I sat in the row behind Kate Middleton on a flight from London to Dublin once. Needless to mention, she was not making an official visit and it was not a private plane.
It was Aer Lingus and it was 2007, while she was temporarily broken up with then boyfriend Prince William, and she flew to Dublin to attend the art exhibition opening of a friend with her mother Carol.
Kate was very tall, much taller than I had expected, and very slim. She wore the skinny jeans and the kind of flattering but no-nonsense knee-high boots that have become her go-to for the sort of events where she needs to show she can get her hands dirty.
Kate was Waity Katie then, the girl characterised as mooning over the Prince Charming who couldn't make up his mind and laughed at for same. She was on that flight to Dublin with her mother Carol, back when the latter was characterised as the Mrs Bennet-style former air hostess who fancied her daughter good enough for a future king and was laughed at for same.
Who's laughing now?
Today, Kate Middleton is potentially the saviour of The Firm, the steady hand in the storm of Megxit, Andrew and Epstein, and the various royal marriages falling like skittles. When she and William visit Ireland on Tuesday, they do so as the royal reliables, she bringing the glamour and charm, he bringing a smiling good grace that speaks of a man grateful for his lot.
There is not, it should be said, the same frisson of excitement around the visit of Kate and William as there was around that of Harry and Meghan in 2018. The narrative is not as exciting, after all. Back then, the spin on the Sussexes was that Harry's union with Meghan was a Firm-changer. Princes before him had married commoners, but Meghan was an American, an actress, a breath of fresh air. Together, they were going to break the mould.
Instead, steadily and still moving, they have taken a wrecking ball to not only the perception of them, their position in the royal family and even their public support. The last of which is the real problem, not only for them, but for everyone else in Harry's family who lives on the goodwill of the UK taxpayer.
Only last week we saw how public opinion can flip, as Canada announced that it will not be funding the Sussexes' security bill once they are no longer senior royals at the end of this month. When that happens, they lose their classification as Internationally Protected Persons and Canada, or any other country, no longer has an obligation to fund their protection. They could do so out of goodwill, and Justin Trudeau seemed to indicate previously that they would, but last week's announcement says not. The reason behind this is that Canadian taxpayers don't see why they should cough up potentially millions for two people who have plenty of money and privilege and have struck out as they have to earn independently.
"They can pay," went the headlines.
Goodwill takes time to earn, but it can be lost very, very quickly. The Queen has been long enough in the game and long enough deep in her sense of duty to know this. She doesn't take the goodwill for granted, or seem to take it as her due.
And she's around long enough to know that, in a domino effect, Harry and Meghan could blow the goodwill for everyone.
If the Canadian taxpayer can say no thanks, then so can the taxpayer closer to home.
Which is why, good old William and Kate, seen only a year ago as the less exciting, even more suburban also-rans to glitzy Harry and Meghan, are now the stars of the show the royals are pushing out there. To charity events, to openings, and exhibitions and even their first official visit to Ireland.
This is being touted as the first visit to Ireland post-Brexit, but maybe even more significantly, post Megxit.
They are, according to Kensington Palace, "looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the Irish people". The visit, from Tuesday to Thursday, will include Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Galway, the 2020 European Capital of Culture. The emphasis, the palace has said, will be on visiting organisations that support young people to "help them develop important life skills".
They will focus, you could say, on the future.
And if recent history, with the Queen and Harry and Meghan before them, is anything to go by, Ireland will welcome William and Kate. We may get giddy, but just a little, which will be in keeping with who they are, in keeping with where we all are right now.
A little less careless about what we take for granted, perhaps.
And, then, there's only one thing getting us all truly excited right now and it's the very thing that might keep William and Kate away.
The spread of Covid-19 has seen many businesses impose travel restrictions until further notice, and Thomas's Battersea, the school attended by the couple's two older children, George and Charlotte, has reportedly had four pupils tested for the virus, who are now in self-isolation.
There are some circumstances that are even beyond royal control, but then, they know all about that, after the few months they've had.
Ireland's enduring online fashion retailer iCLOTHING has embarked on an ambitious growth strategy in recent years - investing in an array of new brands, and now in hiring TV presenter Lucy Kennedy as its newest brand ambassador.