"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

You, too, can own a set of these royal gnomes.
I have always been a complete and total Anglophile (among other things my ancestry goes back to several English kings and I love **McVitie's Chocolate biscuits). Today brought back so many memories of watching the wedding of "Chuck and Di" on July 29, 1981––nearly thirty years ago now! I was home for the summer between my freshman and sophomore years at college. My mother and I set the alarm early, made some coffee, noshed on some Danish, and tucked into the large couch in the farm living room (that we still have, reupholstered) with our large St. Bernard and Newfoundland, Molly and Nana. Back then you couldn't TeVo the wedding or even tape it onto VCR or watch it streaming on the Internet. It was live, but limited, coverage and it was just fine. After the wedding I headed to my summer job for 8am at the Kernel Bakery in nearby Peterborough.

Diana was iconic for my generation. Only a year older than I, her life seemed a fairy tale at the time. Everything about her was intriguing, even though, as in our own lives, we would later learn that the fairy tale was myth. But she still captivated my generation of women in a way that few have.

Catherine Middleton (for many years "Kate" and dubbed "Waity Katie" for her long time with Prince William) is now Her Royal Highness Princess William Arthur Philip Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus. [HRH The Princess of Wales seems a lot more succinct to me.] Her story, while still a bit Disney-esque, is more relatable. She is a modern woman: college educated, with hardworking parents, no title or royal heritage. The couple has been living together for many years now and has managed to live below the radar or the press or any scandal. She also had one long introduction to royal life, something that Diana, despite her background, did not.

But I have to say, as happy as anyone is for a newly-married couple, there hasn't been the wow factor for me. I find myself reflecting instead on that Diana is not there, or what would she have thought? What might she have worn as mother of the groom? One thing is certain: she would have been proud of her son William as she clearly did a magnificent job in raising him (as has Charles, despite his private gaffs). They are all human, after all.

Yet the pomp is much fun and a pleasant diversion and the music magnificent! [I was less interested in the fashion, although what a gown, and more into the many anthems by the Romantic Victorian composer Sir Charles Hubert Parry: "I Was Glad" has such memories for me, both as I have sung it in two choruses and of my father who was a big Parry fan.] We enjoyed the BBC coverage because we wanted more history and less "chat." And watching with my three children this morning––22, 13 and 11––and my husband was the real highlight [as was making cinnamon scones for them]. Sitting in our doublewide on a Kentucky ridge I also reflected how my life has changed in the past thirty years, how I have changed. Viewing London from afar I also realize that, while I was glad to have lived there as a student, I am quite happy to be where I am now.

On another note, my daughter and I are planning the menu now for our May Day tea party that I'm hosting for some Kentucky friends in a few days. I'll post some of the recipes––and photos––next week.

You come back when you're ready!


**And how cool that the Groom's Cake is made of McVitie's biscuits? When I was at University College London my friend Bethan, from Wales, gave me a recipe of her mom's that involved crushing up chocolate biscuits into a pan. It was divine. I have lost it but maybe with the wonders of the Internet I can find it again. It would seem the cake is an extended version of this idea.

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