Even for the average civilian, it can feel as though we know every little detail about the royal family. Especially since news broke about the engagement, it feels like we're always being updated about Harry and Meghan's whereabouts. Regardless of that, we still regularly see images and footage of the Queen, as well as of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, AKA Will and Kate.
So what must it be like to actually work as a royal reporter, in which it is one's role to follow the likes of Will, Kate, Harry, Meghan and all the rest virtually 24/7? They must know a lot more than we do. From being in the midst of the Royal wedding to Harry's insecurities to what the Queen is really like in person, these 15 royal correspondents tell-all about the job, the memories and the facts.
15 Wherever the Royals are, reporters are
As most of you will fondly remember, on April 29, 2011, there was a royal wedding. Approximately 2 billion folks around the world tuned in to watch the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton from their homes. CNN reporter Victoria Arbiter, however, wasn't one of those people. She was placed in the media center at Buckingham Palace, along with a large group of other reporters and photographers. Arbiter was a royal correspondent and as a royal correspondent; she could not watch the royal wedding from the comfort of her home. She had to be wherever the royals were and, at that moment, it was at Buckingham Palace. In other words, being a royal reporter doesn't really warrant observing from afar. It pretty much is a 24/7 job.
14 Missing Princess Diana at the wedding
It must have been a strange moment for reporter Victoria Arbiter who, not only got to meet Princess Diana, but also got to attend her son's wedding. And it was while Arbiter was at the wedding that she found herself reminiscing about the late princess. Or, more correctly, missing the late Princess of Wales. "This is so cheesy,'' she told Marie Claire. ''Please know that I get how cheesy this is. I adored Diana, I thought she was wonderful, I got to meet her, I went to her funeral—she was very much present in my childhood. So on the wedding day, her absence was so acutely felt. It was the first moment in the build-up to everything when I said, 'She's not here and she should be.'"
13 But Princess Diana was actually there
However, that void was soon filled when Arbiter experienced a precious moment people at home could not. It was one of those special moments that made her job as a 24/7 royal reporter 100 percent worthwhile. While she was at the wedding, Arbiter felt Diana's presence. "Kate had left the Goring Hotel, and it was your typical day in England—gray and overcast—and right as she turned the sun came out and shone on her car," Arbiter recalls. "As pragmatic and British as I can be, I thought, Diana is here. It was an incredibly moving moment for me." For all the hours she puts in, whether it's a wedding or just a special appearance, it's moving moments like this that make her job meaningful and rewarding. Feeling Princess Diana's presence isn't part of the job, but it certainly serves as a perk.
12 Some reporters don't even like the Royals
For 14 years, Jennie Bond served as a royal correspondent for the BBC. As far as royal correspondents went, she was the biggest name in the business back then. Bond herself became a familiar face to millions of people throughout Britain. Still, in spite of her job role, she never really hit it off with the royal family. In fact, when a member of the audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival asked whether she liked the members of the royal family, her reply was: ''Basically, no.'' Talk about cutting to the chase! "I think it is very sad that after 14 years as royal correspondent I have the most distant relationship with them,'' Bond admits. ''I think that is very bad public relations from their point of view.''
11 Prince Harry isn't extravagant
As the former royal editor of The Sun, Duncan Larcombe's coverage focused mostly on Prince Harry, someone he has a great deal of respect for. But he admits there are many misconceptions about the youngest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. "He’s often talked about as being very flash,'' Larcombe explains. ''I think the public imagine him turning up in a Las Vegas hotel and saying ‘the drinks are on me’ but, like all the Royals, he’s actually very frugal. He hardly ever spends money, if he flies he will always book himself on British Airways or Virgin in an economy class seat, like Prince William. [But] they know they will get upgraded and they always do. He doesn’t drive around in Aston Martins; He doesn’t have an incredibly extravagant lifestyle."
10 Harry and Meghan are the real thing
Meghan Markle has often been written off as an unsuitable match for Prince Harry. Some have even suggested she's with him to advance her career. Not according to this royal reporter. ''Meghan is already used to being photographed by paps, trolls on the internet and all the horrible side effects of fame,'' says Larcombe. ''She didn’t have to get over that barrier that the other girlfriends have failed to so they are already starting off better.'' He's basically trying to say that these two are the real deal. It's nice to hear a reporter saying something good about the partnership and being so supportive of it. It's far more enjoyable to hear than those scandalous garbage tabloid stories. Through this reporter's eyes, it looks like Harry and Meghan have a happy future to look forward to.
9 Wedding memories
Any fan of the royal family will tell you that, had they been given the choice, they would love to have been at the royal wedding back in 2011. Royal correspondents had the fortune of witnessing the royal wedding firsthand and, just as you'd expect, they all have their fair share of stories to tell about the affair. Author Katie Nicholl, who penned the book Harry: Life, Loss, and Love was also at the event and her memories of it are as vivid as they come. "I’ll always remember the thunderous applause as the couple arrived in a horse drawn carriage at Buckingham Palace, and the roar of the crowds as they kissed on the balcony,'' she recalls. ''We were in a glass studio in the media complex and I could feel the ground vibrating."
8 It's not always the dream job
Following Will and Kate around 24/7...how bad can it be? While being a royal reporter may sound like a dream job, it is not without its challenges. One of those challenges is ensuring you get a good story, without being too scandalous. You need to get the balance right. The last thing any royal reporter wants is to hack off the Queen. No reporter wants Her Majesty as their adversary. Securing sources is another part of the battle. "Royal correspondents in the 1980s were getting all kinds of stories that were embarrassing for the royal family, and had sources everywhere," Daily Express correspondent Richard Palmer says. "But they were often paying those sources. A lot of those avenues have been shut down—for example police officers now aren't allowed to keep a diary of their time acting as body guards to members of the royal family."
7 William's 'face like thunder' (remember the photo leak?)
Still, scandalous stories about the royal family do happen. One of those stories surrounded the exposure of Kate's pictures. And nobody remembers this invasion of privacy better than Richard Palmer, who just happened to be a firsthand witness to the scandal. "When we went on a tour to the South Pacific, the story broke that a French magazine had run topless pictures of Kate,'' he explained. ''To be on the scene and to see their faces...William's face like thunder, and Kate—even though she was the person at the heart of it all—putting on a brave face and telling him in the car to keep smiling...that was pretty intense." It just goes to show what can happen when you upset the royals and how negative press affects them.
6 Camilla is a favourite
If you could ask a royal correspondent any question, what would it be? One question we'd like to ask is which member of the royal family do they like the most. We see these familiar faces in the news all the time. But we don't actually know these people, not intimately anyway. Nobody really knows what they are like as people. The only people outside the royal family who have an inkling of know-how are royal reporters. ''Camilla is my favorite, actually,'' Palmer admits. ''The polls suggest that she is probably the most unpopular senior member of the royal family, but amongst the royal correspondents I talk to, she's the most popular because she's always got a moment to say 'good morning' to you and share a joke.''
5 Harry is good with banter and Kate is really serious
Royal correspondents, like Richard Palmer, talk to members of the royal family all the time. Elaborating on our question from before, is there anyone else with whom he enjoys speaking? Just as you'd expect, Harry comes in as a close second. ''Harry is also very good with banter,'' Palmer admits. '' He also claims he enjoys talking to the Duchess of Cambridge from time to time, describing her as a ''really serious, intelligent person who asks very pertinent questions.'' From an outsider's point of view, this isn't too surprising to hear. We always suspected Prince Harry as a down-to-earth guy. From how the media represents her, Kate does seem like somebody who takes her role as a Duchess seriously and there's no doubt in our mind that she's highly intelligent.
4 Photographing Charlotte
It's a sticky situation when it comes to the topic of George and Charlotte, the two royal children. As a reporter, you understand the privacy those children deserve, but at the same time, you know it's your job to give the public what they want....and the public holds a deep interest into the lives of the royal family, including the toddlers. "There's criticism with Charlotte," Victoria Arbiter explains. "On the one hand, you have to respect a two-year-old child should be afforded privacy. But at the same time she is a princess of the United Kingdom, she is going to have a senior level royal role, and the British public has a right to be interested in her. Sometimes, there's a stubbornness to a fault—where, if they could just trickle out a little bit more, it would stop the negative press."
3 The prince knows how to party
Prince Harry once had the reputation for being the ultimate party boy. To be fair, he was a teenager, and, like any teenage boy, he deserved to embrace his youth and have fun. Many reporters shamed him for his ways. Nicholl, on the other hand, remembers his partying ways with fondness. She doesn't seem fazed by it at all. "I’ll always remember seeing Harry dancing on the table at a Boujis after-party in a pair of white trousers, champagne bottle in hand," Nicholl says. "That prince knows how to party." But she also ensures she stands up to facts and always gets a second source before submitting anything. ''In the past I’ve been told about girls Prince Harry has been dating and I’ve chosen not to run the story until the romance is established, or more often than not, over,'' she explains.
2 The Queen remains aloof
After working as a royal correspondent for well over a decade, you'd have thought Jennie Bond would have been getting weekly invites around the Queen's for tea. It turns out, she and the Queen were anything but BFFs. In spite of Bond's notoriety and endless acquaintances with Her Majesty, the Queen barely acknowledged her. "I met the Queen only about twice a year and the only time we entered her presence was at a media reception,'' Bond recalls. ''You don't get to talk a great deal with the Queen - it is all very superficial.'' Bond once recalled an incident that occurred in South Korea: "I know it is very hard for the Queen to make small talk with the thousands of people she meets every year," she says. "But obviously she does know who I am - yet she shook my hand and said, 'Oh, have you come here specially?' I felt like saying, 'Oh no, I just happened to be in South Korea.'"
1 One reporter's favorite memory
Every royal reporters must have his or her own personal favorite memory. When they spend so much time covering the royal family's everyday doings, there must have been a favourite moment. Larcombe has many. ''I’ve traveled to every continent doing the royal job which is extremely lucky. It is a privilege to get access to the royals,'' he admits. ''You’re still not really seeing them in their natural environment, they keep that completely out of view, but it’s quite fun to have Prince Harry taking the mickey out of you in a bar. I’ve got fond memories.'' But Larcombe's most moving moments was at the royal wedding. ''I was sat there with the feeling that quite literally you’re watching history unfold in front of you. I’ll never forget that day."