My mother is a Royalist.
My gran and aunt were also Royalists Deluxe! Mums has a whole collection of magazines that were passed down to her from gran. There is one showing 1923 – Their Majesties – 1948. Then there is a London News with an illustration of Princess Elizabeth and Philip headed Royal Wedding Number. Also there is one with E11R Coronation Number. The pages are old and crackled as mums gently turned from one bit of history to the next. On the wall going up to her bedroom is a picture of King George and his Queen, with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. It looks as if the King is making some corny comment to Margaret which the others are laughing at. She does not look amused!
“That was taken in Pietermaritzburg where your gran did all of the catering for a luncheon for the royal family and guests. It was in 1947,” mums said reading from the back of the picture.
Polly, the lady that looked after mums when she was young, was at the garden party hoping to get a glimpse of the King and Queen. The Queen spotted Polly and came across to her and remarked what a lovely garden party it was. If Polly had been caucasian, she would have turned a violent pink with pleasure. Instead, smiling shyly she promptly did, not a curtesy, but a bow and said : “Thank you, Mrs Queen, Madame!”
Throughout her married life, Libby (mums’ sister) collected Coronation mugs. She had the most amazing collection. These are just a small portion of them and the history they carry with them. Mums has this tin box that dates back to 1900, Queen Victoria’s time. And coins celebrating the royal visit in 1947.
I laugh at the way my mother buys any magazine with a member of the royal family on the cover, providing it’s not madly expensive like Vogue! Every single royal wedding has been watched avidly, celebrated and the divorces grieved over.
Since dad’s death, mums has not been a great one for entertaining on her own. But on the 19th May, the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, mums naturally had to mark the occasion! She invited 9 guests to celebrate the wedding with her. I love to celebrate. A celebration holds a joyousness about it. For me it contains a taste of excitement and a joie de vivre. The dictionary defines ‘celebrate’ as:
The marriage between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was important. It was super special! It definitely deserved to be celebrated!
The wedding guests would be attired in their most amazing finery with the women turning out in a variety of astronomical hats. So mums stipulated that each of her guests had to wear a hat. I have lots of hats but mums emphasised that it must look special. I took a beautiful wooden tulip that sits amongst it’s friends on my washstand and managed to pin it to my black hat. It didn’t have quite the awesome effect I wanted but it would do.
I arrived at mums at ten and was just closing the front door when I heard mums’ voice behind me.
I turned smiling to be greeted by mums adorned by this red…this red…thing on her head. It looked magnificently hysterical!
“Where did you find that,” I asked spluttering with mirth.
“I found it in the Crazy Store. It’s called a: “Fascinator”
My mums, the Fascinator and I went into the dining room.
I looked at the dining room table which was bedecked in red, white and blue. Mums had made a ‘wedding’ cake with a bride and groom walking down the aisle.
“I wish I could have found a mixed race bride,” she mused, “It would have been more realistic.”
“Mums, it looks wonderful!”
And she was using her beautiful antique Spode plates.
“Your Spode looks magnificent. I am so glad you’re using it. It always remains hidden in the cupboard.”
“I know. Damned stupid of me not to get it out more often” she said with resolution. “Help me pour the champagne for everyone. And, I have got a beautiful non-alcoholic champagne for you,” she said laughing. I don’t drink alcohol anymore and this thoughtful gesture made me smile. People started to arrive in their hats with food. Eventually armed with champagne and snacks, we settled down.
My English friend had been moaning about the appalling weather they had been having since her return a month previously. God obviously decided to bless the couple with the most stunning day. The bride was not ‘given away’. She entered the church alone and walked serenely to where Prince Charles met her. Then he took her arm and accompanied her into the chapel and up to Prince Harry.
“Thank you, Pa,” whispered Harry taking hold of Meghan’s hand.
All nine of us sat in my mother’s lounge and watched the love story taking place before us. I loved that instead of saying: “I do”, Harry made a mistake and said: “I will.”
Her eyes dancing, Meghan said: “I will” in response.
Nothing about Meghan fits into the slot of ‘normal royal brides’. She’s older than Harry. She’s divorced. She is not an aristocrat. She’s not a virgin. She was an actress. She walked halfway down the aisle on her own and was then joined by her father-in-law.
Meghan and Harry were married as equal partners.
This wedding was exceptional because it was breaking boundaries and expectations. People said ‘It was a fairy tale come true.’ I disagree. I think that what Meghan and Harry possess is more than fairy tales can offer. I love the fact that these two fell in love and got married. I am all too aware of what Meghan had to give up. She had to give up her work which she loved. She had to give up the freedom of walking down a street relatively unknown. She knew all this when she agreed to marry Harry. I do not think it’s a ‘fairy tale come true’. They are realistic enough to know that every marriage has to be worked on. What sparkled throughout the wedding, is the love shared between these two individuals. They understand each other and what they are embarking on together. They will be dynamic ambassadors for the UK and the charities they choose to support.
Having watched Harry and Meghan waving at the crowds from their carriage, we went through to the dining room. Of course, mums had made Coronation Chicken for lunch! We took it through on our Spode plates to the lounge. The sound was turned down but you could still see the guests laughing and talking amongst themselves. We did the same!
What a wonderful wedding!
What a wonderful Royalist Mums I have!
She made sure that we had a celebration to commemorate the wedding of Harry and Meghan. And what love and thought and a red headdress went into making it so!
Mums makes my heart full.
“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.”