Call me silly.
I will own it proudly.
Though I’d prefer to consider it whimsy—much effort is required to maintain notions of fancy through adulthood. I’ve not always succeeded. What with bills to pay. Mouths to feed. Floors to sweep. Dishes to wash. Clothes to fold. Dogs to bathe. Plants to water.
But once upon a time, in a land far away, a little girl passed the afternoons with her grandmother, listening to tales of queens and princes.
My dad’s mother told me stories about Elizabeth, Charles, Anne, Andrew, little Edward, Phillip, Margaret and the Queen Mum, the way my other grandmother talked about her garden.
My grandmother longed, and I mean she really longed, for a connection to some semblance of royalty. She was a seamstress in small town Mississippi. Innocent delusions of grandeur made life more exciting. She insisted that we were descendents of Russian czars. (Never mind that we’re not Russian, and czars were still going strong in Russia 20 years after her parents’ births.) She named her only daughter Victoria, and the two of them often spoke of the Windsors and Wales. They had unspoken plans about Charles. I vaguely remember my grandmother sitting at her sewing machine making my aunt’s wedding dress, lamenting that now her daughter would never marry Charles.
Listening to all this talk that wouldn’t have made sense had I understood, led to much confusion on my part. Years passed before I figured out that these people my grandmother spoke of on a first-name basis had absolutely no connection to our lives.
And then a few years passed. I fell in love with Shakespeare (about the same time Charles didn’t fall in love with Diana). English literature sealed what my grandmother had started. I’ll admit I became rather obsessed—in an age when information wasn’t so handy. I read (and memorized) everything that I could find about the royals—Diana, in particular. I got up for Charles and Diana’s wedding. I cringed when she got his name wrong and wondered if they were really married.
My college roommate recently told me, “I had never met anyone who knew so much about any one subject as you did the English royal family back then.”
But, alas and alack, adulthood happened.
Though my fancy didn’t fade, I just didn’t have the time my grandmother had had to keep up. And, I’ll concede that the whole thing seemed so…silly (especially after Sarah Ferguson got involved). But in free moments I could steal, I continued to devour what information I could.
I watched little William grow up. Then cute little Harry. I watched Diana’s marriage unravel. I appreciated the Queen’s annus horribilis remark. In 1997, Diana’s untimely demise came a week after my daughter was born. That night was as close to depressed as I’ve ever been.
Last fall, my 13-year-old daughter, Greer, started paying attention to the royals. And, that’s all I needed. By the time William and Kate announced their engagement, I was up to snuff on all the details once again.
A few months later, I decided the time for silly had come.
I searched plane tickets and found a bargain. When else in life would I be able to share something like this with my daughter? I bought the tickets, booked the room (another bargain, mind you) and come Monday, Greer and I take off for London for the week of the royal wedding.
We’ve got a week of whimsy and wonder in the works. On Thursday night, we plan to sleep on the streets with throngs of others in order to secure a good spot for watching the wedding procession.
Go ahead; call me silly all over again! I don’t mind. We should all have our fancies and act on them from time to time.
I wish I could tell my grandmother about this one.
Call me silly.