Prince William is met with “earsplitting shrieks” from teenage girls and a knowing look from his grandfather Prince Philip in a video clip that has gone viral on TikTok.
The Prince of Wales was days off turning 20 when Queen Elizabeth II marked her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace in their thousands.
There were cheers and applause as the queen and her husband looked out over the mass of people and flags, but William and Prince Harry’s arrival on the world-famous balcony sent supporters into overdrive.
A TikTok video of the moment has been liked 560,000 times and viewed 3 million times after it drew attention to Prince Philip’s response.
The royal, then aged 80, appeared to do a double take before looking over his shoulder to speak to his grandchildren.
On-screen captions read: “Everyone celebrating queen’s jubilee. Everyone starts screaming for William.” It then, jokingly adds: “Prince Philip’s reaction: I can’t do this anymore.”
One reply read, “Prince William used to be so FINEEE,” while another fan wrote: “The way Prince William smirked he KNEW IT.”
The fan reaction to Prince William’s entrance was noted in the media at the time when it was compared to the frenzy around the world’s biggest popstars.
A write-up of the moment in the Daily Express in 2002 read: “Young girls in bright yellow T-shirts, who had taken part in a stunning parade, hurled themselves at the railings and became ecstatic, near hysterical even, when Prince William and Prince Harry joined their grandmother on the balcony.
“‘William, William, William,’ they chanted as if screeching for a pop star. The young Prince leaned forward and smiled and directed his gaze towards the most vociferous group who were, by now, welded to the railings.
“He smiled and waved—and these 15-year-old girls responded with yet more earsplitting shrieks. Suddenly in the distance there came the roar of military aircraft.”
In Harry’s memoir, Spare, he noted the sharp contrast between the joyous scenes at the jubilee and the family’s grief after the death of the Queen Mother in March 2002.
He wrote: “Strange, after so much mourning, to just…party. But months later came the Golden Jubilee. Fiftieth anniversary of Granny’s reign.
“Over four days that summer of 2002, Willy and I were constantly pulling on another set of smart clothes, jumping into another black car, rushing to yet another venue for another party or parade, reception or gala.
“Britain was intoxicated. People did jigs in the streets, sang from balconies and rooftops. Everyone wore some version of the Union Jack. In a nation known for its reticence, this was a startling expression of unbridled joy.”
William Brown is Regalrumination.com‘s chief royal correspondent based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @TheCrownUp and read his stories on Regalrumination.com’s The Royals Facebook page.
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