Well “the wedding” of last weekend is over, but the honeymoon certainly isn’t. Many I’ve spoken to still admit to being in a post-wedding glow, and admittedly, I’m having trouble letting go of the occasion this week.
I didn’t think I would get as enthusiastic as I did about the marriage of the sixth in line to the throne, but I do love a wedding, particularly a big royal one, and the match between Prince Harry and the former Ms Meghan Markle seems to be a particularly exciting one, what with royalty meeting Hollywood.
Harry is emblazoned in the collective consciousness (of those of us of a certain age), whose hearts broke watching him as 12-year-old-boy walking with head bowed, behind his mother’s coffin 21 years ago. I felt happy and grateful to see him walking today, again with his brother William, but now a man in uniform with a much different gait, on his way to marry the woman he loves.
I was excited when my sister, Senorita Margarita said she was coming to visit on “wedding weekend” and that she shared my enthusiasm to attend the wedding on telly. We texted in the days leading up to the big event; we swapped links to wedding recipes, party planning tips, and royal-watching blog posts.
We planned our own little wedding-watching party. Spider Boy’s dad came over to hang out with him, because 10-year-old boys generally don’t appreciate weddings. Am I gender stereotyping? All right then, my 10-year-old (who is a boy) was just not into it.
Now on with the show…
Let’s first compare cake, outfits and décor at Windsor and in Canberra, in A tale of two celebrations!
Harry and Meghan’s cake: The news that the cake would break with the traditional fruit cake was exciting. People.com reports that the couple asked Claire Ptak of London-based bakery Violet Cakes to bake a cake that “incorporates the bright flavour of Spring.”
“The cake consists of deconstructed tiers of lemon sponge cake drizzled with elderflower syrup and topped with an Amalfi lemon curd. The entire cake is coated with a Swiss meringue buttercream also infused with elderflower, and is adorned with a mix of 150 fresh flowers, including peonies and roses. The texture is really lovely and the flavour is quintessentially Spring and British,” the baker said in a video released by Kensington Palace.
To me that description makes the cake sound like a work of art, and a gastronomic version of a walk through a lemon grove on a beautiful Spring day.
My living room in Canberra
Senorita Margarita’s and my cake: Well, it wasn’t a cake. More of a pav. Or a mess, or, as my friend Nadia texted, “pavlova scrunched up.” We planned a wedding version of Eton Mess we dubbed “Elderflower Mess (without the Elderflower)”
The Senorita did place a call to The Essential Ingredient in Canberra’s Kingston, but at $21.95 for 375ml for a syrup I’ve never tried and don’t know I’d like and may never use again, turns out that on my salary, not so essential!
Champagne: I don’t know about Meghan and Harry’s but ours was German sparkling wine. “Let’s drink it in your Kate and William tea cups!” said my creative sister enthusiastically.
“No!” I exclaimed. I was uncomfortable with that idea. “Champagne goes in champagne glasses, tea cups are for tea” I asserted.
“I understand” said the Señorita sagely. “There’s a line. And I just crossed it.”
2. The Outfits
Meghan Markle: I actually took a breath when I saw the divine Ms M step out of the car. The dress was designed by Clare Waight Keller and according to the @kensingtonroyal Instagram account, the design “epitomises a timeless minimal elegance referencing the codes of the iconic House of Givenchy.” To me it evoked the classic sophistication of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. Ms Markle ascended the steps of St George’s Chapel like an angel, her tiny duo of dark-suited page boys, twin Cupids to her Venus.
Prince Harry: Hunky Officer and a Gentleman– type outfit
Assorted royals and celebrities: Colourful, structured pieces and statement headwear
My living room in Canberra
The Senorita: “I got out of my pyjamas!” Yes readers, it’s true, the Senorita swapped her jammies for a sophisticated black jean and black wool shawl ensemble, accessorised with a diamante tiara. It was Saturday night after all.
Alex: “I didn’t get into my pyjamas!” Again, I made a Saturday night sacrifice and stayed in my street clothes for the occasion. A blue jean and navy jumper ensemble in case you’re wondering. Pyjamas would have to wait until Karl Stefanovic had turned off his mic (although wish I’d watched Channel 7 and that nice Melissa Doyle now). Oh and a paper tiara the Senorita made for me from the pages of Woman’s Day! Again, Saturday night!
Spider Boy: “What wedding? Batman pyjamas!”
3. The Decor
Real Union Jack flags lining the streets, masses of white flowers and foliage, Harry and Meghan T-shirts
A white candle shaped like a floral bouquet, bunting from Woman’s Day and New Idea, souvenir royal tea towel ($2 with New Idea), Harry and Meghan paper masks (thanks Woman’s Day), and royal crockery used for the first time, especially for the occasion.
The event itself
The Senorita and I had a hoot watching, from commenting on the arriving guests and their outfits, to the beautiful, uplifting ceremony itself.
We commented on Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. You may remember Bea with her 2011 “pretzel meets bow” number (AKA Medusa snakes hat) at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Well, I think the pendulum has swung straight to The Handmaids Tale in 2018. I thought Eugenie’s hat was evoking the spirit a 1960s air hostess. Yes, I said air hostess. Although the Senorita was down with her “Jackie Kennedy” vibe.
Our top 21 favourite moments of the wedding (in no particular order)
1. Harry and his brother William walking the long walk side by side to St George’s Chapel. I thought about how many walks those brothers have taken together. I got a bit teary thinking about the boys and how they were at their mother Princess Diana’s funeral and now today – what a wonderful day.
2. The weekend weather in Windsor
3. Harry’s wedding beard
4. The first glimpse of Meghan and her mum Doria Ragland in the car
5. The look of contented composure on William’s face; the tilt of the head reminding us so much of Diana’s feminine energy as he sat beside Harry in church, a well of reassurance for his younger brother. The Senorita, who is very intuitive, observed “I think Diana’s energy was coming through William.” I agree with her. I have since read that a lip-reader reported that William said to Harry “You know what Mum used to say…” as they sat waiting for the ceremony to begin. Diana was there.
6.The first full view of the dress as Meghan stepped out of the car. Meghan’s dress was so simple, so elegant, so classic, a hint of décolletage but the right amount of coverage. I couldn’t fault it. The 1930s bandeau tiara that had belonged to Queen Mary, lent just the right amount of pizzaz, elevating her look from simply elegant to stunning.
7. The two page boys holding Meghan’s train as she glided up the stairs
8. The look on one delighted page boy’s face as Meghan entered the church (“That’ll come back to haunt him at his 21st” predicted the Senorita). Apparently his facial expression was in response to hearing a trumpet for the first time.
9. Meghan walking herself down the aisle (the first part), the first royal bride to do so. Meghan asked Prince Charles to greet her halfway, and then rather than him “giving her away”, she “stepped forward” to greet Harry.
10. When Harry mouthed “you look amazing” to his bride.
11. When Harry, a bit awkwardly, lifted Meghan’s veil during the ceremony.
12. The fact that there WAS a hair out of place – Meghan’s hair and makeup looked natural and beautiful.
13. The emphatic way Harry said “I will”.
14. The emotions on Meghan’s mum’s face
15. When Harry stroked Meghan’s fingers with his thumb while listening to the sermon.
16. Meghan’s smile as she listened to Reverend Bishop Michael Curry.
17. The various facial expressions of assorted royals as they listened to Reverend Curry.
18. The rendition of Stand By Me, by The Kingdom Choir. And how about that beautiful steel grey hair and fabulous dusky rose outfit of choir leader Karen Gibson!
19. Doria, Charles and Camilla walking together behind the newlyweds as they left the church.
20. Meghan and Harry appearing in the flower-covered doorway, standing at the top of the steps, and then that kiss.
21. That for-real fairy-tale carriage ride through the streets of Windsor!
We all know life is not a fairy tale. But this beautiful royal wedding looked pretty darn close to one, if only for the day. The Senorita and I are so happy for them both (especially Harry).
After the wedding…
After wedding coverage had stopped on ALL stations (don’t worry, I checked) the movie License to Wed began on Channel 9 and to my horror, my sister uttered the words I just did not expect or want to hear… “I’m all weddinged out.”
“Wash your mouth out!” I gasped, aghast.
The Senorita had been on a steady diet of pre-wedding documentaries for a couple of weeks, but I wanted more. I wanted a partner in crime to get my wedding fix with. I felt like I was having a sugar crash when the telecast was over.
On Sunday morning we watched the news, read the paper and we spoke separately to Mum and Dad for a debrief.
“What channel did you watch it on, Dad?”
“ABC of course, why, what channel did you watch it on?”
“Oh!” he sounded perplexed. “But you would’ve had… advertisements!”
The Senorita and I talked about how happy we were that we could watch the wedding together and how wonderful it had been. “So wonderful, in fact… I’m buying the crockery!” the Senorita announced.
“I know! me too, and you know what, I’m going to USE the crockery!” I shouted.
That afternoon we carried on the spirit of beauty, history, tradition and royalty by visiting the Cartier exhibition at the National Gallery.
A highlight for me was the “Royal Room”, where the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding tiara, lent to her by the Queen, is on display.
In the exhibition we found our people. We overheard clusters of middle-aged women talking about “the wedding” (and jewellery of course), and we jumped right into the conversations. We were in our spirit place.
In the news report we’d watched earlier, we saw two middle-aged sisters from Adelaide who camped out overnight in chairs on the carriage-ride route. When asked if all the time, money and effort getting from Adelaide to Windsor had been worth it for a 30 second glimpse of the happy couple.
“Yes!” they said emphatically. When the sunshine hit her tiara and made it sparkle, it was amazing!”
Would you do it again? asked the reporter. “Yes!” they enthused.
“Because it was fun!”
And I know if my sister and I had been in a position to go to Windsor, we would’ve got caught up in the spirit of it all and enjoyed ourselves just as much as those two sisters did, as we did in my living room. Because it was fun. It’s fun to see people whose stories we’ve seen and heard over the years, experience such a happy and beautiful event. In reality we’re removed and distant, but thanks to perspective and the media, I feel like we’ve watched Harry grow up.
Did you watch the wedding? And would you ever drink champagne from a Kate and William commemorative tea cup? Maybe I should relax my crockery and stemware standards, mix things up a bit? I never could embrace that “drink in a jar” fad.