Taxi driver’s de­light at driv­ing Mid­dle­tons home

An in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence, but ‘they didn’t leave a tip’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE -

LON­DON: The taxi driver who picked up Ca­role and Michael Mid­dle­ton af­ter they met their grand­son for the first time has re­vealed they didn’t leave a tip.

But Tracy Mitchell still in­sists that es­cort­ing them from St Mary’s Hos­pi­tal was an “in­cred­i­ble” ex­pe­ri­ence.

She was called to the hos­pi­tal’s pri­vate ma­ter­nity ward by a third party, and re­alised the iden­tity of her pas­sen­gers only when she ar­rived. Upon be­ing briefed by a press of­fi­cer, she said: “I wish I’d known – I’d have done my hair”.

The 49-year-old said Mr Mid­dle­ton tried to pay the £15 (R225) fare when they ar­rived back at Kens­ing­ton Palace – but was told it had been paid in ad­vance. He did not, how­ever, of­fer a tip.

“They chat­ted amongst them­selves, and she spent much of the jour­ney on the phone,” Mitchell said. “When we got to the other end I con­grat­u­lated them on the ar­rival. They said ‘ thank you very much’. Very down-to-earth peo­ple, they seemed. She was kind of be­wil­dered by it all.”

The taxi driver said Mrs Mid­dle­ton spoke dur­ing the 15-minute jour­ney of be­ing “over­whelmed” by the ex­pe­ri­ence. Mitchell re­sponded jok­ily: “Imag­ine what it was like for me as the taxi driver!”

Mrs Mid­dle­ton replied that she was “re­ally sorry”, but Mitchell laughed off the apol­ogy, adding: “No, no, it was very ex­cit­ing for me”.

The driver – and her dis­tinc­tive bright blue cab – could be seen in news footage of the Mid­dle­tons emerg­ing from the hos­pi­tal that was broad­cast around the world.

She has driven Lily Allen, Ju­lian Clary and Rus­sell Grant since tak­ing the wheel last year – but de­scribed the Mid­dle­tons as “the best”.

“It was in­cred­i­ble,” Mitchell said. “I mean, pick­ing up the fu­ture king’s grand­par­ents… it doesn’t get much bet­ter than that. It wasn’t un­til I got there that I was told it was Kate’s mum and dad I was pick­ing up. You re­ally could have knocked me down with a feather, to be hon­est with you. I was re­ally quite taken aback.”

She had an­swered a call at about 4pm on Tues­day, and was told to re­port to the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s in Padding­ton, West Lon­don, where the duchess had given birth the pre­vi­ous day.

Mitchell, who had ini­tially been told she would be pick­ing up some­one called Danielle, was then called by a press of­fi­cer, ask­ing what car she was driv­ing and what colour it was.

“It didn’t dawn on me that it could be any­one to do with (the birth) or Kate’s mum and dad,’ Mitchell said. She took one more fare af­ter drop­ping off the Mid­dle­tons – and then en­joyed a cel­e­bra­tory bot­tle of beer at home.

The Mid­dle­tons them­selves were soon en­ter­tain­ing the new prince. The Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge, and their new ar­rival, are now stay­ing at the fam­ily’s home in Buck­le­bury, Berk­shire.

Mean­while, the new grand­par­ents’ com­pany, Party Pieces, is al­ready ad­ver­tis­ing its baby-themed wares on Face­book with a pic­ture pro­claim­ing: “It’s a boy”.

The photo shows off sev­eral prod­ucts from the cou­ple’s “christening” and “new baby” ranges, in­clud­ing a rock­ing-horse cake stand for £11.99 (R180).

The Mid­dle­tons have been ac­cused of cash­ing in on their daugh­ter’s royal sta­tus sev­eral times be­fore; their firm launched royal- themed prod­ucts ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge’s wed­ding in 2011, and the di­a­mond ju­bilee a year later.

A com­pany spokesman said: “Party Pieces has spe­cialised in par­ties to mark chil­dren’s births for over 26 years… Our ac­knowl­edg­ment of the birth is en­tirely ap­pro­pri­ate and en­tirely in fit­ting with our cus­tomers’ joy­fully re­ceived mes­sages of con­grat­u­la­tions.” – Daily Mail

PROUD GRAND­PAR­ENTS: Michael and Ca­role Mid­dle­ton leave St Mary’s Hos­pi­tal the day af­ter their daugh­ter, Cather­ine, gave birth to a baby boy.

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