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Sunday 20 May 2018

Thoughts on the royal wedding

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Image: USA Today
Image: USA Today

Thousands of column inches have been devoted to analysis of the royal wedding but undeterred, I'm going to give my two'pennorth  (or 10 cents, for US readers). Hold on to your hats ladies!

The Dress

My guilty pleasure is "Say Yes to the Dress" so I was very relieved when Meghan turned her back on both the fishtail and princess silhouettes. I liked the dress - classy and a bit Audrey Hepburn (a devotee of course of Givenchy). I liked the way she kept everything simple with no necklace, just the Queen Mary tiara and a gorgeous diamond bracelet from Cartier. However, the veil, described as "polite" by one of the fashion mags, was a little disappointing.

It wasn't obvious that the flowers represented 45 exotic blooms from the Commonwealth, and the material seemed very flimsy, like net curtains.  I would like to have seen a veil in perhaps the same gorgeous silk satay, or something more substantial. Both the Queen and the Duchess of York had veils with embroidered motifs of the Commonwealth and the UK, and theirs were somehow a lot more obvious.
The wedding in 1947 of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. Image: Bert Hardy, Picture Post / Getty
Soon to become Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Elizabeth's wedding in 1947. Image:Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty

The dress by Stella McCartney for the evening bunfight (as we say here) was sublime. Only someone very slim could get away with it.

The Guests

We already knew that Meghan would only have her mother at the service and subsequent do's, and that none of Harry's second cousins were invited.  At least the celebrities were mostly A list, except for Chloe Madeley, and we didn't have the likes of the cast of Geordie Shore or Celebrity Love Island turning up.

Learning that the celebrities were also invited to the 200 guest evening event was disappointing, although I know why they were there.  The newly weds are wisely keeping close to the rich and famous to help their charity endeavours in the future.  Think of it like corporate hospitality.

At least Elton John sang for his supper, although mercifully not "I wanna kiss the bride" or "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting."

The Outfits

The BBC's Huw Edwards must have said "more guests are arriving" about 20 times, which made me snort because that's what they do at weddings.

A lot of the outfits were navy or black, and I suspect the reason was The Longest Winter Ever, and the unpredictable weather of late.  Those ladies were thinking umbrellas would be in order, and they felt sure they'd be smug when everyone else in florals and high heels was squealing in puddles.

Some of the outfits were delightful:  I loved Kitty Spencer's emerald Dolce and Gabbana.  Serena Williams showed what a fine shape she has in her Versace dress. Amal Clooney was channelling Is This Mutton? in her yellow dress  (I wish!). 

Of the royals, Camilla looked elegant in pale pink, though her hat was a bit like a satellite dish and we couldn't see her face in the church.  The Countess of Wessex continues to up her game in the fashion stakes and looked marvelous.  The Princess Royal always wears something left-field and didn't disappoint:  I don't know where she finds her outfits. A dusty boutique in Sidmouth springs to mind. Her daughter Zara was glowing in the eighth month of pregnancy. Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie were sadly very conservative, having been dinged in the past for fashionable hats.

Nice to see proper hats and very few silly fascinators. But I bet a lot of ladies had hat hair afterwards.

Victoria Beckham was a poor advert for her own failing brand.  She wore a similar nondescript navy midi at William and Kate's wedding, although she was pregnant then.  She still wore the same scowl.  Tellingly, during the very long sermon, the cameras lingered on David Beckham who was deliberately staring at his wife as you do when you expect a response.  She just stared fixedly ahead, and it made me surmise they must have had a row. 

Poignant and Sad

I felt very sorry for Doria Ragland, Meghan's mother, who looked so alone and emotional.  She looked lovely in Oscar de la Renta and was very dignified.

Prince Harrry seemed overwhelmed at times and it reminded me how sensitive he is, and how he leans on Meghan  (he clutched her hand throughout the service) who was calm and confident throughout.

Acts of Kindness

I was relieved when I knew Prince Charles would accompany Meghan partway down the aisle.  (As an aside, nobody can legally "give away" a second time bride, despite the papers making this ludicrous claim). Prince Charles can be relied on to do things properly, and I'm sure he smells lovely.

I liked the way he held out his hand to Doria for the marriage licence bit, and then later, she held his other arm when they walked out into the sunshine.

The other act of kindness was from the Duchess of Cambridge.  Scarcely noticeable at the wedding as she ran around after small children, she was wearing a sweet but dull lemon coloured coat dress that she has worn twice before.  Now not even the Queens of Recycling, the Queen herself and the Princess Royal, would recycle an outfit so soon for a major event.  I believe Kate was saying "Nothing to see here" and determined that she wouldn't upstage Meghan in the way that her sister upstaged her.

A big hand for Fergie

The Duchess of York, if we can still call her that, was finally back in the fold! She had to walk into the church on her own but she did it with chutzpah. I loved the Michael Jackson one glove tribute.  I believe that when the Queen and Prince Philip have shuffled, Prince Andrew and Sarah will remarry.  You heard it here first!

Dear Philip

Many of us have a sneaky regard for that old curmudgeon, the Duke of Edinburgh, who's never knowingly Politically Correct. I just knew that he would be legging it into the church as spritely and upright as ever, even though he had major surgery a few weeks ago. I think we will all miss Philip, who's 97 very soon, when he is no longer here. In 2012, Philip was in hospital and had to miss the Diamond Jubilee concert, and I will always remember the crowd's sudden and unexpected chanting of  "Philip! Philip!" 

It was great to see him looking so cheerful at Harry and Meghan's wedding.

What were the highlights / lowlights for you?

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If you love royal weddings, check out my board at Pinterest featuring many UK and European royal weddings from the present day to more than 100 years ago.


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  1. What a fabulous review. I haven't watched the wedding but my 91 year-old mother has provided me with her recap and now I have enjoyed yours. I can't keep up with the Royals by title so had to keep a second tab open to look up some of the attendees to be sure I knew who they were. Glad to see Eugenie and Beatriz. Hoping you are right about Andrew and Sarah. I was so sad when they separated.

    1. Pleased to be of service ma'am! It would be great to see Andrew and Sarah remarry wouldn't it?

  2. I loved watching the wedding - even more than I expected. On some level I feel as if I know this family and are invested in them. It was lovely to see the brothers together, the children were adorable and I roared with laughter and the sideways glance Kate gave when the American preacher got in his swing! Wasn't it wonderful to see the venue too! x

    1. Yes it was a fantastic day - such a pity we have to wait so long for the next royal wedding. I know Princess Eugenie is getting married later this year but I'm not sure if it will be televised.

  3. In America it seems that the interest for the royal family is 50/50. I've never been interested before and have never watched any wedding until this one. I kept hearing so many good things about it, I ended up watching it on TouTube the next day. I thought it was beautiful! The couple seemed so much in love. I loved the preacher and the gospel choir. I disagree with you about her dress and veil. I didn't like the dress at all. I felt it was very matronly. I did like the veil. As for her mother, I'm surprised you read her that way. My friends and I were talking about how touched we were by her mom because she seemed so emotionally moved by the entire day. I loved the way she looked at her daughter when she walked in. But I do agree with you about all the acts of kindness, especially with Prince Charles interaction with her mother.

    1. I agree that Doria did look very moved by the whole thing but she did look a bit lonely on her own. Meghan was brave not to invite more of her family but it must have been daunting for her mother.

  4. Hmmm, thing is I'm a lapsed republican, Gail! So that means I'm not bothered enough to really want a President or whatever, but I am not in favour of privilege gained through birth. So for me, the royal family is tolerated but not approved of. Having said that I try not be a too baa humbug and I truly wish the couple well - everyone deserves happiness. And I agree with most of your really terrifically good review of that day - did not watch any of it though. But Kitty Spencer's dress and hat was absolutely the best outfit ever and yes, net curtains was the look of both the veil and train (is that how you spell it?) but the dress aced it. So, tons of good wishes to the couple, any couple, and can we have more of that American Reverend in CofE churches to liven up the proceedings, please.

    1. I know where you're coming from Penny. My views on the royal family were that it's a good investment because of the boost to tourism. I love a royal wedding though because we do all of that so well.

  5. Great summary, Gail. I liked the simplicity of the dress and I think Meghan didn't want the dress to upstage her, so that the focus was kept on her face. Pretty clever, really. And yes, so right, Kate's approach was respectful. Loved all the music. Hugs, x.


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