For the past few weeks, the world has been aflutter over the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. Dan Rather has been incensed by it (lighten up, Kenneth, that’s not the frequency) and the rest of us employ a healthy interest and curiosity. Let’s face it, with all the bad news, this fairytale in-the-making creates an uplifting diversion.
In the days before the wedding, London became a campground to world travelers hoping to get but a momentary glimpse of the bride and groom on the wedding day. 12-year-old Stella-Quinn Hernandez, a secondary school student at St Marylebone Cofe School in Central London said she wanted to camp out, “But my mum wouldn’t let me.” Stella-Quinn lives in Earls Court near Kensington Palace where William and Kate could live one day upon their return from Wales. Instead, Stella-Quinn celebrated the day by watching the wedding with her family at an aunt’s house and having a tea party with cupcakes, cucumber sandwiches, and deviled eggs made by “mum” Gillian.
Nonetheless, just a day or two before the wedding celebration, Stella-Quinn walked around London surveying the excitement flowing through the city. She visited shops and bakeries, Buckingham Palace and Oxford Street, one of the main shopping districts in London (see Stella-Quinn’s image gallery below). “I think Kate’s a style icon,” she says. “She looks like a model and wears designers like Victoria Beckham. She also shops in the High Street shops. She got a dress in Warehouse which is not expensive and I have something from there too.”
But, even at 12, Stella-Quinn sees the pluses and the pitfalls of being a princess. “To be a real princess would be great! You can go anywhere you want and have great opportunities but I wouldn’t want to have everyone follow me around. It would be fantastic to get loads of clothes from designers because I like shopping. But I like having a normal family too.”
In New York City, wedding parties flourished in Times Square, Greenwich Village, and The Paley Center. At the Paley Center, attendees sipped cups of English Breakfast Tea and nibbled scones and tea sandwiches while watching the wedding live on an HD movie screen with beautiful resolution and state-of-the-art sound. The Paley Center organizers invited attendees to wear bridesmaid gowns and hosted a contest but not many humiliated themselves for the occasion. Instead, like the wedding attendees in London, some wore cocktail hats known as “fascinators,” mostly tame compared to the styles in London which resembled art in some cases and outlandishness and gaudiness in others. The Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, for example, may have gone overboard, judging from the throngs of laughter in the audience. (Remember Carrie Bradshaw’s blue bird fascinator at her ill-fated wedding to Mr. Big in Sex and the City 1?)
Back in the U.K., wedding guests received a 22-page manifesto from the Palace, which outlined the dos and do nots of Royal Wedding etiquette including such details as how to properly hoist a tea cup to your lips, Royal table manners, and champagne glass protocol. The document apparently advised on attire and how to address the Queen, should you find yourself in the awkward position of having a chat with Her Royal Highness (or is it Her Majesty?). But really, how can you resist the rules of a Queen who shows up in luminous yellow and sunshiny brightness? Curtsies to her!
As the camera spanned Westminster Abbey and the sea of bonnets and fascinators strewn across the landscape, one could only ponder the questions New Yorkers were thinking but were afraid to ask: Who are the Real Royal Housewives of Buckingham Palace? And, how would Andy Cohen cast this show? Tough call, but a preliminary line-up featuring Sarah Duchess of York, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Chelsy Davy, and sisters Kate Duchess of Cambridge and Pippa Middleton (if Pippa and Harry get together, we could have another Manzo situation, only with crowned jewels) wouldn’t be too bad, right?
Andy Cohen, can you make this happen?