I 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.
After 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
The 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.
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
I 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.
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.
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.
And 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
The 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.
So 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!