Monarchy In The UK

Let me be the first to say that I was not that interested in the Royal Wedding. Until I found out I'd be in London for it, I treated it with nothing more than a shrug and an eyeroll. If I'd been back in San Francisco, I probably wouldn't even have woken up early to watch, that's how unbothered I was. Even when I found out I'd be coming over for it,  I didn't really get that excited. Not sure why, really: probably because most of my friends in England were sort of laissez-faire about it---if not downright dismissive---and probably because, having lived in the US for so many years now and immersed myself in my life there, I often feel something of a disconnect with England.

Not today. Today I felt really, really, really English.

My sister Susie came down from St. Andrews for the weekend (the alma mater of the newlyweds!) and we watched the first twenty minutes on TV while we got ready at the hotel, before heading out to join the crowds. We walked and walked through a curiously deserted London, and when we couldn't walk anymore, we got in a cab and asked the taxi driver to take us somewhere with other people. He dropped us near Marble Arch and we swarmed into Hyde Park with everyone else. I read later that there were 300,000 of us there.

Here is the thing about watching the Royal Wedding in public: I thought it was going to be really, really unpleasant. I pictured sweaty crowds, jam-packed tube stations, jostling elbows, standing for hours on end. I was half tempted just to stay in the hotel room and watch the rest of it there.

But what I wasn't prepared for was the feeling. I can't even describe it, except to say that it was a kind of camaraderie mixed with a kind of pride. Until I was standing in Hyde Park amongst those two hundred and ninety-nine thousand other people, I didn't feel anything much more than a vague and passing excitement towards the whole shebang. But once we were actually there and in the middle of everything---all that pomp and ceremony, all those shiny trumpets, all those waving flags, all those sweet little choirboys, all that pent-up collective emotion---something happened and I just got swept up with it all. 

As for the sweaty crowds and the jostling, there was none of that at all. In fact, I've never been part of such an easygoing, respectful, pleasant-to-be-in crowd in my life. I was expecting a mosh pit, but it was more like a Sunday afternoon picnic. And it was strangely touching: when Kate Middleton entered the church, all 300,000 people in Hyde Park stood up.  After each "I will," we all cheered. We hummed along with "Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer" (coincidentally, also the hymn that had at my wedding) and stood again for Jerusalem, which always brings a few tears to my eyes (mostly because we used to sing it at the end of term before we went home for the school holidays, so it provokes in me a Pavlovian response of happiness.) Actually, that was my favorite part of all.

So did you watch the wedding? What did you think? I took a million more photos, which you can find right here. Right now, though, I've got got to get to bed because I've got a 6am train to catch to Paris. Today I felt very, very British; tomorrow, I'm going to pretend to be very, very French.

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1
Starla
Apr 29, 2011

I AM SO PROUD TO BE BRITISH TODAY! That's all. Sorry, it warranted caps. I am nearly as excited about the thought of you in London, the same city as me, as I am about the wedding!

2
A'Dell
Apr 29, 2011

My mom is here and we watched it about 2 hours delayed on the DVR with Claire this morning. (She liked the horses and singing the best.) I made Chris get us donuts, which isn't so much British as it is The Pregnant Lady Wants Donuts.

I remember watching Charles and Diana's wedding when I was about Claire's age, so that was kind of fun for me.

So glad that you had a lovely time! It looked like a very fun and meaningful day to be a part of.

xo

3
agirlandaboy
Apr 29, 2011

This reminds me of when the 2002 Olympics were happening in Salt Lake, and having recently moved from there to California, I thought, "Eh, whatever." And then I watched the opening ceremony on t.v. and the next day my boyfriend and I got in the car and drove 14 hours through the night so we could be in town for all the excitement, which I'm so glad we were, even though it was very much like a mosh pit with Mormons instead of a Sunday picnic. I had my first beer at the silver-medal women's hockey game, and that 14-hour drive was the first time I met the guy through whom I would eventually meet Simon, and that, of course, is history.

4
NodToStyle
Apr 29, 2011

amazing! i couldn't have cared less about the wedding and yet when i watched clips this morning i found myself misty eyed and excited. some people critize this world wide obsession but i think it's nice to have something positive to focus on amongst all the problems.

5
Keenie Beanie
Apr 29, 2011

I woke up just before 3 am Pacific time, finding my English husband missing from our bed. I went out to find him in front of the telly, saying, "You've come out just at the right time, Kate's just emerged from the hotel!" Then he said, "I haven't been up since midnight watching the BBC coverage... okay maybe I have." We watched together until the end of the balcony appearance. He voiced the same sentiment as you: "It's so nice to see us all so proud to be British." He was not at all excited for the wedding (though I was) but got completely sucked in. It was really cute - I even saw him discretely cross his fingers at the "no man put asunder phrase." God Bless England and William and Kate!

6
Kristabella
Apr 29, 2011

So jealous! I'm glad you got to be there for it! I mean, you're a Brit and all!

(I too didn't care about it until I got into work and have been looking at photos and reading stories about it ALL DAY LONG!)

7
Sarah
Apr 29, 2011

If you can say one thing for the British, they know how to queue.

8
Blanche
Apr 29, 2011

I watched the wedding, from about the point where the bishop(?) gave the sermon. DH didn't leave until then and he had NO interest in watching.

Kate's dress was super gorgeous and I loved that they kissed a 2nd time in response to the crowd demand.

What I found really amusing was that Fergie's daughters were seated directly behind the Queen and very much reminded me of the step-sisters from "Ella Enchanted." Every time the camera panned across them they looked like they'd really rather be somewhere else.

9
Locusts and Wild Honey
Apr 29, 2011

Aw. That's so cute that you ultimately got swept up in the excitement. I always feel this way about elections over here. Sort of enh, and then suddenly I'm a little misty-eyed.

Have fun in Paris! At least you took that French class recently!

10
Suzanne
Apr 29, 2011

I too wasn't terribly interested, but this morning I turned on the TV at 7AM and then got completely absorbed in the wedding, their lives, and THAT DRESS! Loved it, and especially loved her sister's mad-of-honor gown.

As to Eugenia and Beatrice. Ugh! They looked like they belonged in a Tim Burton film, or at the very least, shop at the same place that Helena Bonham Carter does. Simply frightful!

And finally, so sad that Princess Diana was not there to see it, although she was definitely there in spirit.

11
Kerry
Apr 29, 2011

I felt the same way -- no interest until it was actually happening, and then I was suddenly filled with love for those two crazy, rich, beautiful kids. I wish them well.

But what was up with the hats? I understand the wedding hat thing in the UK, but some of them were just so out there...

I enjoy your writing. Thanks for posting it.

12
Courtney
Apr 29, 2011

I've been very ehh about the whole wedding thing too - haven't watched any of the TV coverage or read any of the magazine articles before yesterday. For some reason yesterday I started to get a little excited, so I decided I would set my alarm and just see how I felt. Well I woke up (and I'm in San Francisco, so it was early!) and turned on the TV in time to see Will getting in the car and from there I was hooked! I was misty eyed the whole time and I even squeed out loud at one point - who am I!?! So yes, I woke up and watched it and I loved every minute of it! What a beautiful, wonderful wedding :-)

13
Anna K
Apr 29, 2011

I felt a fierce pride I didn't know I had the capacity to feel. I'm not usually patriotic, at all. But today, especially London, was extraordinary. Plus, the ceremony contained the words "betwixt" and "troth". What more could one possibly want?

14
Sensibly Sassy
Apr 29, 2011

I woke up early this morning to watch. I am American through and through but I was excited simply for the fact that it felt so good to be happy for something joyful. This world had been throwing some curveballs lately so it was a pleasure to celebrate and watch two people that have loved each other for a long time get married in a wedding that was steeped (do you like my tea reference there?) in tradition. Yay!

15
lc
Apr 29, 2011

the other 'two hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine', i think you mean ! :D thassalotta people.
(i am truly not trying to be smarty-pantsy)

16
Linda
Apr 29, 2011

It's super nifty that you got to be in town for the wedding. I LOVED it--the dress, the spiffing up of the Abbey, the music, the joy--it was such fun, even from a distance. Great to hear about your experience. I'm sure it was special to experience it in first hand. So glad you were there!

17
Suzie
Apr 29, 2011

Oh so fun! So glad you could be there and experience that. My original plans to take the day off to immerse myself in all things British fell through with work obligations and I planned to watch the recorded video later. However my cat, Lady Jane Grey, woke me up at 2 AM so we both got up to watch it happen live. While I was exhausted this afternoon, I'm so glad I did!

18
Julie
Apr 29, 2011

I had the day off today and my daughter and I spent the morning watching the (recorded) event on my bed. I lived in the UK when William and Harry were toddlers and it made me feel somewhat like their old Auntie watching the wedding. The newlyweds seem genuinely happy and I wish them all the best.

19
Kate
Apr 29, 2011

My favorite part was when they got into the carriage and Catherine (she will always be Kate to me) looked over to william and said, "i'm so happy". I got chills. The heart wants what the heart wants.

20
Camels & Chocolate
Apr 29, 2011

So glad you had fun, and so cool you got to be in the midst of it all. I have flipped through the photos a bazillion times but haven't gotten around to watching my DVR recording of it--yet.

21
Pretzel Thief
Apr 29, 2011

Watched it. Loved it. LOVED Kate's gown, luuuurrrrved. So elegant and magnificent and YAY! They seem so genuinely in love and exude this warmth that's not typical to royals. Awesome that you and Susie experienced it all (and so jealous you're going Paris, waaaaaahhhh). Have a ball!

22
edj
Apr 29, 2011

They also sang "Love Divine" which is the hymn I had at MY wedding :) I watched it from Oregon and I was amazed at the crowds--you could tell, even on TV, that everyone was well behaved. At the end when they let them come right in front of the palace to see the kiss, everyone just sort of strolled down. A few people ran, but no one pushed or jostled or shouted. Go the Brits! (me, I'm 1/2 Welsh. I stayed up with my junior high age twins--figured a wasted day of school was worth the memories.)

23
edj
Apr 29, 2011

Forgot to mention I LOVED the title of your post. Snort!

24
Stacey
Apr 29, 2011

I'm American, but have lived in the UK for nearly 8 years. I was very eeh about the whole thing (aside from the extra day off work...woohoo!) but my 5 year old son wanted to watch it, and then I totally got swept up into it. What's not to like about such a lovely, happy occasion? But the best part was that my street threw a huge street party yesterday afternoon and evening in celebration, which again, I was very ambivalent about until yesterday. We couldn't resist the pull of all the people gathering down the street, and had a great time.

25
Caitie
Apr 30, 2011

I watched the whole thing on the BBC broadcast here in Switzerland. Being a Canadian, with my grandparents from England, I did feel a connection to the excitment and I never did feel any sort of *shrug* about the wedding. A few people I talked to had every reason in the world why the wedding should be scorned and not publicly celebrated, but you know, it's so tiring always listening to people list every 'practical' reason not to enjoy something. Isn't the celebrating of happiness practical too? Necessary, even? And if you can do it on a big scale, and touch so many people, well I'm all for that. I'm glad I got to see it, and even my Swiss husband was got caught up in it :-)

26
Nicole
Apr 30, 2011

I too watched the pomp and ceremony in Hyde Park and loved every single minute of the festivities! It was worth the 5.30am wake up to get a good position and the hours making finger sandwiches and chopping cucumber, orange, mint and strawberries for the Pimms. As a New Zealander, I felt a lot of pride for my home of 5 years. Rule, Britannia!

27
Shut The Folk Up
Apr 30, 2011

It's not cool to be patriotic in the UK, but yesterday everyone kind of forgot that.

28
Catharina
Apr 30, 2011

How lucky that you got to be in London for all the excitement! I wasn't planning on watching the wedding live on TV, but I totally did. It was beautiful.

Also, please write about your time in Paris in great detail. I am there for the next three weeks and love reading what people are up to :-) Have fun!

29
Alex
Apr 30, 2011

I felt the same way when I found out that I was in London at the same time the celebration for the Queen's Jubilee was going to happen. I'd been staying at the Earl's Court hostel - affectionately renamed Kangaroo Court because it seems to attract all the Aussies - and at the last minute, we all decided to grab some drinks and snacks and head down to Green park.

Let me tell you, it was some of the absolute MOST FUN EVER. Cheerful people having fun in glorious sunshine while listening to awesome music and just enjoying the moment.

I'm glad to see not much has changed since.

30
Marcheline
Apr 30, 2011

I loved the choral music - especially that piece that was written especially for them.

I loved the way Will and Kate kept sneaking looks at each other like "wait until all this frippery is over, just you wait".

I loved the sound of Will's voice - somehow I didn't expect it to be so deep and romantic!

I loved the look that Harry gave Kate just before the ceremony started... made me wonder if he was thinking about that one time, you know, before Will and she were really an item...

I loved the HATS!!!

I loved that Will and Kate kissed twice on the balcony, even though all the other royal couples only did it once.

31
steph
Apr 30, 2011

Oh I watched the whole thing and made scones and had chills and want to move to London right this very instant!

I loved your commentary! Thanks. :)

32
nancy
May 01, 2011

I thought it was a perfect day, I and knew Diana was watching too! William and Kate looked perfect and it was just a great moment!!

33
Imogen
May 01, 2011

Yup - I watched "The Wedding" online (from work no less) & LOVED it. It was nice to be part of a fairy-tale, for a while.

I actually get the whole camaraderie & national pride thing. Hell, I'm just a Greek who's in love with an Englishman and still all those Union Jacks made me feel patriotic :P

Must have been real special being there for it. Hope you brought some of those amazing cupcakes back with you (the "Keep Calm & Marry On" & "Let Them Eat Cake" ones were LOVELY!)

34
Ris
May 01, 2011

People singing en masse never fails to bring me at least to the brink of tears. Lovely.

35
Leslie
May 02, 2011

Oh, I have been unabashedly excited about the wedding since the engagement was announced. I got up at 4 a.m. EST to watch and was not at all disappointed. There were so many wonderful moments: the boys riding to the Abbey together, when William told Catherine she looked beautiful, THE DRESS!!!, their smirks, the accents. I absolutely loved it all and have watched it a couple of times since Friday. :) So glad you were able to be there for the experience!

36
sarah
May 02, 2011

I started to cry when you said all 300,000 of you rose when Kate entered the cathedral. I would have loved to have seen that. The BBC feed was focused on her, and none of slivers of highlights I've seen since have shown it.

It made me realize part of why I have been absorbed by their story. I wish for that kind of love in my life. Doesn't have to come with a title or a Seychelles honeymoon, just the love part.

37
Erin
May 02, 2011

I'm jealous!! It inexplicably touched me to see (on TV) the crowds gathered for the wedding. I had a little tea & viewing at my place on Saturday and have to say I'm glad I did.

38
annalou
May 02, 2011

I don't know if it's because I'm engaged or what, but I was SO emotional and happy the whole day! I had a feeling that I can only describe as patriotic...and I'm not even British! :)

39
Annabelle
May 03, 2011

We sang "Jerusalem" at my girls' school too--our founder's parents were British and she loved it, so even though hardly anyone sings it in the U.S, it brings tears to my eyes too!

40
Starla
May 05, 2011

Did you all see this? The Royal Wedding as it could have been. Brilliant!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnJ3dMAZDuU&feature=fvst

41
mike
May 06, 2011

lol - yep with you on that..I went form total disinterest at 10am to still be sitting in front of the tv at 10pm!

A great day for London

42
mélanie cardin
May 06, 2011

I saw the royal wedding on the TV because I'm gonna to France during this..

I really want came with you for this party.. ;(

 

 

 

S'il existe un moyen pour que la grossesse nous permettent de continuer à travailler je suis preneuse de toute information possible.

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