Meeting Prince Charles

October 02, 2015

By Dr. David Olshine

Professor of Youth Ministry, Family, and Culture

A serendipitous moment happened on May 26. I met Prince Charles.

This past spring I was on a Sabbatical study leave from Columbia International University. My family travelled to Europe where I taught at Cliff College and we explored the small towns of England, before sailing to Croatia, Athens, Greece and Ephesus in Turkey.

Following my first weekend of teaching, and speaking at a British Jesus festival, my wife Rhonda Weisman Olshine wanted us to visit the Hatfield House, a country house built in 1611.

When we arrived, the sad news was given that the home was closed for the day, but that we could walk around the property with its beautiful gardens, paths and a courtyard with shoppes, cafes and pubs.

We noticed secret service all over the place, so being curious, I asked what was going on. "Prince Charles will be coming shortly to visit." I am thinking, "Wow, a chance to meet Prince Charles, he's going to be thrilled to meet me (just teasing)."

Our short wait turned from 30 minutes to over an hour and a half. And then, to our gleeful surprise, enters Prince Charles and his entourage.

The Prince went into one of the shoppes, and then came out the other side of the store, in which my son Andrew and I were positioned to say hello. He looked out us, put his hand out toward mine, and we shook hands. (I was not sure if you are to touch royalty.)

We spoke for less than a minute. He asked me who I was, where I was from and how long we were going to be in the U.K. I explained that "I am from America, was teaching in the Peak district and would be taking a cruise to the Adriatic seas the following week."

And yet I could not resist one last comment, so I piped in, "The real reason I came here to England was to meet you." His response was priceless, "Well, you've come to the right place." We both laughed, and that was our spontaneous meeting with Prince Charles.