As Royal Wedding fervour reaches fever pitch, the young couple will be spending their last night apart. Prince Harry may for a moment, reflect on some of his previous relationships, before being jubilant that in Meghan Markle, he has met his match. But wind the clock back four years to 18 May, when Prince Harry was representing Great Britain at the 70th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino…
There, in Italy at the Polish cemetery, he may well have been on the look out for a new girlfriend. He had after all, just split up with Cressida Bonas. Sadly for him, as you can see in the photo, (courtesy of the Daily Mail), I’m set on ignoring him, despite his gaze towards me. If only I’d realised! I was totally oblivious! There as part of the delegation of the Polish Scouting Association (UK Region), I had been chosen to accompany the officials presenting wreaths. For many of us, this was a very emotional event, with family members like my uncle Roman Kisiel who had fought there in the tank regiment and lost close friends, laid to rest forever on Italian soil.
Meanwhile back in the UK, watching the ceremony on TV Polonia was my husband. At least he was keeping a beady eye on Prince Harry’s moves as he seemingly got closer!
But I had eyes only for Donald Tusk, the then Prime Minister of Poland who I had the honour to assist in presenting the official wreath from the Polish government.
It is amazing what different camera angles can achieve. I obviously knew Prince Harry was at the event. We had watched the official cars shoot up the hill as our coach waited to be allowed in, but I had no idea that Prince Harry was so close to me. We were late arriving for the ceremony and as I lined up, I was anxiously negotiating with the young scouts from Poland to my right, what we were to do and when. We got no instructions so had to make it up as we went along.
Whilst I’m having a bit of fun given the imminent royal wedding, this anniversary of 18th May is always a sombre occasion. If you’d like to know more about the battle of Monte Cassino in 1944 and what it meant for the Poles as well as the Allies’ final break through the Gustav line to get to Rome, read my blogpost: They really did believe.
Sadly reader, I never got to meet Prince Harry. He was whisked off to a lunch straight after, to which we scouts were belatedly invited but no one had organised the transport, so by the time we had returned to our coaches, it was too late. However we were all really pleased that this lucky lady from our group, Jagoda Kaczorowska, did meet him and was clearly delighted by it.
Polish at Heart wishes Prince Harry and Meghan a long and happy marriage.