|Picture: Theo Kingma|
It was set for 5pm so at 7A.M her lighting, sound and production team moved in accompanied by six burly security guards. All day they worked at putting up reflectors and lights to ensure she would look her best in photographs and, as the time of her arrival approached one of the guards asked for ropes.
"What for?" he was asked. "Crowd control," he replied. "People tend to get very excited when they see Beyonce."
He was told that people attendng the press conference were hardened journalists who were unlikely to be impressed by celebrities, whom they see most days.
"Ah," said the guard. "But this is Beyonce."
With no ropes in place, Beyonce finally arrived an hour and ten minutes late and proved to be if not down to earth, then at least friendly and accommodating, willingly answering questions about her life and career.
Her daughter Blue is 16 months old and she admits that at first it was difficult for her to deal with both her career and motherhood.
“After giving birth there’s a moment of rediscovery when you are making sure you still have your goals and still take care of yourself as a woman,” she said. “That was something I struggled with----making sure I was still this strong woman and also making time for my child and balancing the two.”
Baby Blue and husband, rapper and composer Jay-Z, whom 31-year-old Beyonce married five years ago, are with her in England on her current concert tour which she is calling the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour in tribute to her husband, whose real name is Shawn Carter.
“I’m calling it that because I feel like I have grown and I am a married woman,” she explained. “It is my name, it is who I am and I am proud of it. It is my daughter's name and it feels like who I am right now.”
She has a routine she goes through before every concert and she described it: "I say a prayer with everyone in the band, we do a stretch, I sit in my massage chair while they do my hair and makeup and I have an hour of peace and I have a playlist I listen to everyday and that's my ritual and it takes me a few hours."
No wonder her concerts rarely start on time!