Julie Bertrand / Independent reporter
While other Wm. E. Hay grads were enjoying the beginning of summer in early July, Olivia Clutterbuck was looking around for a big purse.
Why a big purse?
She had been invited by Drumheller-Stettler MLA and Minister of Agriculture Jack Hayden to the reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, held at the Enmax Conservatory in the Calgary Zoo and she did not want to fold the formal invite she had received.
“We met a few years ago when I attended MLA For a Day,” explained Olivia Clutterbuck.
While she was there, she explained to Hayden that her great-grandfather had been the head stonemason during the construction of the Alberta Legislature Building. He had also carved the original coat of arms that used to hang above the Speaker’s chair.
Unfortunately, it had disappeared in 1980s after the government had replaced it.
“Hayden got really into that. We spent about a year and a half working together to find it,” said Clutterbuck.
“It was relocated and Hayden has been working hard to make sure it gets put on display somewhere.”
As Hayden was at a meeting in New Brunswick with other provincial ministers of agriculture, he decided to send his daughter-in-law Lindsey and Olivia.
On July 8, both Lindsay and Olivia made their way to the conservatory, where they joined an excited crowd of more than 200 people.
“It was crazy. It was really intense with all the politicians there and on top of that, all the guests they had invited,” remembered Clutterbuck.
“There were some elbows being thrown to determine who could see the duke and duchess and be closest to them.”
Clutterbuck, who is petite, found a good spot at the front of the barricade.
However, one couple disagreed with her choice.
“All of a sudden, I got this tap on my shoulder and the man asked if I was a member of a certain family,” said Clutterbuck.
“When I answered no, he told me I was not allowed there.”
She made her way to back of the group along with Lindsey, still happy because she saw that nobody was respecting the no-camera rule for guests.
“I pulled my camera out and I used it to see for the first little bit,” said Clutterbuck.
The formal invite had intimated that business attire was mandatory. However, it turns out that guests had a wide and varied definition of the dress code.
“There were some people wearing their cowboy boots with blue jeans and Stetsons. I guess it was appropriate seeing as the royal couple just had come from the Stampede,” said Clutterbuck.
“There were others that wore cocktail dresses. The clothes went from one extreme to the other.”
After the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had walked in their vicinity, Clutterbuck and Hayden went back to the front of the conservatory, where they ran into MLA for Leduc-Beaumont-Devon George Rogers. Clutterbuck had previously met Rogers.
“I asked one of his guests if they could take my camera and get some pictures because they were taller obviously,” she explained.
“When Rogers heard me talking, he said that since I was short, I should get out front with him. I got to be right at the front and it is because of that that I got to shake Prince William’s hand.”
As the royal couple was due at the airport, they made their way back to the entrance, still greeting guests.
“Prince William said, “Hello Olivia, pleasure to meet you.” I was freaking out on the inside,” said Clutterbuck.
“I said, “It is a pleasure to meet you too, Prince William. Thank you for choosing Canada.” Then, he moved on to the next person.”
The Stettler teen is full of compliments about the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge.
“Prince William still has it. He is very tall,” said Clutterbuck.
“Kate is equally tall. She looks very healthy. She is just a very fit person, I think.”
Clutterbuck admitted being on an adrenaline high for the rest of the day.
“Thank you Jack Hayden, because he definitely made my summer in many ways by inviting me,” she said.
“What normal teenager that just graduated high school gets to meet royalty at a private reception?”