Posts Tagged ‘royal wedding’

1
May

From London…a fairy tale adventure.

by Jan in Uncategorized

My 13-year-old daughter and I spent Thursday night on what they call The Mall here in London. We picked a spot in front of Clarence House.
Truth be told, we didn’t sleep well for loads of reasons, including…the line of 30 portable loos about 25 yards back had doors that slammed like cannons. Four British ladies had a tea party through most of the night just beside us. Shortly after Big Ben chimed 4 a.m., two guys took a spot just behind us. For the rest of the night, they loudly strategized on how to get the best views once the procession began, largely based on overtaking our position.
My fingers may have developed temporary frostbite.
Oh, and a very drunk, completely tone-deaf man wrapped in a flag of England, sang/yelled “God Save the Queen” on a continuous loop until around 4 when he switched to “Royal Britannia.”
About that time, the Metropolitan Police walked up The Mall. They walked in a straight line from one side of the street to the other. They were whistling as they approached, but just before they reached us, the whole line of policemen began to sing the Theme of StarWars. That’s what kind of night it was—policemen walking in sync, smiling and singing at 4 a.m. The response from the masses, most of whom were trying to get some rest, polite waves of applause.
Sleep was hard to come by, but the night had certain magic. Little practical things added up. For example, there were no trashcans and thousands upon thousands of people, yet I didn’t see a single piece of paper on the ground. People stored away their rubbish and kept the grounds immaculate through the night.
By the time morning came, many more people began to arrive. We were on the front line of the barricades, and people were about 20 deep behind us. Police were stationed every 15 feet in front of us. For many, the police in front of them became “friends.” After 6 a.m., street sweepers and occasional mounted police passed. The crowd cheered every time they passed. The drivers occasionally waved like they were the parade. Our little group of about 15 girls around us started the wave at 7 a.m. (or the Mexican Wave, as the New Zealanders beside us called it.) Korean and Norwegian television and radio journalists interviewed us.
At one point, someone on the other side of the street in Hyde Park, did a little cheer, “Give me a ‘J,’ give me an ‘A,’” etc. Eventually, they spelled out the name of policeman directly in front of them, ending with a song, “We love you, James, oh yes, we do.”
It was one lovely moment like that after another.
When the guests started passing, we began to ready for all the royals. One by one, each car passed. To put the excitement level in perspective, our new friends and camp mates, Jen and Char, are lifelong Englanders; one works 15 yards from Westminster Abbey, the other 25 yards from Buckingham Palace. They love the Queen and her family. Yet, until Thursday morning, neither had ever laid eyes on the Queen or anyone else in the royal family, for that matter. They were giddy.
Heck, everyone around us was giddy.
When the entourage made their way down the street in front of us from the palace, they all waved at us.
They all smiled. They all looked lovely. We smiled back, and perhaps, we didn’t look quite as lovely.
The wedding started and BBC Radio piped in the ceremony on loudspeakers for us all. We followed along on our programs. We sang the hymns. We said the prayers. We cheered when the priest pronounced them man and wife. We wiped away a tear every now and then. Even the most cynical among us couldn’t have helped but to have been touched by the allure of it all.
It was like a fairy tale, and we felt a part of it.
Trials surely will come for each and everyone of us—even William and Kate, but for me, the moment shared by many was one of collective hope and prayer that each of us has a chance to live happily ever after.

30
Apr

It was like a fairy tale…

by Jan in Uncategorized

My 13-year-old daughter and I spent Thursday night on what they call The Mall here in London. We picked a spot in front of Clarence House.
Truth be told, we didn’t sleep well for loads of reasons, including…the line of 30 portable loos about 25 yards back had doors that slammed like cannons. Four British ladies had a tea party through most of the night just beside us. Shortly after Big Ben chimed 4 a.m., two guys took a spot just behind us. For the rest of the night, they loudly strategized on how to get the best views once the procession began, largely based on overtaking our position.
My fingers may have developed temporary frostbite.
Oh, and a very drunk, completely tone-deaf man wrapped in a flag of England, sang/yelled “God Save the Queen” on a continuous loop until around 4 when he switched to “Royal Britannia.”
About that time, the Metropolitan Police walked up The Mall. They walked in a straight line from one side of the street to the other. They were whistling as they approached, but just before they reached us, the whole line of policemen began to sing the Theme of StarWars. That’s what kind of night it was—policemen walking in sync, smiling and singing at 4 a.m. The response from the masses, most of whom were trying to get some rest, polite waves of applause.
Sleep was hard to come by, but the night had certain magic. Little practical things added up. For example, there were no trashcans and thousands upon thousands of people, yet I didn’t see a single piece of paper on the ground. People stored away their rubbish and kept the grounds immaculate through the night.
By the time morning came, many more people began to arrive. We were on the front line of the barricades, and people were about 20 deep behind us. Police were stationed every 15 feet in front of us. For many, the police in front of them became “friends.” After 6 a.m., street sweepers and occasional mounted police passed. The crowd cheered every time they passed. The drivers occasionally waved like they were the parade. Our little group of about 15 girls around us started the wave at 7 a.m. (or the Mexican Wave, as the New Zealanders beside us called it.) Korean and Norwegian television and radio journalists interviewed us.
At one point, someone on the other side of the street in Hyde Park, did a little cheer, “Give me a ‘J,’ give me an ‘A,’” etc. Eventually, they spelled out the name of policeman directly in front of them, ending with a song, “We love you, James, oh yes, we do.”
It was one lovely moment like that after another.
When the guests started passing, we began to ready for all the royals. One by one, each car passed. To put the excitement level in perspective, our new friends and camp mates, Jen and Char, are lifelong Englanders; one works 15 yards from Westminster Abbey, the other 25 yards from Buckingham Palace. They love the Queen and her family. Yet, until Thursday morning, neither had ever laid eyes on the Queen or anyone else in the royal family, for that matter. They were giddy.
Heck, everyone around us was giddy.
When the entourage made their way down the street in front of us from the palace, they all waved at us.
They all smiled. They all looked lovely. We smiled back, and perhaps, we didn’t look quite as lovely.
The wedding started and BBC Radio piped in the ceremony on loudspeakers for us all. We followed along on our programs. We sang the hymns. We said the prayers. We cheered when the priest pronounced them man and wife. We wiped away a tear every now and then. Even the most cynical among us couldn’t have helped but to have been touched by the allure of it all.
It was like a fairy tale, and we felt a part of it.
Trials surely will come for each and everyone of us—even William and Kate, but for me, the moment shared by many was one of collective hope and prayer that each of us has a chance to live happily ever after.

29
Apr

for Holly…Beatrice and Eugenie…and that crazy hat

by Jan in Uncategorized

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Apr
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Apr
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Apr
26
Apr

Welcome to Britain!

by Jan in Uncategorized

Three people have told us, “Welcome to Britain.” It’s been a lovely first day to be here (other than almost setting off the hotel’s fire alarm because of a little mix-up we had with an electrical converter)! At any rate, we’re exhausted and ready for bed!

24
Apr

LSS: Call me silly. Royally silly, in fact.

by Jan in Uncategorized

Call me silly.
Go ahead.
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.