The Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, which took Kate and her father to the Abbey .. looks really old when you see it if you do a tour of the Royal Mews ... the car is in a space that only just holds it .. but when you see the Procession with the flags flying, the outriders .. it looked spectacular.
So Kate, the commoner, has a pretty good ride to the Abbey, as did the Queen and rest of the senior Royal family in other Royal vehicles .. then the surprise ... the junior Royals all packed into four charabancs for the journey to the Service at the Abbey. (The cars/characbancs used to ferry members of the royals and Middleton family were all brand new with consecutive number plates ...)
The Bells of Westminster Abbey ring out as Prince William arrives at the Abbey – he’s wearing the Garter Sash and Star, with his Royal Air Force Wings ... there are only1,000 members of the Royal Garter. (It is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England, founded in 1348.)
I've just found out that Prince William’s finery was made of some heat proof material, so he wouldn’t wilt or faint under the lights ... attention to detail? Not sure about Harry .. but he and I share a challenge – ruddy faces!
The Abbey filled with representatives from 50 governments and Commonwealth countries, with family members, members from Bucklebury village, and celebrities – for most of the 1900 guests there was no seating plan .. first come first serve: that must have surprised some!
The Garden of Britain had transformed Westminster Abbey ... the trees will be planted out at Highgrove, Prince Charles’ country residence, while the mesmerising floral displays were given to charities.
The cameras in the vaulted ceiling of the Abbey and transepts gave us wonderful kaleidoscopic views ... the green trees flanking that long long red carpet on the white and black herringbone tiles .... where some hours later the cartwheeling verger surprised the world with his antics .. and no doubt himself, once he’d realised the cameras hadn’t been switched off!
|The Royal Garter|
Apparently the next day a couple tied the knot in the Abbey and, though their wedding took place in the smaller Lady Chapel, their guests were able to walk down the main aisle and enjoy that astonishing display of trees and flowers ...
The Queen arrived in Primrose Yellow – wasn’t it a lovely colour – the bells now Peel out, the State trumpeters trumpet, the Household Cavalry resplendent in their red and gold tunics had escorted the Queen and Prince Philip.
Interspersed with the families’ journeys from the Palace or the Goring Hotel in Belgravia, were shots of the guests as they took their seats, comments on their outfits were made – there were some stunning outfits and some ghastly mistakes ... the cameras honed in on the Royals too ...
A Leyland Tiger used by
Southdown Motor Services
in England – 'what' we used
to call a charabanc
when we were children
Kate arrives – looking absolutely splendid in her very simple flowing wedding dress – the clock seemed to have turned back ... lace and satin. The classic, lace dress with a romantic veil of filmy, ivory tulle trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers – both romantic and traditional, playing a tribute to the Arts and Crafts Movement .. the rose of England, the daffodil of Wales, the thistle of Scotland and the trefoil for Ireland.
Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen designed THAT dress .. but the amazing thing is that everyone involved in the opening of the Retrospective Highlights Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art last week were so anxious about the downbeat take on the Exhibition due to McQueen’s death in 2010 ... turned the tables and it was suddenly being hailed as a magnificent celebration of his life ...
.... due to THAT dress! Now to quote Business World Online “McQueen’s interest in history, patriotism and nationalism are featured in his works and shows, which each tell a story.” What a story the McQueen legacy now has to tell ... and apparently in an interview Burton gave a few weeks ago there was no give away that she was the designer ... but as an afterthought the interviewer said of course if I’d had my eyes open .. the workrooms were filled with royal regalia .. perhaps a glimpse of what was to come.
The care and concern of true workmanship ... the attention to detail (needle-workers from Hampton Court washing their hands every thirty minutes to keep the lace pristine), the guarding of sensitive information (who was the designer), not letting the secrets out of the bag ... the long hours, the determination to succeed, the proof of the pudding in the revelation of that simple, yet sumptuous, sight – traditional yet modern ...
The Queen had loaned the “halo” tiara to hold the veil in place (the Queen Mother had presented Princess Elizabeth with the Cartier tiara on her 18th birthday); the bouquet reminded us of our history, how flowers have played a part in our stories ...
... Myrtle stems ( emblem of marriage and love) planted by Queen Victoria at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, were used as the base for the shield-shaped bouquet, woven with Lily of the Valley (signifying return of happiness), Sweet William (gallantry), Hyacinth (constancy of love) and Ivy (fideility).
The Coat of Arms bestowed on the Middleton family, is merged into the Arms of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – shown here. The Duchess’ earrings were inspired by the Acorn and Oak Leaves, included in her Arms echoing her tiara.
The bouquet was returned to Westminster Abbey to rest on a white satin pillow on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the public to see at close quarters.
To conclude this part – the cartoon in The Saturday Times the next day is just wonderful ... can you visualise: two Devils, tridents stomped on the floor, fire and brimstone bubbling up around them, discussing the day ... saying grumpily to themselves “That’s all we need a marriage made in heaven”! Wonderful .. makes me smile and I know I'll get a big grin from my mother..
Last but not least .. because I’ve just seen it – talk about cashing in ... you can get, for $10, The Royal Wedding for Dummies ... ?!
|Stables in the Royal Mews|
Dear Mr Postman – Mum and I have had a non end of the weekend .. Saturday was fine with Janice giving Mum a massage and having a good chat ... then late in the evening I get a call that we have to go to hospital as the feeding tube has come out.
I get home at 2.45 a.m. – “sleep” for 4 hours and am back at the hospital ... as the Consultant Gastroenterologist is on duty Sunday morning (luck does hold sometimes!) ... he recognises us and says, with some of his ‘toys’, he may be able to help .. an hour and a half later it’s fixed.
Six hours after that we get discharged ... there was an emergency and understandably the paperwork was delayed .. so effectively I had 18+ hours at the hospital ... Mum was awake all the time .. so I expect she’ll sleep very well today! Still at least she’s not in hospital today waiting to get on the list ... thankfully!
PS – she does love hearing from everyone .. her eyes open in wonder every time I mention hugs sent from overseas ... another dimension to care – which is so wonderful for us – thank you so much.
Business World Online Edition - Retrospective highlights Alexander McQueen's career
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