The beauty, and the curse, of being a "veteran" reporter, is that just
about every story we come across reminds us of another from our past.
The news that William and Kate are expecting their first child - a story
making headlines around the world - brought back vivid memories of a day, more
than 25 years ago, when I was covering Prince William's mother, Diana.
It was 1986. Prince Charles and Princess Diana were touring EXPO 86 in
Vancouver during their first visit to British Columbia as a couple.
Now these Royal tours are tightly controlled, especially for the media.
We're told where to go and when, and we are not allowed to stray from our
On this day, Charles and Diana were visiting a few of the EXPO pavilions. A
pool camera and reporter were allowed inside, while the rest of the reporters
and camera crews on the Royal tour were kept outside, in a roped off area, a
short distance away.
Charles and Diana were visiting the California pavilion when suddenly
security officers started running toward the pavilion with great urgency. Police
on motorcycles, with sirens wailing, cleared the roadway. An ambulance suddenly
Obviously something had gone wrong inside the pavilion and, watching this
scene unfold, panic spread through the ranks of the reporters stuck outside. Had
the Royal couple been attacked? Was there an assassination attempt? You can
imagine the questions that raced through our minds. And reporters hate not
knowing what's going on.
It seemed forever before a spokesperson for the Royal family emerged to
brief us. Princess Diana had fainted. Immediately, booming voices rang out from
the Fleet street reporters sent over from London to cover the tour.
"Is she preggers?" one demanded with a strong English accent. "Is the
princess with child?" another shouted. The spokesperson calmly replied that, to
the best of his knowledge, the princess was not with child, she was simply not
I've since covered other Royal tours but that was my first exposure to the
all consuming coverage the Royal family faces in England. How, to some tabloid
reporters, nothing in their lives, is off-limits.
It seems not much has changed over the past 25 years. In fact, judging by
the decision of some tabloids to publish those topless photos of Kate, the tell
all - take no prisoners, approach to covering the Royals has only
And it's likely to get even worse now that the Duchess of Cambridge is