Royal Wedding Dream: Massachusetts Woman Prepares for Journey of a Lifetime
Massachusetts woman explains a lifelong obsession.
April 27, 2011 — -- Massachusetts blogger Sarah Binns is heading to London for the Royal Wedding. Read her story below and learn more about her journey Friday on a special two-hour "20/20" at 9 p.m. ET.
Like other followers of the British royal family, I had waited most of my life for the engagement announcement of Nov. 16, 2010. When I wasn't waiting for it, I actively pursued it: I dreamed of dancing with Prince William, of being introduced to the queen and my new royal "family." These dreams, along with my braces, disappeared as I grew up, but the real love story between the royal family and me remained.
When strangers learn that I am going to London for the royal wedding, they usually wait for a punch line that doesn't come. Once they stop laughing, they ask questions: "When did you start liking the royal family? When did your family know you were, um, crazy?" The briefest answer? I think I was born this way.
My first visit to England opened my 6-year-old eyes to castles, Crown jewels and a country with a dramatic history that I loved. I bought a set of Kings and Queens of England fact cards and memorized them, from William the Conqueror to present day Elizabeth II. Thus began my love affair. (See a letter that Sarah Binns wrote to Queen Elizabeth when Binns was in fourth grade.)
Diana, princess of Wales, died on a sunny day when I was 11 and on vacation with my family. Tearful, I changed into the only black clothes I had with me: A wool miniskirt and cotton shirt -- unfortunately punctuated by a trademarked yellow smiley face. I held a funeral for Diana, attended by the House of Windsor paper dolls, as well as colored cutouts of Henry VIII, all six of his wives and Elizabeth I. If there was a moment in which I "went over the edge" in terms of my adoration for the royal family, this was it.
Even now, more than a decade later, saying that I followed William and Kate's romance is like saying I keep in touch with my cousins -- it's a part of my life. I went to St. Andrews University in Scotland for my year abroad. I delighted in walking down Hope Street, where William and Kate once lived. The day their engagement was announced, I joked, "How fun would that be if I went to the wedding?!" The more I repeated the question, the less of a joke it became. After the announcement of the April 29 wedding date, I booked a flight to London within 24 hours.
Only two full days separate me from the wedding of the century. My plan is simple: To get to the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace as soon as possible -- from this vantage point I hope to see the royal family leaving and returning to the palace, as well as the long-awaited balcony greeting after the ceremony. My sleeping bag is packed, with every intention of staying on the street Thursday night. But with thousands of other revelers around me, sleep may be the last thing on my mind! Royal wedding, here I come!
Watch a special "20/20" Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for a behind-the-scenes look at the life that awaits Kate Middleton and join us again at 4 a.m. Friday for ABC News' live coverage of the Royal Wedding with Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters. Watch Sarah Binns' story on a special two-hour "20/20" Friday at 9 p.m ET.