'Perfect storm' of calamity brewing at London theater before royals arrived
December 9th, 2010
08:52 PM ET

'Perfect storm' of calamity brewing at London theater before royals arrived

A perfect storm of royal watchers, Christmas shoppers, police and rioters was brewing near the London Palladium theater by the time Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrived Thursday night.

Given the circumstances, all it took was the right timing and an iPhone for a CNNI executive producer to capture some of the first video of the royal couple after protesters had attacked their car.

Of course, it probably also helped that CNN’s London bureau is right around the corner from the theater, Geoff Hill acknowledged.

The scene was chaotic before the royals arrived at the West End theater,  near the Oxford Street shopping district in central London. In a part of the city already swelled with tourists and Christmas shoppers, royal watchers had been gathering throughout the day to catch a glimpse of those attending the Royal Variety Performance, an annual holiday season gala attended by senior members of the monarchy.

Add to the mix scores of rioters with police close by, and you had a “perfect storm” of calamity, Hill said.

The CNNI executive producer had stepped out of the office to meet a producer on the corner and pick up video from the day’s protests.

Then, it appeared: “The unmistakable arrival of a very important person. The police outriders were there, the blue lights, and then the royal car,” he said.

He immediately knew where they were headed and ran around the corner to head them off. As he squeezed through the crowd, he saw Charles’ and Camilla’s faces and then he noticed a large splatter of green paint on the back of the Rolls Royce and cracked glass on the window on Charles’ side.

“I realized, oh my God, the royal couple’s car had been attacked. I’d never seen anything like that before,” he said.

The crowd of gawkers also seemed shocked by the scene of the royals under attack, he said.

“It was unbelievably chaotic, incredibly batty. People were gasping because they could see it was Charles and Camilla, and they could see that the car was damaged,” he said. “These people were waiting all day to take pictures of celebrities. I think they were kind of blissfully unaware of the demonstrations that had been happening. I don’t think they understood that the demonstrations had made it this far into the city.”

By this time, he had taken out his iPhone and begun to record the scene. As he raced back to the bureau to get the video on air, a CNN breaking news alert flashed on his iPhone, notifying him of what he’d just seen.

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Filed under: Protest • United Kingdom
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Nice. Not a subject of any particular interest to me but a much more aptly written story. Clean, concise, and even clever enough to hold interest. Refreshing. Well done Ms. Grinberg.

    December 9, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • ::::::::::: Facebook Search Engine ::: http://x.co/L84R

      often, the royals don't know what really happens the world... this time, they know it... 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      December 9, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ::::::::::: Facebook Search Engine ::: http://x.co/L84R

    grammar edit: often, the royals don't know what really happens in the world... this time, they have known it...

    December 9, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NelsonTheBully

    Haha Charles and Bowels the Duchess of Movements. Speaking of which.... BRB

    December 9, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mmmmm

    The banks are taking over the whole world and causing civil unrest!

    December 10, 2010 at 4:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Protoman

      My only hope is that the angry mob doesn't tear up their own neighborhoods. Any vigilante justice should be aimed squarely at the corrupt officials and corporate thieves who sold out their own country in order to add a couple zeros to their salary. A little organized chaos might be a good thing. Targeting your neighbors will play into the hands of the power establishment by allowing them to dismiss the disgruntled as hooligans. I've never heard of anyone being able to triple tuition costs. I think they saw what Americans pay for college and didn't want to be outdone. French Revolution part deux is on it's way if these crooks don't quit their games.

      December 10, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff

    yawn...roll out the tumbrils.

    December 10, 2010 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. Nappy head adult

    goshhhh! Dont the ppl understand there IS a royal wedding to pay for!! I understand they aint cheap!! Mine was $55 at the JOP!!!!!

    December 10, 2010 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dak

    Picture Caption:

    Man...that had to have been one large pigeon!

    December 10, 2010 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. phil

    We The People would have already revolted if we could affor another Revolution. We had to borrow money from the Banc of France for our first revolution. And I don't see any financiers lining up to lend US what a true rebellion would cost. Nope, all we will see are these tiny flare-ups, and governments will snuff them out one by one until they are no more. Virtually everyone will cave in as surely as virtually every German caved in to Hitler. The only free persons remaining will be those who answer to a higher law than that provided by governments.

    December 10, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Protoman

      Phil I agree with your answering to a higher power statement, but the rest is misguided. Americans are armed to the teeth already. I asked my brother who was fairly high in Marine pecking order if the military would ever take the side of the government in another civil war and he assured me that they wouldn't. Stop thinking people would need to organize into one massive army because they wouldn't. Guerrilla hit and run campaigns against a few of the crooked politicians and corporate thieves would scare them enough to change (one would hope). One of the reasons we have the second amendment is to have a check against the type of corruption that has been building for some time.

      December 10, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. TeeJay

    It appears that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. The Royals are so insulated from reality that they have had no clue until now, how unhappy the people really are. The Chinese are about to have another Tienemen Square over the Nobel Peace Prize. Not looking good at all.

    December 10, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Protoman

      People are more educated and connected to one another with technology. The youth in China and Iran know they are being treated like slaves. The people in supposedly free countries know that their destiny and livelihood are being sold to the highest bidder and sent overseas. It's good to demand more from those who live off the people's generous tax supplied salary. Maybe the world was already in a hand basket and the people want better.

      December 10, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |