Royal Wedding to Come and Others I Have Known…

Royal Wedding April 2011I remember watching the last Royal Wedding on television (well, bits of it) in April 2011. To be honest, I was surprised at how moved I was.

There is something heroic about that promise, “Until Death us do Part.” Especially so, when the two people making it have actually chosen each other.

Royal Wedding 1922After all, in the past, many royal weddings took place between people who were not much more than pieces on someone else’s chess board.

In 1922 my grandmother went to see the procession for the wedding of the Queen’s aunt to Viscount Lascelles. She came home, shocked, and told her sister that the young princess’s eyes were red with crying. Princess Mary was 24, her bridegroom 39. He looks grim in the wedding photograph.

In Romantic Fiction

Not a Royal wedding. Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger in Prisoner of ZendaThe royal wedding has long been a mainstay of romantic fiction, both on screen and the page. Sometimes it is tragic. Who can forget the heroic Princess Flavia saying goodbye to her lover, to fulfil her duty and marry his doppelgänger, the unlovable King Rudolf V?

But mostly it steps up to the plate and delivers a Happy Ever After ending, even when the hero is the Heir to the Throne.

I even wrote one myself, to celebrate that 2011 wedding, To Marry a Prince by Sophie Page

My Own Royal Wedding of the Year

Together with three friends-and-favourite-authors, I wrote a quartet about planning a royal wedding, published In October. Psychic? Moi? It’s not just about the royals but the stories of other people who make the wedding happen – a gorgeous cook, a seriously chilly Head of Security, and a rock star best man, among others.Royal Wedding Invitation Series Banner

My own hero, Prince Jonas, is not the heir to the  throne, but he’s still enmeshed in a tangle of obligation and affection and only comes into his own when he escapes to work in the San Michele Forest. In contrast, Hope, my heroine, is a free spirit, without ties or responsibilities, just a lot of courage and a few hang-ups. Technically. Until she meets Jonas, anyway.

My Closest to Royal Wedding Experience

Royal Wedding, black and white marble floorI was once a bridesmaid at a wedding which, while not royal, was taking place in a distinguished historical building, the chapel of a Cambridge college.

It had some glorious wood panelling and a fine black and white marble floor. Think somewhere between Alice in Wonderland and a pint-sized Sienna Cathedral.

There were three of us bridesmaids. I was the tall(ish) one in the middle. The other two were about six years old. One was Good but Tenacious. The Other was Willing but Worried.

Crisis Moment

Mother and child hold hands in field of poppies - royal wedding

um – up to point

They were both sweethearts but a tad unpredictable, at least to a woman without much childcare experience. Both wanted to hold my hand, especially as we went down the aisle.

Worried B required the full complement of fingers to hold her twitchy little paw. Tenacious B coped with the fact that I was also holding my bridesmaid’s bouquet and order of service in the hand to which she was attached.

We reach the altar. The (gorgeous) organ music stops. The echoes settle.The officiating priest steps forward. The congregation holds its breath.

Bride and bridesmaid's bouquet, Royal Wedding

The bride, turns to me with a beatific smile and holds out her flowers.

AAAARGH! (You’re counting the hands, right?)

For a wild moment I consider catching the bouquet with my teeth.

Then – “Why don’t you take Aunty Jilly’s flowers?” I murmur to Tenacious B.

With a winning smile, (chorus of “aah’s” from the congregation) she lets go my hand and accepts the bouquet

Service concludes. Bride and groom sign the register and return to the aisle for the procession to leave.

seizing the bouquet Royal WeddingAnd the Tenacious Bridesmaid doesn’t want to give the bride’s flowers back. (I bet you saw that coming. Wish I had!)

Bride’s smile becomes a bit fixed.

A wrestling match with a 6-year-old? In front of a congregation who are melting over her already? (Did I say she has curls?)

I bend closer and murmur, between my teeth, “Give them back to Aunty Jilly with a nice big curtsey. Now.

And, little ham, she does.

Congregation turns into a pile of warm honey.

And I flounder and skid about on that blasted marble, nearly bringing down flowers and both Bs with me until, at last, I reach the open air and release the Bs to their respective parents.

Royal Wedding in 2018

St George's Chapel, Windsor, 1867 Royal WeddingThe UK is mostly delighted to hear the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to marry in the spring, probably in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

“Good news, at last,” I hear on the lips of the Brexit-bothered populace.

I offer the Prince and his fiancée my warmest wishes for their wedding and future life together. But I’ve looked at that painting of St George’s Chapel and it has a black and white checked floor. Ominous.

bridal ankle boots, Royal WeddingSo I offer them two small pieces of advice.

1 Get a dedicated Small Bridesmaid Wrangler.

2  Investigate St George’s Chapel floor. Looks dangerous to me. Make sure your shoes won’t skid and, unlike I did, practise, practise, practise!

 

16 thoughts on “Royal Wedding to Come and Others I Have Known…

  1. Joanna

    What a great story, Sophie. Made me laugh, anyway, even here in deepest [wettest] Italy where I’m about to climb Vesuvius in the rain. As you do 😉

    Reply
    1. Sophie Post author

      Glad you laughed, Joanna. So do I. Now. Might have been different if I’d actually ended on that blasted floor, mind you.

      Good luck on Vesuvius.

      Reply
        1. Joanna

          Thanks both for good wishes re Vesuvius. We didn’t get to the top. Path was closed because of a landslip and also quite a lot of snow. I believe it’s worse today with snowstorms up there.

          Reply
    1. Sophie Post author

      How very kind, Jan. I did a lot of research on royal weddings for those two books – never thought to include the demon marble floor, though. Doh!

      Reply
  2. lesley2cats

    Oh, I loved that! And I remember That Book and its gestation well. Still have it, and now have The Prince’s Bride as well.

    Reply
    1. Sophie Post author

      All of us who do ought to make a pact to go the next time it’s screened somewhere.Or have a girls’ night in with the DVD. Maybe around the Conference?

      Reply
  3. Elizabeth Bailey

    Adore the Prisoner of Zenda, loved your To Marry A Prince, and rolled about laughing at the bridesmaid story. Great post.

    Reply
  4. Kelly Hunter

    Love your bridesmaid story, Sophie (I wouldn’t have seen it coming either. Nor would I have come up with your brilliant save). And I’m so looking forward to the 2018 UK royal wedding. I love the fairy tale.

    Reply
    1. Sophie Post author

      I’ll be honest, Kelly, the teeth seemed my only option for a ghastly minute. Desperation is the mother of invention.

      I think lots of us are looking forward to that royal wedding, including me. Something nice happening! At last!

      Reply

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