Many moons ago, the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson came to visit the place where I was working. At that time, I helped with media relations, so I was asked to be on hand when she arrived. Our supervisor reviewed protocol for meeting the Duchess. If I recall correctly, we were supposed to curtsy or bow, and greet her with “Your Royal Highness” followed by “Ma’am” or something similar to this. Obviously, I wasn’t listening very well to these instructions since: (1) I am not English so I couldn’t really understand what the big whoop was, and (2) I did not imagine I would have the opportunity to interact with her. Boy, was I wrong!
Let me set the scene for you: all the big wigs at the company where I worked and the local hoity-toits who donate regularly to the company gathered in the main lobby. Both groups were dressed to the nines. The media arrived and were shown to their area. I was talking with my friend who was the Director of Security, when the limousines arrived. He said, “Hey, help my open these doors for them.” So I obliged. We had just been joking about all the “to-do” about a royal visit. As we both put down the door stoppers and turned around, there was the Duchess of York. She stopped and introduced herself to us. We looked like deer in the headlights! All I could think was, “Why is she talking to us? All the important people are inside waiting for her. Please go inside, so they will not be mad at us!” But Fergie is Fergie. She wanted to have a conversation. I think I tried to curtsy, albeit very awkwardly. My friend bowed while blushing three shades of red. We stumbled through a conversation that neither one of us could remember later. Then, by the grace of God, her assistant gently pushed her through the doorway.
Now, I don’t follow the tabloids or really care about the rich and famous. But it did strike me that day, that perhaps the Duchess of York is really just a humble person like you and me who really cares about people, but whose every move is judged by the media and people around her. My first impression was “I like this lady!” And my next thought was, “So much for believing what you see in the news.”