Canada’s Top 20 Under 20: The Real Will and Kate

Shaaz Nasir

This is the second instalment of our Series on Anoop and Adam, the Top 20 under 20 in Canada. We continue with Anoop as after our discussion she had to get ready for the prestigious Rideau Hall event with the new Royal Couple.

Rideau Hall Gathering 

I was absolutely honoured when I got an e-mail and spoke to someone in the office of the Governor General that invited me to the event on June 30th. It was a complete surprise and it was lovely to hear that six other Top 20 under 20ers were invited. Even though I lived in Coquitlam (Vancouver, BC), I knew I had to get the funds to fly over as this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Initially, I was not told that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were going to be guests at the event. I was absolutely ecstatic as I found this out as I read the official invitation. I had my outfit planned out – a white dress and a black blazer as some of my friends that idolized Kate helped me choose my outfit. Entering Rideau Hall was a unique experience as we went through the gates and showed some very important people our invitations.

When we walked in and got our name tags, we went outside to a beautiful decor and started mingling with the other 120 exceptional young Canadians.

Then it happened, it started to rain.

Unfortunately, we had to move inside for plan B which wasn’t as extravagant and planned out as Plan A. There were no more spread out tables to sit in and we were moved inside a room where we had to stand at tall round tables and squish in as we waited for the royal couple to arrive. It was really comforting to have a couple of my fellow Top 20ers beside me at my table. As we mingled around – I met one of my idols Craig Keilburger which I got to discuss my project with. It was amazing too look up to someone and finally get to meet them. As the doors opened, we saw the beautiful royal couple, the Prime Minster, Laureen Harper, the Governor General, Sharon Johnston and others.

They went around to different tables in pairs, for example, Kate Middleton and Steven Harper went together. Kate was the first one to come to our section and I felt as though I had no more saliva left since I kept on swallowing when I saw her come over. It was completely surreal shaking her hand. I thought that they would have just shaken our hands and moved on but that wasn’t the case at all. Kate listened to some stories from project HELLO, heard about what it was and she also asked questions regarding how the parents feel when they get these phone calls. It was so surreal when she said “that’s wonderful” after I first explained the project.I loved sharing the story of project HELLO with everyone that I never imagined would hear about it.

William was engaged as well as I explained what my name tag said.

When someone came to him to move him along since the time was getting strained, he didn’t stop listening to me and move along – he listened to the guider and then turned back to me so that we could finish our conversation. He seemed so passionate and it showed a lot of character how he didn’t follow the structure and move on. He treated everyone equal and let me have my time.

I was pulled aside and told that I was chosen to give the royal highnesses a gift at the end of the event – after we take the group photo. I was completely shocked and taken off guard.

There were three people chosen – one to give the gift to the prime mister, one to the governor general and one to the royal couple. I was placed near the side of the group photo so that it would be easy for me to pull out and present the gift at the end. After we got the signal, I went up to the couple with a CD (presumably a highlight of their times at Rideau Hall – a souvenir).

They both reached their hands out and I ONLY HAD ONE CD.

I honestly cannot remember who took it but I put it between them to choose.  Rideau Hall was an event that I will never forget and it was a true honour. William and Kate are genuine people and they could have gone around quickly but they took their time with everyone, asked questions and were really engaged even though they had such a long day and many more to come.


Next in the hit series “Canada’s Top 20 under 20” we will have an in-depth interview on the projects Adam is working on and his current adventure in Berlin!  Much more to come.