As It Happens

Once a Prince William 'fangirl,' the thrill is gone 18 years later

Former Prince William 'fangirl,' Taryn Stephenson, tried to propose to the royal when he visited Vancouver in 1998. Now, at 31, she's a bit more ambivalent about the Prince.
Thirteen-year-old Taryn Stephenson, left, waiting to meet then heart-throb Prince William, middle, on his visit to Vancouver in 1998. Eighteen years later, Stephenson is 31 years old, right, and admittedly less infatuated with the Prince. (Taryn Stephenson/Facebook/Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
Inevitably, there will still be pomp and circumstance. But Prince William's arrival in Canada this weekend will likely be a pretty low-key affair — at least compared to a previous royal visit.

A group of teenage girls scream as Princes William and Harry arrive at Canada Place on March 24 1998, in Vancouver. (Carlo Allegri/AFP/Getty Images)

When he landed in Vancouver in 1998, William was 15 years old and far from the balding family-man he is today. He was a bonafide teenage heart-throb and dozens of "fangirls" showed up in force to greet the young prince with screaming, flowers, and proposals of marriage.

Taryn Stephenson (Taryn Stephenson/Facebook)

"I was there to meet my future husband," Taryn Stephenson tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "I was going to see him. He was going to see me. We were going to make eye contact and that was it — I was going to live happily ever after!"

From Prince William's 1998 visit to Vancouver, Taryn Stephenson took this out of focus photograph around the moment she insists her and the royal prince made eye contact. (Taryn Stephenson)

At the time, Stephenson was 13 years old and idolized William. Now 31 years old, Stephenson still lives in Vancouver and vividly remembers her intense infatuation with the handsome prince.
RELATED: Royal ceremony gets snub from B.C.'s Grand Chief Stewart Phillip (Part 3)

"That was a special time. I don't think I slept for a week thinking about it," Stephenson recalls. "It was like a British invasion. It was like Spice Girls and Prince William and it was crazy."

From the archives: Prince William breaks hearts in Vancouver

CBC News Vancouver at 6:00

5 years ago
A look back to 1998 when Prince Charles visited Vancouver with his two sons. 3:01

Stephenson says she skipped school and woke up at four in the morning to be the first person waiting for her prince when he arrived at the planetarium, which was one of the stops on the royals' itinerary.

Taryn Stephenson quoted in a newspaper story on the royal visit. (Taryn Stephenson)

"They walked right by and I have no idea why but he waved at me," Stephenson recalls. "There was a moment where we made eye contact."

Stephenson admits her love for William has mellowed out.

"I don't think 31-year-old me could be as excited as 13-year-old me," Stephenson admits. "He is a bit goofy looking now that I look at him again."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the launch of Heads Together Campaign at Olympic Park on May 16, 2016 in London, England. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

As for Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge?

"To be completely honest, I actually think I have more of a love affair with her now than I do him. She dresses impeccably. I feel like Kate and I could be best friends."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?