FOUR FINGERS AND THIRTEEN TOES – A RIGHT ROYAL DAY
The carriage pulled up outside the Abbey, and Bride’s father lent a gentle helping hand to his eldest daughter as she stepped out of the limousine, and then the ceremony began.
For one moment, I was transported back nearly 23 years to the day I got married. It only seems like yesterday that I had my bridal moment and, just like Kate Middleton, embarked on a new life which would bring many challenges and its fair share of sadness, but yields an overwhelming sense of happiness that is hard to put into words.
Most of us have wedding days that are a world apart from the spectacular event that we saw last Friday, but at its heart the sentiments are the same. A wonderfully uplifting ceremony, people wishing you good luck, a collection of wedding presents that you are not entirely sure what to do with!
It is a day that most Brides never want to end, and just to bring everything back to reality … A hefty bill for the whole event!
It doesn’t matter whether you have been married six months, six years or sixty years; values may change over the years, but the very essence of getting married is to seal your commitment to each other, which of course is marked by a day to remember long after the confetti has been swept away.
In keeping with this sentiment, I think it is important to mark special or significant occasions in a way that you can remember. For people of my generation, it will be the investiture of Prince Charles (as Prince of Wales) in 1969, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and of course, the great celebrations surrounding the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer. I’m not going to bore you with details of what I did on those occasions, but if you read Four Fingers and Thirteen Toes, you will find out how the marriage of Charles and Diana was celebrated in a small part of Jersey!
For our kids, their generation have only seen one or two major state occasions that they could remember. Sadly two of them relate to the passing of much loved members of the Royal family – Diana – Princess of Wales, and of course the Queen Mother. But most recently was the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. The Golden Jubilee was the first time the residents of our locality got together and organised a street party. We were fortunate to have a couple of born organisers who were happy to take on the role of getting the whole thing off the ground and what a day we had … Lots of food, lots of drinking, lots of fun for the kids, and at the end of it, a real sense of belonging to a friendly neighbourhood.
Unfortunately, time marches on, neighbours’ move, different priorities mean you are drawn in different directions, and so sadly there was no street party to mark this Royal Wedding.
However, never despair – Rosie is here! With warm thoughts of how I spent those Royal occasions in the 70’s and 80’s I decided we should organise a Royal Breakfast, where we could munch and drink our way through this memorable event.
We mustered a Moriarty and Simmonds coat of arms, agreed the wording for the invites, and sent them out. It was to be primarily a ladies event. After all, no-one enjoys a wedding more than the girls. So, with tissues at the ready we prepared for the big day. The table groaned with an array of breads, pastries and “breakfasty” things. The fridge was packed with the stuff that makes you “hic” very easily, and we even managed to decorate the garden with bunting and Union flags. It was all very patriotic.
Our guests arrived in time to see Boris Johnson bumble along the pavement to the Abbey, to see David and Victoria glide gracefully into their pew, and to view the Bride’s mother in all her Middle-England glory lay claim to the biggest prize in wedding one-up-manship – and become mother-in-law to a future King.
We ran out of tissues midway through the morning, a few of us stood as the National Anthem was played, and the few male guests in the house ogled at the second national treasure of the day … the Maid of Honour, and what a Maid she was.
I was quietly triumphant, the Bride was dressed and styled exactly as I’d predicted. Those of you who have taken time to listen to Rosie “telling it as it is” on Able Radio will know of my predictions; and to those of you who have not – then shame … My viewing figures are dependent on your support!
But I digress – back to the wedding. I was quite surprised at how patriotic some of my guest really were, and even more surprised that some, who – let’s just say don’t regard the institution of marriage too highly, were moved to tears by the sight of the event.
After the last drop of fizz had been drunk, the last crumb cleaned from the table, and the last guest had left, my mind wandered back to my special day. Maybe my “Prince” is a little less svelte, and a little thinner on top than he was all those years ago; and my wedding dress wouldn’t flatter my figure as it did way back then, but what does it matter. At the end of the day, it’s all about happiness.
I hope for William and Kate the memory of their special day does linger long after the confetti has gone. I hope they are strengthened by the trials, tribulations, good times and bad of their life, even if it is a life less than ordinary.
Whether a Prince or a Pauper, the pathways of life need careful navigation. For them, as much as for the future of our most British of institutions – the monarchy, it would take a hard, perhaps a heartless person, not to wish them the best of good luck in their future.
And as we packed away the bunting I was just glad that everyone who came to our Royal Breakfast enjoyed themselves, and will be able to look back and remember where they were the day “Wills and Kate” got married.