The British Royal Family are in the news at least once a week, after Prince Phillip’s death and Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah, make that everyday. When I hear of the royal family, I can’t help but think back to the shocking turn of events that precipitated when Meghan and Harry visited my high school as royalty.
I spent my entire first week of year 12 not in class but in my school’s dance studio, rehearsing for a ‘special performance’ that Friday as part of the dance ensemble. We were told that it would be part of a media release for the Department of Education and the NSW Premier would be visiting, but we knew nothing else.
Soon enough though, the Daily Mail leaked that the (ex) Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be visiting Macarthur Girls High School, and by Thursday night screenshots of the news flooded the Snapchat stories of everyone at the school. Group chats went off with “OMG GUYS!”, “NO WAY IS THIS LEGIT”.
Suddenly there was an explanation for why this dance was prioritised over year 12 classes, why the SRC spent roll call picking BluTac off the walls, and why our groundskeeper was planting new flowers all over the school. It explained why we were told to polish our shoes, have tidy uniforms and be ready to present our ID card to get past security into school the next morning.
After a week of rain, the sun finally showed, and it beat down relentlessly; so much that the black lino flooring was covered in paint rags and towels to try and keep it cool. But once the media and helicopters arrived, the covering was removed in fear that it would be a bad look for the school. The staff knew the lino flooring would be hot after the Premier’s speech, but said we would be fine and that blue gel packs would be ready for us. It sounded like warm sand, and we didn’t think much of it.
As I stood there waiting for my cue in the music I felt a tingling of heat and pins and needles, which soon developed into a feeling so hot that it was numb, like someone was pinching my skin with an industrial clamp. I wanted to run off, but there were cameras everywhere, a helicopter, and Meghan and Harry sitting right in front of us on wooden lunch benches that were painted brown to cover the mold.
We danced barefoot to the point of second-degree burns. If you touch a hot pan you drop it and run your hand under cold water, but our feet were not afforded such luxury. I wanted to get my feet off the damn lino, but instead I had to ignore that instinct with the entire world watching, and just let them burn.
A couple of us were in tears half way through the routine. The dance was terrible, and after three minutes of bare feet on a hot iron, we ran to the sick bay with snotty tears and burning soles. I didn’t anticipate the burns to be so bad until we took our feet out of the ice buckets and saw the huge blisters all over them. The food tech teachers frantically emptied freezers for any ice they could find, because blue gel packs weren’t going to cut it.
It was hysterical. As eight of us crammed into a sick bay with three chairs, one of the event managers told us to cry quietly so that the media wouldn’t hear us. He gave us the obligatory, “beautiful performance, girls” comment, and that was the last we heard from the organising team. We never filled out an incident form.
Sitting with our feet in buckets of iced water, we scrolled through our phones to see if we made it onto any sites, and found a video of our performance on the Kensington Royal Instagram. People commented, “Why are they crying?”, with replies assuming we were “feeling the emotion in the music”, until a student commented, “they burnt their feet because the floor was hot”.
“This post is no longer available.” It was deleted in minutes.