Katie Couric and the Queen: My Brush With Fame

by | May 21, 2012 | Uncategorized

We stand at the gilded rod iron gates just yards away from generations of royalty, watching people come in and out of a slight side door at Buckingham Palace. H and I wonder who they might be, what kind of people would be walking out of the palace.  Because don’t we want to be the one carrying an invitation to sit in the presence of the distinguished, the famous, the notable?

And (James and John) said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand, and one at your left, to your glory.” ~Matthew 20:21

I remark to H that the group of trench coats leaving the palace and walking the narrow grass-lined pathway toward the gates, they must have come to the palace to conduct business.

He’s not sure about my assumption.

“The lady in the orange dress looks like a young Katie Couric,” he remarks.

“What a minute, I think that is Katie Couric,” I exclaim as she walks closer.

I run over to get a better look as she enters the common crowds poking faces between bars of majesty. When I see it is her,  I say “Hello Katie.” She turns toward me and smiles tilted head. Returns the hello and remarks to her co-worker that the Americans know who she is.

It is obvious there aren’t many of us standing around the palace grounds.

She makes her way to the ‘wedding cake’ monument followed by an entourage holding cameras, computers, combs and hairspray. And I feel like I am standing outside of Rockefeller Center in New York in the 90’s, when she co-anchored the Today Show. Except the crowd standing around her are just H and I, three women from Ohio and a few curious tourists.

Cameras roll and she stops mid-sentence, smiles when the wind moves her blond wisps blanket over her face.  She starts all over again, until a military truck rumbles by.

She waves smiling at the soldiers, waits for the crew to cue up the script, then walks toward the camera like these conversations with metal are as common as brushing her teeth. When the cameras stop she laughs, says she sounds like a host from Entertainment Tonight, and throws a two fingered peace sign over at the three star-struck women.

I think about the irony of the connection to a piece of home standing in front of Buckingham Palace. How it seems more exciting to bump into the person I met with sleepy eyes on most mornings, for what seems a decade. More wonder in this brush with fame, than a glimpse of that famous balcony of the first public kiss of promise.

How we all dream of connections with the famous, to stand in their shoes one day and Jesus says we don’t understand what we ask for when we desire fame.

“ . . . . but to sit at my right hand or my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those whom it is prepared . . . But whoever will be great among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give life as a ransom for many. ~Matthew 20:23, 27-28

I feel small standing there watching fame’s preparation. My heart bows low because I have asked for much, served little, while He gave all. And He knew I would intersect with Katie Couric at the Queen’s palace that day. So I could see past the mirage and understand the price of fame.

Katie’s interviews with Prince William and Prince Harry will air on ABC for a special called “The Real Queen By Her Own Royal Family” on May 29.

Counting gifts with Ann today for Multitudes on Monday:

  • For the way He teaches me how to live through the unexpected.
  • For my camera, the 1,000+ photos I took on our trip to England and Scotland.
  • Sun kissed skin from a Sabbath on the beach
  • Lunch with friends while rain fell buckets outside – five inches while we ate.
  • End of year school projects finished.
  • For a text on the way to church from a friend to say the scripture from yesterday is written on the family message board.

Linking Monday with Playdates with God, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, Miscellany Monday, and on Tuesday with Soli Deo Gloria, On Your Heart Tuesday, Just Write.


Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. cbuxton03

    What a blessing when God helps us see past the mirage – to see clearly; not dimly, as we so often do here and now. What a blessing that your eyes and mind were open to the lessons unfolding before you, and what a blessing that you share it with us. Thank you 🙂

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Courtney. My time travelling brought much perspective on things I take for granted. Trying to listen while I enjoy what He creates. Glad you stopped by.

  2. toshowthemjesus

    I had similar thoughts when we visited the palace, only no Katie when we were there:) I love how you brought it back to Christ and what fame really means. I’ve so enjoyed reading the stories from your trip!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think you and I would make good travel partners Christina. Its been fun talking about my trip with you, realizing we think about things in a similar way.

  3. Pamela

    Love the lesson God blessed you with. And your pictures, too. Hope we get to see some more of those 1,000!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I just hope people don’t tire of them, I took so many. Glad you enjoyed.

  4. Beth

    My son was writing about this kind of idea the other day. We get so caught up in doing big things for God that we forget to simply be faithful. Your Matthew passage sums it all up, Shelly. We should long to be servants rather than celebrities … but still it was nice that you got to meet her. 🙂 Bottom line – we’re all special in God’s eyes and kingdom! Great words and pictures!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Its a tight rope we walk, wanting to be successful and not getting so caught up in the pursuit that we forget to follow the one orchestrating it all. How fun knowing your son is a writer too Beth.

  5. Lynn Morrissey

    What deep insights, Kelly, about true fame and the price of it. As Christians, our only desire should be to spread the fame and name of Christ to a dying world who does not know Him. I loved your line about Katie’s quick hello, after which she said to her coworker (likely thinking she couldn’t be heard), the “Americans know who I am.” And I thought, even though not everyone knows who Jesus is, He knows who we are, individually. And despite that He knows about our utter sinfulness, He loves us so lavishly that He gave His life for us. Serendipitous to this post, I had just read this morning in John 12 where a dinner was being given in Bethany at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Scripture said they gave it in “Jesus’ honor.” Honoring Jesus prompted Mary to lavish on Him an entire pint of pure, expensive nard (worth a full year’s wages), pouring it with abandon on Jesus’ feet. It seems to me that a brush with true fame, the fame of Christ, will cause us, as you said, to honor Him by bowing low and sacrificing all we have and all we are for Him! Brushes with His fame bring humility.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Beautiful insights on being captivated by Christ Lynn. Thanks for sharing your devotion with me, it is appropriate to my thinking in this post. And I love the way you brought out how we are not known by many, yet Christ knows each one of us. Deep truth to remember. Thank you.

  6. kd sullivan

    How fun! It is odd when you have a connection with home when you least expect it isn’t it?

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I remember being in England one time with my mother when I was young and thought I saw a friend in the park and then remembered that I wasn’t in the US, nowhere close to home. Your comment reminded me of that time for some reason.

  7. r.elliott

    Your post makes me think of the Hymn…This is my Father’s world…He does speak to us everywhere…in those most unexpected ways. I think you are so right…we don’t know what we ask…envy and covetous are dangerous. love this post…blessings~

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Sometimes I think I really have very little wisdom about what I need. I’m just trying to listen, stay tuned in to His voice.

  8. illumylife by Joy

    Our culture seems obsessed with celebrities and American idols. Your quote from Matthew is so true, We have no idea of the consequences of what we long for in this world. Only God can see the future and know what is best and thankfully He doesn’t always give us our desires. Loved your pictures and looking forward to more posts about your trip.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It kind of takes any pressure off of us to succeed. He chooses how we influence, as much as we think its somehow in our control. Thanks for your kind words, hope you’ll come back for more about my trip this week.

  9. Kelli Parker Becton

    enjoying your photo’s – mine are tucked away somewhere in a box from before the digital age 😉 what a fun experience and I love how you take every life experience and relate it to what God is showing you – thanks for sharing

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Kelli, I took so many that it is hard to choose for posts. I just want to share them all. Thanks for your encouragement, glad you see it that way.

  10. Lynn Morrissey

    Thank you for your kind words and, of course, you realized I had meant SHELLY, not Kelly! Ugh! It was early when I posted, but how lovely to awake to your meaningful post.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      No worries about the name. I get called Kelly all the time. My mother almost called me Kelly and sometimes I think she should have. I have several friends with the name Kelly whom I love dearly, so its a compliment.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        That’s funny about Kelly, Shelly! Is Shelly your given name? It’s very pretty. I love “Sh” names. Our daughter’s name is Sheridan. The Shhhhh…… part was a great baby-quieter when she was little! 🙂

  11. simplystriving

    Love this post. I have nothing to add–you covered it all so well. You take such great pictures, girl! (You should watermark them…) 😉

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’ve had others tell me that too, thank you. I know I should do it, its one more thing on my list. 🙂

  12. Nancy Franson (@nancyfranson)

    I’m so behind on my reading and can’t wait to get caught up on the lovely posts from your trip. Most of my beautiful friends live in blog world–friends like you, daughter of the King!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I felt that way too Nancy when I got back from my trip. Glad you took the time to come here. And I feel the same, so grateful for my beautiful friends like you in the blogging world.

  13. annkroeker

    What a sweet surprise! If she would ever stumble on this, she will be thrilled to read that “young Katie Couric” line! The young Katie Couric is the right-now Katie Couric. She looks beautiful through your lens, as does this deeper perspective, seen through your heart’s lens. So glad God gave you such a treat!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So glad you stopped by Ann. And if Katie Couric ever stumlbed by my blog, I think it would be a bit of a miracle!

      • Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

        In this world, it wouldn’t surprise me 🙂 – all she or someone who knows her would have to do is google her own name and it would probably lead them here! I’m constantly amazed at how people “stumble upon” blogs… I enjoyed this post, too. Love how God plans those little surprises for us and puts us in time and places for His reason and joy.

        • Redemption's Beauty

          Me too Pam. And really nothing surprises me too much any more, you’re probably right.

  14. Michele-Lyn (@lifesurrendered)

    I just love this… I was captivated through and through. It wasn’t just because of Katie 🙂 but it was how truth was interwoven and powerfully conveyed that drew me in and convicted my heart.

    Just beautiful…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So glad to know the message resonated Michele, thanks for your sweet words.

  15. Sylvia R

    “So I could see past the mirage and understand the price of fame.” Yes, blessing of God!
    What a rich experience, to be able to reach back so far into antiquity, touching family roots. (I visited your linked post, too.) Thanks for the wonderful share(s)!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think about this often in the context of writing and publishing. It can’t be about fame for me, it must be about transormation and hearing Him speak. This was just another lesson in remembering that.

  16. ljbmom

    How exciting! You witnessed a tiny piece of history in the making. I am so loving hearing about your trip, Shelly. Making me long for a trip overseas…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So glad you are inspried by my experience and I hope you get to go somewhere overseas soon. Love the perspective it gives to leave my comfort zone.

  17. tara pohlkotte

    how fun that you got to see her, and to glimpse into everything not always being what it seems. what beautiful pictures… can’t believe you’ve held out on us for this long about Katie!! 😉

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I did share an Instagram of her on FB. But I mull over my expereinces for a while before I share them. It helps me sort out what He is saying to me and what He wants me to share with readers.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It was a bit of an unexpected gift on a random vist to the palace. We were actually a bit tired from all the miles of walking we’d done days before. Gave me some more adrenaline to keep going. Glad you stopped by Carissa.

  18. Jen Ferguson

    I used to want to be famous. I thought it would mean that I was special, worthy, adored. I am grateful that I have found this through the Word of God instead. It’s a much easier life, I think!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I think this place of peace we find in Christ, is so much more fulfilling than any fame we can attain.

  19. tereasamansfield

    Shelley, What a fun and thought provoking post! I always enjoyed Katie when she was on the Today show. I stopped watching morning tv a long time ago, as well as the evening news, so it’s been a long time since I’ve seen her. Glad you had the thrill of seeing her and the sensitive heart to learn from the experience.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I haven’t seen her in awhile, since she left the Today show. It was a fun surprise in the middle of our day walking around London.

  20. Mari

    “My heart bows low because I have asked for much, served little, while He gave all.” How beautifully put! It is so easy to get carried away with worldly fame when in reality there is only One who is worthy of the type of attention I (guilty!) lavish on celebrities. Loved this post!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Mari, glad you stopped by. I think we all get a bit star struck from time to time and then I remember they are people with the same intrinsic needs I walk around with every day.

  21. Michelle DeRusha

    Can I just say that Katie looks pretty darn awesome?! [loved your story, too!]

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I know Michelle, she does. We were struck with how great she looks too.

  22. Debbie Petras (@Panda444)

    How fun to be in London at this time! I saw that Good Morning America was going to have a special from London on Monday and Tuesday. Fame has its challenges. I’d rather be anonymous. But I’m sure it was exciting to see someone you ‘knew’ from America during your travels. It’s funny how we feel we know some of these people because as you mentioned you spent many morning hours watching her on the Today show.

    Enjoy your trip!

    Blessings and love,

  23. patsy

    I also watch the Today Show here in the Philippines so I would be excited to see Katie Couric too! She seems a really nice lady. I watched a documentary abt the Duchess of Cambridge on CNN yesterday and they mentioned that hers seems like such a glamorous life with all the beautiful dresses and parties, in reality it is a “golden cage”. I can’t imagine living a life where people would recognize you and whip out a camera. Just recently a famous couple here in the Philippines were filmed abusing an airline attendant. It got so much media attention, even more than the impeachment trial of our Supreme Court Chief Justice! Thank goodness no one minds us when we walk the street. No one except God! :^) patsy

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Patsy, I didn’t realize you live in the Philippines. I enjoy all your colorful vibrant artwork on your blog. I agree, so glad no one takes notice of us on the streets. I just saw an interview with Adele last night with Matt Lauer and she became joyful talking about a recent walk through a city square in her pajamas and coat because no one noticed her. Imagine that!

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