(July 7, 2010) – It started with a formal email invitation, and wound up being a moment that they will treasure forever. Canada’s Olympic and World ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were invited by the Prime Minister’s Office to the state dinner in honour of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on Monday evening in Toronto.
One rented tux, a gorgeous green dress and a major power outage later, they were seated at the head table, and enjoyed dinner with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal York Hotel.
Tessa shared a few thoughts about how the special day unfolded!
Sunday night – 9:30 p.m.
It was surprising enough to receive an invitation from the Prime Minister to meet the Queen of England and The Duke of Edinburgh, but on the eve of the big event, we got an official invitation to join the Royals at the HEAD TABLE! WOW! We were floored! What an incredible honour - but what could we have possibly done to deserve this privilege??!!!
Scott rented a tux - very 007; classic and sharp. So after picking that up - and waiting while the sleeves were lengthened - we were on our way to Toronto for the big adventure. Scott was driving and we had the tunes blaring – even our new free dance music was on the CD I made for the trip. We made good time, probably because there was very little traffic (not because Scott was driving fast J) -- we even had time to grab lunch at East Side Mario's beside our hotel – The Intercontinental. Everything was going smoothly! Until.....
…immediately after I got out of the shower - before blow-drying my hair - the power went out!!!! Getting ready without much light and sans hair appliances was challenging to say the least. Of all times for a power outage!!! Scott and I have a little experience handling stress and managed to pull ourselves together as you can see in the photos!!! Off we marched, in the sweltering heat, across the street to the Royal York.
We registered and entered an opulent grand ballroom. At this point my main concern shifted to not spilling anything on my dress and to not tripping. There was a sophisticated reception abuzz with glamorous guests – we met so many distinguished people! It was great to see one of our friends, Jennifer Heil, Olympic mogul skier and reminisce about the Games!
The time came to proceed through the receiving line - Prime Minister Harper, Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Mrs. Harper. Hand shake, curtsy/bow, curtsy/bow, hand shake - did that really just happen?????
Dinner was incredible - we were two of ten people at the head table. This once-in-a lifetime experience was better than I ever dreamed it could be - the grace, charm and kindness expressed by Her Majesty and His Royal Highness was astonishing and heart-warming!
The Canadian Tenors performed three songs after dessert- the energy in the room was so united and electrifying! The night ended with the Tenors singing O Canada and everyone joining in. What a proud moment! Scott and I were absolutely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the entire evening!!!
We exited the Royal York Hotel on cloud nine (and carrying Your Majesty The Queen and Your Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh's place cards from the dinner table). We'd met so many inspirational people and experienced something most people only dream about!
Scott added his thoughts about the event as well.
“Oh my, it was an unbelievable evening. Of course Tessa looked stunning in her green dress and it was such an honour to be seated at the same table as Her Majesty, His Royal Highness and The Right Honourable Stephen Harper. I really enjoyed the company of General Walter Natynczyk who had fascinating stories about inspiring our troops overseas and his experiences with the Snowbirds. The whole evening went by so quickly and it was just another opportunity for us to realize how lucky we are to be Canadian and celebrate that with The Queen of Canada herself!”
Tessa and Scott couldn’t take a camera into the actual dinner, but took these photos by camera phone prior to leaving for the event.
Scott in his 007 tuxedo
Tessa is stunning in green
The two ready to meet the royals.