This report follows the Royal Wedding TM early morning report. My God it was cold this morning. Some spectators wrapped themselves in foil in an effort to keep warm. Up on our prime viewing position we felt the cold wind as it blew in from the North and we swigged back hot cups of tea and coffee whilst we prayed for the time to move quicker and the sun to come out.
By now we were locked inside our building deep inside the secured inner sanctum around Westminster Abbey. We even had our own bobby on the beat – a policeman ready to pounce from behind if we did anything that threatened to disrupt the Royal Wedding TM.
The noise and excitement that had punctuated the air in the previous evening and early morning had gradually given way to hushed expectation. The ‘commoners’ amongst the invited congregation were the first to arrive, including David and Victoria Beckham and Elton John. Unfortunately for us, they were only deemed worthy of entrance to the Abbey via the side entrance, out of view from our position. But I did catch a glimpse of David Beckham’s new hairstyle via the TV coverage. Yes, another one. Very ‘Clark Kent‘ – I’m sure he was secretly wearing Superman underpants too.
The visiting dignitaries were the first guests to enter through the main entrance. There were the token representatives from Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries, both large and tiny. That is, the countries, not the people – I’m not sizeist. There were also several politicians, although no Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. I wonder why… [cough] Iraq war [cough] economy in recession. The prize for the most unlikely couple went to the Speaker of the House of Commons and his infeasibly tall wife. Who was wearing high heels.
Next up were the heads of state and former monarchs, such as the deposed King of Romania. Then Princes William and Harry arrived to a rapturous response and military salutes, looking dapper in their uniforms. When the Middleton extended family arrived, they seemed bemused at our crammed balconies, waving and staring up at us like we were the celebrities! It really showed how they were perhaps overawed at the sense of occasion and enjoying the pomp and ceremony just as much as the crowd.
With 15 minutes to go, the final royal cars arrived, carrying the bridesmaids and page boys and Prince Charles and Camilla, followed by Queen Liz and the Duke of
fox hunting Edinburgh. Finally the wait was over and princess-to-be Kate Middleton arrived looking beautiful in a flowing white dress with a train shorter than seen in previous royal weddings. She had clearly decided to have a modern take on the tradition. After a ceremony of around 80 minutes, the happy couple left the Abbey to be given a full military escort from scores of mounted guards in an open-top horse-drawn carriage, as they took the 1.5 mile trip back to Buckingham Palace where they appeared on the balcony for the kiss, as the sun made an appearance.
Well, was it worth the sleep deprivation and near frostbite? Hell yes! I feel genuinely privileged to have been able to stand in the best viewing position alongside Westminster Abbey for the type of historical event that only comes around every few decades. I love the tradition behind such occasions and, although I’m not a monarchist, I wish nothing but happiness for William and Kate in what seems like a marriage made in heaven.