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The Globe and Mail

Kate and Will laugh off PEI singer's royal flub

Meaghan Blanchard found out the hard way that the fate of the best laid plans can also befall the best-prepared speeches.

The 22-year-old country singer had stayed up most of the night rehearsing her remarks to Prince William and Kate as they took in a series of cultural performances on Prince Edward Island on Monday.

When she took the podium at the Dalvay by the Sea resort and tried to address the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge by their formal titles, however, things didn't go as planned.

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"I mixed up Duke and Duchess and it came out d o o t c h, Dootch," Blanchard said in an interview from Charlottetown.

The mispronunciation - which veered dangerously close to a derogatory insult - sparked widespread laughter from the audience and prompted some "life-saving" guffaws from the royal couple themselves.

Blanchard said the slip prompted Kate to hurry over to her husband to give him a playful tap on the shoulder, laughing all the while.

The hilarity helped ease the tension of an embarrassing moment, she said.

"I felt awful because that's not how I envisioned it going, but sometimes that's just life and you gotta roll with the punches," she said.

The songstress bounced back from the slipup to deliver a flawless performance of the self-penned "Waltzing with you."

Blanchard wrote the song in tribute to her grandparents and felt the romantic ballad would make an appropriate choice to perform before the newlyweds.

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Talk of her flub dominated discussion when the performers cleared the stage, but Blanchard said she felt bolstered by the supportive members of the Island arts scene.

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"The music community on P.E.I. is really tight," she said. "They were all laughing at me and giving me hugs and kisses and saying, 'you know what, Meaghan, don't worry about it."'

Blanchard even managed to find a silver lining to the situation, musing the slipup may have provided a lift for audience members and organizers who may have been feeling the effects of the rainy weather.

"I think with the rain, and I think with them trying to rush through things because of the weather, I feel like it broke the tension a little bit," she said with a laugh. "I might be just trying to make myself feel better."

Blanchard's performance before the royal couple may have been her official introduction to most of Canada, but the singer-songwriter from Hunter River, P.E.I. has already made a name for herself in Atlantic Canada.

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She first gained attention with her debut album in 2008 and went on to rack up two nominations from the East Coast Music Association. Her sophomore effort, "Chasin' Lonely Again," earned her the ECMA 2011 country album of the year.

She was a familiar face at the Atlantic Canada House during the winter Olympic games in Vancouver, where she performed three times daily.

Monday's speech mishap may not mark one of her career highlights, but Blanchard suspects it will make a great story for years to come.

"It'll be something to tell the kids, that's for sure."

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