From the church to the palace

I prepared for the royal wedding of William and Kate by watching footage of Charles and Di’s wedding. A few things stood out.

  • Diana’s voluminous wedding dress seemed like the totally obvious choice for a teen bride that an older bride wouldn’t touch. “Wheeee! I’m going to be a princess!”
  • Charles looked really uncomfortable, like he didn’t really want to be there. When the archbishop talked about how marriage is not to be taken lightly, Charles looked strangely twitchy.
  • And despite the theoretically joyous occasion, there’s a layer of tragedy pressing down on it from the future. Divorce! Death! No one’s immune from that.

But let’s get back to this future, and hope that a similar fate doesn’t befall William and Kate.

First was the news that William’s granny had passed the happy couple a duchy, meaning they were to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Awesome – Cambridge is a pretty little town, the jewel of the Waikato, and worth more than just a toilet break for travellers on State Highway One. Also, take that, Tirau!

I was watching the royal YouTube channel, which was just a raw feed with no commentary – and no footage of fabulous celebs arriving at the church. Instead I just had to use my general knowledge of royals of the world (hint: European royals are generally more attractive than UK royals).

I was hoping for a glimpse of Mrs John Key and her husband, but the footage didn’t provide. I was intrigued by reports of John Key’s “pounamu washed” suit. No one actually seemed to know what “pounamu washed” means, but I wondered if was a similar process to stoned-washed jeans, but with greenstone instead of pumice. But from subsequent photos, it turns out the fabric was just tinted green. What?

The first sight of William and Harry was rather exciting because it appeared they were both paying tribute to the late, great HRH the King of Pop, Michael Jackson with their elaborate military-style jackets. Fortunately there was no crotch grabbing.

While the A-list Windsors all arrived in fancy cars or horse-drawn landaus, the B-list royals arrived in minibuses. This was a somewhat controversial choice. “Minibuses?!,” the world tweeted. But I reckon every family who’s had more than two children, and had to ditch the family sedan and upsize to a van or peoplemover will identify with that. Big families need big automobiles.

Westminster Abbey was operating with a strict policy forbidding guests from using cameras. This means it would be the first wedding in decades to not have the church full of aunties taking bad photos with dinky little digital cameras, and uncles mucking around with overly complicated DSLRs that had clacky loud shutters.

Finally the bride appeared, wearing rather a nice dress. It was, like everyone has noted, quite like Grace Kelly’s wedding dress, only with a V-neck and managing to look more Anglican than Princess Grace’s Catholic styles.

I’m also wondering if the 1950s Grace Kelly style is further evidence of the huge impact that “Mad Men” is having on contemporary dress. We like getting dressed up in our mid-century-influenced suits and gowns.

And even though veils seem a bit weird these days – and are certainly not part of the ’00s-style strapless bridal gown and low bun uniform – Kate’s was nicely proportioned. Unlike her mother-in-law’s veil, which looked like Diana had got caught up in some net curtains.

The first time William saw his bride, he looked so happy, which made me happy. Compared to his dad’s nervousness, William looked totally smitten with Kate, which bodes well for the future. So maybe this is how it goes now – you marry someone you love, rather than a medically certified virgin with a title.

At one point YouTube – which was holding up brilliantly – got a tiny delay and a slight electronic echo to the sound, making the archbishop terrifyingly sound like a Cyberman.

During the vows, Twitter got really quiet. Actually, that’s not totally true – there was still discussion, but it was all from guys. All the twitettes were too busy watching the ceremony to tweet. And besides, it’s hard to type when you have tears of joy in your eyes.

Also on Twitter, the #QILF hashtag was trending. The Q stands for queen, which is a bit weird because Kate isn’t a queen (yet). Or could it be that the live broadcast has opened people’s eyes to HRH Liz, stunning in yellow? Also, I’m going to be checking the @JohnKeyPM Twitter account to see when he makes a #QILF tweet. I mean, it’s just a matter of time. We know he has a thing for slightly posh, slender, brunette Brits.

When songs were being sung, the camera would linger on Sir Elton, as if perhaps hoping that he’d put on a soulful singing face and really belt it out. But he looked like everyone else, half-singing, half-mouthing along. Ditto for the Beckhams. Nothing in the world of Spice could prepare Posh for this.

This whole wedding business seems quite fun. I’ve only been to a few weddings (now people seem to buy houses instead of getting married), and in 36 years, I’ve somehow not managed to have the opportunity of having a wedding of my own. Maybe I’ll do a Dennis Rodman and marry myself.

I did a tally and figured there were at least six New Zealanders at the wedding: the Prime Minister and his wife; the Governor General and his wife; William’s former equerry Sam Stevenson; and Gary Lewis of Gisborne, husband of Lady Davina. So I reckon it would have been quite good if all the New Zealanders had got together and done a haka as a mark of respect for the couple. Why did not this happen? I pay taxes!

Ceremony over, the various royals made their way back to Buckingham Palace. Overhead camera shots revealed a large amount of horse poo on the streets. Imagine what cities would have been like in 19th century – smelly, dirty, unhygienic, with a whole industry around cleaning up the poo. Fortunately the clean, efficient motorcar came along and got rid of that problem.

Finally all eyes were upon the balcony at Buckingham Palace. The Windsor-Middleton whanau emerged, complete with plenty of waving. Then I lipread William say to Kate, “Shall we? Shall we?” and then he leaned in and gave her a quick smooch, and another one. I thought maybe he was a bit embarrassed having his gran right next to him, but even after she went inside there was still no royal pash.

Ok, so that’s all over with. I can go back to not thinking about the royal family very much, other than the occasional glimpse at old Queenie on the back of a 10c coin.

I am thinking, though, that I might do a drawing of the wedding and send it off too the happy couple. Well, it worked out quite well last time.

3 thoughts on “From the church to the palace”

  1. The hats. The Hats. How can you not mention the hats? Women everywhere in the Abbey wearing skidlids shaped like satelite dishes, deans deacons and bishops with assorted mitres, several thousand dead bears perched atop red tunics, and those hideously silly Philip Treacy creations anchored just above the eyebrows of Posh and Slaggy. The hat parody in Gilliam’s Brazil was silly enough, but Fergy’s daughter stole the cake with her antlers….

    1. Yeah, but look what happens when people try wearing sensible hats: Bronagh Key, is what. (She thought she was so daring with her pink-lined jacket. Bish plz – trying wearing pink on the outside.)

      Mocking hats at the royal wedding is like mocking Prince William for being bald. It’s genetic. They can’t help it.

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