So finally, after years and years of following the couple, William and Kate tied the knot on 29 April 2011. It was astounding how many people were looking forward to the big event, and not just because we got an extra public holiday into the bargain! What would she be wearing? Where would they honeymoon? What colour would the Queen don for the day? In the beginning I remained unaffected by the impending nuptials. Maybe it was because all the TV channels were on Royal Wedding overload. Or maybe it was because frankly, Prince William shoulda been mine!
I have always found it amusing how the most cynical of people felt that Carole Middleton had pushed Kate towards William. Well she wasn’t going to hook up with him on eharmony.com was she? Seriously though, you can lead a prince to water but you can’t force him to ask it out on a date! Those that state it was all engineered by her mother aren’t giving William much credit…although had I been wearing a skirt as a dress (as I am wont to do around my house) in that first fashion show at St. Andrews this all might have ended very differently. I’m sure he would have MUCH preferred my tie-dye free-flowing number with tight elastic around the chest and small bleach stain on the hem. It doesn’t get more down-to-earth than that.
Yes indeed, the excitement was reaching a fever pitch in the weeks leading up to the wedding with some people preparing their sleeping pattern in advance so they could rise with the farmers to watch it all live. On the other hand there were those who firmly stated they weren’t even bothered about watching the inevitable recordings that would be playing everywhere at a more civilized time. There was no way I was getting up before sunrise, but I had been asked to host the special brunch at the Ritz-Carlton so I was going to be watching the recap whether I liked it or not.
The wonderful Easter weekend came and went, and suddenly it was upon us no matter what button we hit on the remote control. There was Piers Morgan (looking remarkably cheery) with Jane Seymour sitting by famous monuments, and visitors from countries far and wide who had descended upon London dressed in all manner of red, white and blue. Many were giving Caymanian campers a run for their money, sleeping in tents along the route days before the Friday. I’ve always thought that’s got to be a lot of fun – particularly when you have a comfy sleeping bag, but then someone brings up the all-important Toilet Availability question and I realize I’d rather stay in a hotel. Airline tickets into the UK were either sold out or bonkers expensive and anyone who lived in the capital city had long-lost relatives and vague acquaintances beating a path to their doorstep to beg a spot on their couch.
I think the first little bit of interest I felt was on the Wednesday, when I had to decide what I was wearing to the brunch. I picked out a black ruffled long-sleeved top that successfully blocked any wisp of a neck I possessed, and a navy blue skirt that fanned out down to the ankles. It was finally time to bring out the sparkly Kate Spades I had been saving for just such an occasion – I knew when I played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the age of 12 that I would reprise the role at some point with dazzling slippers. At the same time they were discussing the possible designer of Kate’s dress on BBC and recalling Princess Diana’s interesting choice for her 1981 wedding. Hard to believe she was only 19 years old at the time. At that age I thought I was the height of fashion wearing white high heels…to university classes, no less.
By the Thursday night I was definitely sensing something; either I had drunk too much coffee or I was a little chirpier than usual – could it be Royal Wedding jitters? I still had absolutely no intention of waking up to watch it all at 5:00 a.m. but my cat Bowie had other ideas. At about 4:00 a.m. my apparently British moggie bit me gently on the cheek to wake me up. I waved away the faint whiff of Meow Mix and was about to turn over and go back to sleep when I noticed the time. Obviously it was a sign. I pulled on my dress/skirt in Kate’s honour and shuffled down the stairs to find Lynne with the TV already on, viewing footage of the guests arriving at Westminster Abbey. There we were, sitting with a group of millions around the world watching for that first glimpse of her dress, and William in the Abbey, and the congregation singing hymns that half of them didn’t know.
Harry leaned over and whispered something to William as Kate made her way up the aisle looking stunning, and then she was next to him. He clearly said “You look beautiful” and that was it – I was officially mush. All the cynicism left, and I allowed myself to be mesmerized by the pageantry of it all.
When they left the Abbey I left the living room to go back up to bed. I could watch the whole balcony thing the next day. Little did I know that at that very moment those who were recording it all for posterity were having mild heart attacks in West Bay as a blackout from CUC shut down their efforts for a while. Luckily the power came back in the nick of time for the all-important kiss. Whew! Crisis averted!
Just before I got into bed I gently arranged my clothes and sparkly shoes for the next day (which ended up being a fabulous affair with hats and tiaras aplenty.) I might still be a commoner come the weekend, but for tomorrow at least I would be a princess.