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updated: 11/16/2010 8:57 PM

Suburban tourists caught up in royal engagement

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Kelly and Jeff Bolyard were among a few dozen tourists getting photos outside Buckingham Palace's gates Tuesday morning when journalists descended on the London landmark and a helicopter began circling overhead.

Kelly's first thought was uh-oh what's happened now?

But the flurry of activity was to hail the news of the engagement of British heir to the throne Prince William to Kate Middleton, his longtime girlfriend. The reporters were eager for tourists' reactions, said Kelly Bolyard, Daily Herald assistant vice president/director of digital development. The Elgin couple was visiting London for a delayed birthday trip.

"We were at Buckingham Palace and Jeff was taking a picture of me at the gate and a guy from the Daily Telegraph came up and said, 'What do you think about the news?' The tourists didn't know. You could hear everyone say, 'Oh, really?'"

"Then AP came, and the London Times. We were the only Americans at the gate. They wanted to know how Americans felt about the royal family. Jeff said we think it's great. We don't have a royal family, so it's wonderful.

"They wanted to know about what we thought about Will and Kate. They asked, 'Because of Charles' and Diane's marriage, do you think they'll have problems, because they've already had a few breakups?'"

"I said, 'I'm happy for Prince William and Kate and I hope they find all the happiness in their marriage and all the love his mom would have wanted for his marriage," said Kelly.

The engagement was the talk of London for the rest of the day, Kelly said. "At Westminster you could hear people talking about it, and at the London Eye. It was more of a buzz once the later edition of the newspapers came out."

It was fun to be part of the celebration, Kelly said. "We've had such a good time. Wow how serendipitous to be there on that day."

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