Tag Archives: William and Kate

Blast from the past: playing Royal Wedding Correspondent

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With the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle planned for tomorrow, here’s a throwback to when I was Penguin USA’s Royal Wedding Correspondent for the marriage of William and Kate.

I wandered the streets of London, kept up with the tabloids, and did play-by-play commentary on the ceremony from the depths of my living room sofa. And I recorded it all for posterity, with reams of photos, in a series of blog posts.

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Click the link and scroll to the bottom to read them in chronological order: Royal Wedding.

Royal Wedding week: the Royal Wedding

Your Royal Correspondent here, reporting from my living room. Originally I was in the third row at Westminster Abbey (thanks to my home-printed “Little Moi” press credentials). But I was unceremoniously booted out when the Archbishop of Canterbury spotted me updating my Twitter feed from an iPhone hidden in my hat. So it’s back to the sofa for me.

This means my reportage will include running commentary from the guys in my family.

The royal whirl has been exhausting for a Californian-Oklahoman who doesn’t curtsy and who thinks “classic national music” means Motown. But here’s a summary of the morning’s highlights, as seen from my house.

To start with a random observation: Most of the royals rode to the church in a procession of minibuses. They looked like schoolkids going on a field trip.

Then, my husband and son couldn’t decide whether William and Harry were driving to the church in a Rolls or a Bentley. It went like this: Rolls. Bentley. No, Rolls… no — Bentley! Me: to be fully patriotic, they should have put a Rolls Royce jet engine on the back of the car. That would get them to the church on time. (Bentley? Bentley.)

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(Photo: my son the Eagle Scout, trying to look like a Brit.)

The Queen then appeared, wearing yellow. My son: “She could have made a lot of money off the bookies if she’d bet on that.”

And at last, Kate Middleton emerged from her hotel and climbed into a Jaguar for the drive to the church. I shouted, “Bride! Bride!” Proving yet again that I am six years old at heart. And an incurable throwback.

The service:

The music was glorious. Now, I’m the daughter of a church organist, so choirs, trumpets, and processionals always choke me up. This morning was no exception. And as the first hymn finished echoing down the nave of Westminster Abbey, and the Archbishop stood before the bride and groom, my son said: “Mawwiage. Mawwiage!”

But as Rowan Williams went on to speak, in deep velvet tones, my son changed his tune. “How do you get a voice like that?” he said. “He gives Morgan Freeman a run for his money.”

Then it was vows, readings, and more music. As the cameras panned the guests singing classic, traditional Anglican hymns, the Husband spotted the Beckhams. He pointed. “Posh is lip synching.”

By this point, however, the choir was singing “Jerusalem.” That hymn always brings this Yank to tears. (“Bring me my bow of burning gold, bring me my arrows of desire! Bring me my spear — O clouds unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire!” God, I’m crying as I type this.)

In sum: the bride looked radiant. The groom looked dashing. As did the best man — Harry wore spurs with his uniform. They completed him. I just hope he didn’t pick them up at last night’s bachelor party. Everything looked sleek, nothing more so than the Hurricane and Spitfire fighters that overflew Buckingham Palace before William and Kate gave the throngs the kiss they’d been waiting for.

Now the couple and their guests have gone back inside for wedding cake, line dancing, and a wicked game of Twister. And your royal correspondent is going to sign off. Thanks – it’s been fun.

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(Photo: your correspondent. Adieu, cheries! That’s all, folks! )

(Cross-posted by Penguin.com at The Author’s Desk.)

A London revelry slideshow

Because Little Moi had so much fun playing royal correspondent in London this afternoon, here’s a whole collection of photos I took of the pre-wedding revelry.

And in the morning, when they play the national anthem, I’ll inevitably sing, “My country, ’tis of thee…”

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Royal Wedding week: the London street party

(Photo: Parliament Square and Westminster Abbey.)

At first I thought the gent with the parrot on his shoulder wanted to hail a taxi. The cab was stuck in the traffic outside Westminster Abbey, between a Dutch tour bus and the rainbow double-decker bus chartered by Pink Punters LGBT Nightclub of Milton Keynes. The Pink Punters’ bus was festooned with Union Jack bunting. The parrot was festooned with tropical green plumage. And two little girls in the taxi were leaning out the window, talking to it.

Welcome to London, the afternoon before the Royal Wedding. The place has let the lid off.

(Photo: Westminster Abbey base camp.)

The city’s streets are packed, and it’s a party. As your official Royal Correspondent (“Little Moi” on my press credentials, which I printed at home this morning) I spent the afternoon braving the crowds outside Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

(Photo: Little Moi with revelers in front of Buckingham Palace.)

(Photo: Piers Morgan, dodging taxis.)

It’s wall-to-wall reveling. Along the wedding parade route families are camped out. Tourists — from Bedouins in full black to Yanks in full-figured jeans — are ten deep. A BBC reporter says he’s “overwhelmed” with the number of Americans outside Buckingham Palace. Fortunately, he’s smiling when he says this. And the tourists are swamped by the Brits. Who are all in a great mood.

(Photo: Majesty!)

Across the street from Buckingham Palace, a temporary three-story television center has been set up, with booths for dozens of networks from around the world. And behind the temporary studio, in Green Park, dozens of satellite transmitters have been set up.

It’s a daunting sight. Listen, I’ve gotten married. Fifteen minutes before the ceremony, when I heard the organ start to play, I thought OH. MY. GOD. This is the real deal. That was when I took a big gulp. But that was nothing compared to the scene on the Mall this afternoon. If I’d seen this forest of satellite dishes getting ready to focus on my wedding, I would have completely freaked out.

(Photo: Best of British!)

A few minutes ago Prince William “took a walkabout” on the Mall. Women in the crowd, dressed as sunflowers and circus clowns, greeted him, champagne glasses in hand, like he was Justin Bieber.

All I got to see was Piers Morgan. Now I feel cheated.

Final sign that the media machine is revving into high gear: walking from the Mall to Parliament Square, we were overwhelmed by the drone of hovering helicopters.

Not everybody, of course, is happy about the wedding. Aside from misanthropes and anarchists, there was a group across the street from Westminster Abbey protesting that the Freemasons are a cabal of secret assassins. Yeah, it makes no sense to me either. But the complainers are a minority. As the BBC put it just now, “All but the hardest hearted wish this young couple well.”

Royal Wedding week: the build up

(Photo: Your Royal Wedding correspondent, decked out in her native dress.)

As your official Royal Wedding correspondent, I’ve been keeping my eyes on Britain’s newspapers and magazines. I’ve also been asking the man on the street — okay, the boy and girl in my kitchen — for opinions on the big event.

For today’s vox pop, I asked my son’s girlfriend how she and her friends plan to celebrate the royal nuptials.

She thought hard. “One group of friends are having an all-day party, where they’re going to be as English as they possibly can.”

My son: “So everybody will be eating curry and drinking Fosters?”

“No. One of them is baking miniature Victorian sponges,” she said, looking baffled and slightly stunned.

(Photo: Today’s tabloids and glossy magazines. Yes, that’s Rob Lowe, shirtless, on the Vanity Fair cover. Don’t judge me.)

And on the tabloid front, here are today’s most absurd and misleading headlines. Because nobody does absurd and misleading like the British tabs.

From The Mirror:

“A Hanson Prince. Latest star to get involved with our royal wedding campout is… Taylor Hanson. Remember him?!”

But it turns out Taylor Hanson isn’t actually camping out at Westminster Abbey with the Mirror’s little hotty totty reporter in her pup tent.

Having spent the entire Bank Holiday weekend wilting inside her tent for our Royal Wedding Camp Out, we decided to surprise our reporter by organising an extremely important phonecall from an iconic musician.

Taylor, the fittest one off Hanson.

Yes, the lovely, bushy-haired bloke dropped her a line, all the way from Oklahoma, to chat about the Royal Wedding and the band’s new single Give A Little.

Bonus tabloid excitement: The first sentence of that extract did indeed start with a dangling participle!

(Photo: the Mirror’s patriotic Royal Wedding Camp Out tent.)

Tabloid doozy 2 comes from The Sun:

“Kate Middleton ‘To Borrow Queen’s Diamond Tiara.'”

Well, no. Kate has not wrested the “glittering Russian fringe tiara” from the Queen’s hands. A woman has bet that she will.

A GAMBLER left bookies quaking last night after placing a bet worth £72,000 on Kate Middleton wearing this Russian fringe tiara as she weds.

If the posh punter’s hunch is correct, it will mean Kate, 29, has borrowed the priceless head-dress from the Queen to tie the knot with Prince William.

But while the headline is ridiculously misleading, the article brings up an important point: In Britain, you can bet on anything. Horse racing, of course. Soccer, sure — that’s why two big bookmaking chains opened franchises in my little suburb right after Chelsea Football Club moved its training facility to the town. Cobham is overrun with betting shops. There’s one next to the bookstore, and another one fifty yards away by the fish & chip shop. There are so many bookies in town that a friend once walked through the door of what she thought was a travel agency, only to find a wall of televisions and men cheering for the racehorses in the Grand National.

But betting in the UK isn’t limited to sports. Pick anything, and you can slap down money on it. British bookies let you gamble at Bingo, or bet on who’ll be chosen Archbishop of Canterbury.

And on what Kate Middleton’s going to be wearing on her head. Me, I bet it’ll be a smile.

UPDATE: Many thanks to the Penguin USA blog The Author’s Desk for cross-posting this.

Royal Wedding week

It’s Royal Wedding week. For me, this means it’s officially a three-day work week around these parts. Monday (Easter Monday) and Friday (Royal Wedding) are national bank holidays. But of course I’ll be working as your official American thriller writing correspondent for the marriage of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton. I’ve been asked by readers of this blog to give you the view from the British street. It’ll be my pleasure. As a Californian with Oklahoma roots, nobody’s better placed to explain Britain that than I am.

(Thanks to Rich for the link to Papa John’s Royal Wedding pizza.)