So I’m soon to be royal-adjacent and I’m counting on taking selfies with Royals.
Last January, I received an email saying, “We’d like to schedule a five minute private call with you about the upcoming royal birth.”
My first thought was “Is this my long-lost cousin writing from a jail in Nairobi and needing $38,000 to get out?”
But, hey – I’m game. “I’m all ears.”
The woman explained she was calling from St. Jame’s House, a London Publishing Company, that publishes fancy coffee table books highlighting big British events like the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, royal weddings, and the 100th anniversary of Rolls Royce.
They were in the process of gathering “patrons” to be featured in the upcoming book, Our Royal Baby, to be launched after the christening of as-yet-unborn Archie, the child of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. And they wanted to feature, well…the best and/or coolest diaper bag for men.
As a “patron”, I’d be featured in this book as an “exciting new company on-brand with this Modern Royal Couple.”
In the words of my deceased grandfather, “If I had dentures, I’d have lost them.”
Mr. Robert Jobson, “the godfather of royal reporting” and official biographer to Prince Charles, would interview me and write the feature on my company.
In addition, I’d receive an invitation to the royal christening and an invitation to attend the book launch in London at the Ritz Hotel.
(Non sequitor: should I be capitalizing “Royal” and “Christening”? Golly gee whiz I’m such an American un-versed in R/royal etiquette.)
After picking up my jaw (or dentures) from the ground, I asked, “Well, this is astounding. How on earth did you find me? And will I be able to take selfies with Royals?”
The woman laughed and said “We have researchers constantly seeking innovative and stylish companies appealing to a royal sensibility.”
Aw, shucks. I’m blushing. I mean – I may not be selling tons of bags, but…
…apparently I’m doing something right? (Notice my desperation.)
“I mean, this is crazy. I can say the ultimate dream would be for Prince Harry to carry my bag.”
“Well, we can make that happen,” my contact said, “though there’s no guarantee he would be photographed with it. But Mr. Jobson can personally give a bag to the Prince.”
Yo – Sign. Me. Dafuq. Up.
So, skipping over lots of banal details about contracts, I became part of the Our Royal Baby team.
As weeks and months passed trading messages about new photography and editing copy, I felt like the people in the charming novel, 84 Charing Cross Road, in which an informal American book collector strikes up a written friendship with a formal British antique book seller. His Britishisms contrast hilariously with the American’s, well…American-ness.
Point being – I’m the crazy, informal American and I’m certain my new British friend, Dhruti, must look at my emails and think, “This chap is off his rocker.”
Moving along, over the summer, Megs and Harry held the christening of wee Archie with zero fanfare. (I guess St. James’s House hoped to invite me to London around that time. Did I harbor illusions of taking that desired selfie with Royals? Absolutely. But I suppose an “invitation” meant a literal paper document for framing.)
So St. James scheduled our book launch at the Ritz for just after Labor Day – because that’s convenient (except for un-cultured Americans. Eye roll.)
In the spring – several photo shoots took place. I was going for a uniquely New York scene in which I’m carrying the diaper bag and holding a (borrowed) baby. (Shout out to Adam’s photographic genius and Ashley loaning me her baby.)
Charmingly, before taking this picture (at left), I noticed a guy pause at the green pipe over my shoulder and stick something inside. Minutes later, as I was posing with little “borrowed baby”, another dude lingered down the road. I could sense we were in his way. It wasn’t hard to realize he was waiting to pick up from the green pipe behind us.
So…pretty much we did a fashion shoot in the midst of a drug deal.
(Ultimately, Dhruti passed on that pict. Clearly it wasn’t “on brand” for the royal couple. Oh, well. It was on brand for NYC.)
In other news, I had dubbed the bag “The Frenchie” because the blue/red racing stripes reminded me of the French flag. But then I figured “Frenchie” probably was not on brand with the Royals, so it was re-dubbed “The Windsor.”
Months passed, designs and wording of the editorial page were finalized, and I spent the summer hemming and hawing over whether to attend the party at the Ritz.
Finally, I figured, “I’m most likely going to come back utterly empty-handed. But I’ve invested this much, and I have the AmEx miles for a free trip. This seems like exactly the right frivolous trip on which to cash in.”