing American tourists and journalists showing the best of British by forming an orderly queue for quotes from the "superfans."
“I came up with the title the ‘Magnificent Seven’ for Prince George’s godparents,” gushes a proud John Loughrey. It’s the tame pinnacle on an otherwise placid occasion for the royal enthusiast.
Yes, it’s all incredibly civilized. All of the hype surrounding the “Great Kate Wait” at the Lindo Wing, St.Mary’s Hospital in London three months ago has diluted into a linear line of palace wall-watchers.
“I spent three nights on the streets waiting for the build-up to the christening,” says 58-year-old Loughrey. When I ask if he is disappointed that the royals didn’t greet the crowd, he says, “A little bit but they give themselves 99% of the year and they want that 1% for themselves – William has learnt from his mother about privacy.”
It seems that not even a relative no-show can take away from the well-wishing that everyday people, and of course the royalist groupies, feel for the young royals and the future King.
Superfans flock to celebrate Prince George
October 23, 2013. Royalist fan Terry Hutt standing outside St. James's Palace, on the day of Prince George Alexander Louis's christening. Credit: Richard Peckett/MW
Name: Terry Hutt Age: 78 Occupation: Retired (Former soldier) From: London
Did you stay outside the palace overnight?
Yes, I came here at eleven on Tuesday and slept on the street around the corner.
Why are you here?
This is history for everybody and Prince George will be our future King in fifty years' time or so.
Are you disappointed that it’s a quieter affair than his birth?
No, the baby is born and people are busy these days – you can’t expect people to come out for every event. After all, the ‘golden few’ – that’s what I call the royalist fans – are here.
Have you brought a gift?
Yep, I’ve brought a little rubber duck. I’m hoping to give this to William or Kate to put in George’s bath tomorrow.
Richard Peckett / Metro World News outside St.James\'s Palace, London