A Royal Year

Whether you just can’t get enough, or you are absolutely fed up with hearing about them, there’s no denying that 2011 has been a remarkable year for the royal family. From weddings, to scandals, to tours, it seemed like all eyes and ears were on the royals this year. In tribute to the much-loved family, we’d like to take a look back at some of their most memorable moments in 2011!

By Brooke Benjamin

The Royal Wedding

On April 29, 2011 millions of people all over the globe got up early to witness Prince William and long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton exchange vows. There was much anticipation leading up to the big day and it did not disappoint. From the dress, to the crowds, to the first kiss and the loving gazes exchanged between the couple, it truly had the makings of a real-life fairytale.

There was a lot of speculation about which dress designer Kate would choose, and what kind of dress she’d don. The moment she stepped out of the car and the world caught glimpse of the dress for the very first time it was as if she stepped right into our hearts. She looked simply stunning, and just as a princess should. That day Kate Middleton transformed from regular girl to regal royal before our very eyes. Other memorable highlights include the introduction to Kate’s younger sister Pippa, and of course her now famous derrière, the heaps of celebrities that were there, and of course that first drive as a married couple out of Buckingham Palace in Prince Charles’ Aston Martin.


Zara and Mike’s Wedding

3 months after William and Kate walked down the aisle, another royal made headlines when she married England Rugby star Mike Tindall. Zara Phillips is the second child and only daughter of Princess Anne and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips and is 13th in the line of succession to the throne. Approximately 6000 well-wishers gathered to celebrate the union. It was another proud day for the British monarchy.

The Scandals

 What’s life without a little bit of scandal? The media had a field day when after only a short few months after the wedding, it seemed as though Mike Tindall wasn’t quite living up to his vows. Tindall was caught on film cavorting with a mystery blonde in a New Zealand bar. It was later revealed that the woman is an ex-girlfriend of the rugby player. And low and behold, it gets worse! After denying that he had visited any other bars on the night in question, video footage emerged of him with the same woman, at a different location. Mike has since released a statement apologizing for his clear misjudgment and chalks it up to an error in his recollection of the night.

Zara Phillips wasn’t the only royal to sweep the headlines with scandal, as Prince Andrew was also the centre of quite the media firestorm earlier this year for his poor conduct.

Andrew has long been friends with Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender. Photos emerged in a British newspaper of Andrew embracing a young woman who claims to be one of the victims of Epstein. Andrew has a couple other questionable associations too which have also caused him to come under fire. Namely, it was revealed that the royal was on friendly terms with Saif al Islam Ghadafi, son of Libyan leader Moamar Ghadafi, and Sakher el Materi, the son-in-law of Tunisia’s deposed president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Two dodgy dictators he probably should have stayed away from. As a result, Andrew lost his role as the UK’s special trade envoy. I think he’d disagree with the “birds of a feather flock together” mantra!

The Royal Tour of Canada

 If Kate didn’t manage to capture your heart on the big wedding day, she certainly did so when the royals took their first tour. The duo’s first official trip as a married couple took place right here in Canada, which left us all with feelings honour and delight. The couple visited Ottawa, Quebec and Yellowknife in the Northwest territories. It wasn’t all work and no play, as they were able to enjoy canoes, camp fires, cook offs and even a little hockey. The visit was closely followed by the media and royal-watchers alike and the expectations were high. Being that it was Kate’s first official engagement as the newly minted Duchess of Cambridge it was probably one of the most significant trips she will ever take. Her composure, or lack there of would set the bar for her public persona in the years to come and determine how prevalent her role as Duchess would be. She certainly did hold her own and proved with her relaxed, cool confidence that she was well prepared for the life she has taken on.