The Royal Wedding


Finally!  Sorry for the long delay in this post … the royal wedding was more than a week ago, but a combination of technical troubles and personal procrastination led to, well … not blogging for a week.  🙂

My friend Sarah and I were, at first, going to go down to the Mall and watch the procession from there.  But when I heard the estimates of between 1 and 3 million people expected, I knew we had to find an alternate plan!

The entrance to the Chelsea Physic Garden.

Luckily I heard about the Chelsea Physic Garden. It’s a small botanic garden just north of the Thames, and they were having an all-day party with big screen televisions to watch the action. It worked out perfectly. They also had a full-service kitchen, and were offering a special “wedding breakfast”, and then a nice lunch, and an evening roast.  Sarah and I took the bus there and arrived promptly at 10:00.  I was afraid there would be a ton of people, but it was just nicely full.  We got  good seat inside the main hall to watch the screens, and enjoyed a nice cup of tea.  I think the best part of going there was that there were no tourists. Everyone there was a local, and most seemed to be members.

Set up for the garden party.

Sarah and I wore our hats, of course … because when else are we going to have the opportunity?  Sarah’s hat was totally perfect!  I was a touch jealous, because mine was a more practical sun hat. I should have gone for the feathered fascinator!   There were quite a few people with tiaras and crowns.  There were also a lot of people wearing full-size Will and Kate masks!

Sarah in her fabulous hat!

We were able to watc h the royal wedding surrounded by British people, and it was pretty cool to see their reactions. Everyone was so hopeful and happy … (admittedly, I think the people who were not happy probably wouldn’t have come out to the party, so it’s a self-selecting group), but still!

Watching Kate walk down the aisle!

Watching everyone else watch Kate walk down the aisle!

I really enjoyed the experience.  And the gardens were lovely. We walked around a bit after the balcony kiss, and now I definitely want to go back. We enjoyed a quick lunch between the ceremony and the balcony kiss. Sarah got the sausage rolls, and I thought I was being all clever by ordering a pint of prawns (just because I’d never heard them served that way — it sounded cool). But then when they arrived I discovered that they still had tails, and heads, and crawly little legs!  It was a challenge. I did my best, but after about 5 or 6 prawns, I caved in and ordered the sausage rolls too!

I feel like I'm being watched.

At about 2pm  (the balcony kiss was at 1:30) we left the gardens and started walking up to Sloane Square. When we reached the square, there was a newspaperman handing out copies of the Evening Standard (a free daily paper) … and I was shocked to see that they had already printed an entire newspaper about the wedding, with the front page a picture that had been taken less than two hours before! I can honestly say that it’s the only time in my life when I’ve picked up a paper that was still warm to the touch from the printing press!

This woman had a Kate mask AND a golden crown!

Then we walked up towards Hyde Park, through Kensington. We saw lots and lots of people walking the other way — they had all watched the wedding from the park, and were heading home.  But when we got to the park, there were still masses of people hanging out. It was obvious that most were making a whole day of the event, with picnics and lunch and blankets spread out on the grass.  I have to admit, there was a lot of drinking also. And there were quite a few heavily intoxicated groups who had obviously started drinking quite early in the day.  (But what can you expect, this is England!)

The crowds in Hyde Park.

After walking in Hyde Park for a while, Sarah and I headed over to the Dorchester, a fancy-pants hotel on Park Lane. I had made reservations several weeks ago for Afternoon Tea.  We arrived a bit early, but they told us to go away and come back at the proper time!  I should have known they would be sticklers for propriety.

I was a little unsure of what to expect from an afternoon tea. But it was lovely!  They served these little sandwiches, which were quite tasty. Then we had what has to be the best concept EVER …. pre-dessert. It was a palate-cleansing raspberry mousse/smoothie thing … and it was lovely. Then we had scones and jam/cream.  And after that we had the dessert, which were delicious little creations of chocolate and fruit and yumminess.  And of course, we had champagne and tea. I am now a huge fan of the whole concept of afternoon tea!

The spread at the Dorchester was pretty swank!

A pretty neat thing happened while we were enjoying our tea. We saw several couples come in in very fancy dress (I’m talking formal wear — morning suits and hats). And they were carrying the full-size wedding program that had been given out at the church and we had seen on television.  So we actually had tea with people who were in the church that morning!  How cool is that?  Of course, we have no idea who they were, but still.  🙂

So then we stumbled home, happy and satisfied.  Sarah has some better pics of the tea, so I’ll have to ask her to send them over and then I’ll post.

As for the wedding itself,  I thought Kate looked amazing!  William was very handsome, and Harry was quite dashing. I know everyone is raving about how great Pippa looked, but I thought she was a bit too sexy. It’s a fine line, and I personally would have wanted to be more on the dignified side, especially for this particular event!

So the happy couple is now back in Wales … the newspaper had a picture of Kate doing her shopping this week, so I suppose her goal of “just being a housewife for now” was fairly accuate (although in all honesty, what else could she possibly be?).  I wish them all the luck and happiness in the world.

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Posted on 07/05/2011, in Silly British Things and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Astrid, Soooo very cool! what a terrific experience! History and romance in the making! All quite exciting! While I loved the dress and thought she was ravishing, I found the ceremony almost funneral like. thanks for sharing your wedding fun with the royals.
    Valerie

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