Good morning, Anglophiles! Welcome to the royal wedding liveblog. I’ve got a massive pot of serious English breakfast tea and a buttered crumpet at my elbow and a pair of cavalier king Charles spaniels at my feet. I’ve watched half a dozen crappy TV specials on young royals and the great new royal romance we’re watching unfold. I’m ready for this thing. Let’s get started.
Commonwealth reps are showing up, and the BBC talking heads are speculating on the dress designer. One thinks Alice Temperley, and another still thinks the McQueen designer will be the one. I don’t know about McQueen. Their stuff seems too out there and avant garde for this sort of thing, but you never know.
It’s official: Prince William will be the Duke of Cambridge, and Kate will be Duchess of Cambridge as soon as they marry.
Talking head Anita Rani is staking out the Goring Hotel, where there’s nothing happening other than the crowd getting bigger. Apparently the bridesmaids have already arrived. Big crowds in Hyde Park, and there’s a band somewhere cutely playing “Get me to the Church on Time”.
Man, that Hyde Park crowd is super excited. A male talking head chats with three women wearing wedding dresses and everything.
Camerons arrive at Westminster. She’s in a lovely though plain emerald green dress, he in morning suit, Neither is wearing a hat, although she might have some kind of fascinator on. Kind of hard to tell. The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s wife is wearing a big black and white number on her head. Elton John has a really bright purple tie on.
Out front of Buckingham Palace, a female talking head talks to some Canadians and a South African woman who just flew in last night. Geez, I can’t imagine how tired she must be.
The cameras are focusing on Clarence House now, waiting for Prince William and Prince Harry to leave for the Abbey. Two of the talking heads start remembering Diana’s funeral, back in 1997.
Should we institute a (tea) drinking game? Every time someone mentions Diana or the fact that Kate’s a commoner, take a shot of Earl Grey or English Breakfast, or whatever you’re using to prop your eyes open. I bet we’ll all be nicely buzzed on caffeine in no time.
The Household Cavalry is all lined up and ready to go. They brush out their uniforms and joke and wait.
Just in case you were wondering why William’s leaving so early, it’s because he wants time to see friends at the Abbey before the ceremony. The crowd’s chanting “We want Wills” and waving their Union Jacks along the Mall. Apparently Wills is taking a car as well–everyone is. What fun is that?
The screams on the Mall build and the limo emerges from Clarence House. Willis is on the road! Preceded by a motorcycle guard, he and Harry, brightly dressed in their uniforms, head to the Abbey. It’s slightly anticlimactic. They wave and smile and look pretty laid back, though, so that’s good.
The talking head actually says “all is well,” as if he genuinely believed William would back out of the wedding at this point. Hardly.
The cameras track the car, which is trailed by a Land Rover, as it makes its way down the Mall, past soldiers at Horse Guards Parade. Not much else going on at the moment. I kind of hate this stripped down, let’s all just take cars to the Abbey thing. I miss the pagentry, but that’s just me.
Did you hear Harry got promoted? He’s captain of the Household Cavalry now. Not bad. He’s come a long way since his Nazi uniform wearing days, hasn’t he?
The princes arrive at Westminster, all of four minutes after leaving Clarence House. They greet some military type waiting for them, then head inside. Wills is wearing a really, really bright red coat, his garter sash, and RAF wings. More military types greet him, along with the Dean of Westminster, at the door. Wills smiles and shakes hands all around, looking admirably chill. The bells are pealing like crazy. Harry’s looking a little tense.
The Receiver General leads Harry and William down the aisle, which has been decorated with an avenue of trees that look pretty but’ll make it even more impossible for the people in the cheap seats to see a damn thing. Oh well, at least you can say you were there, right?
William says hi to, I think, the Middleton family. Nope, never mind, he’s talking to the Spencers, according to the talking head. Meanwhile, the Sultan of Brunei has arrived and is making his way to his seat, accompanied by his wife (I assume).
William and Harry leave the families and repair to St. Edmund’s Chapel to cool their heels and pump themselves up.
Diana mention–Drink! Also a bonus Fergie mention.
Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock arrive. When are they getting married? This summer? Man, Grace Kelley’s genes really did all go to her daughters, didn’t they?
Carole Middleton and her son, James, head to the Abbey in a really closed up car, so we can’t see the outfit she’s wearing, which caused so damn much controversy.
Talking head informs us Mrs. Middleton is wearing a sky blue Catherine Walker coatdress. Catherine Walker was a favorite of Princess Diana’s, right? Does that count as a reference? Oh, whatever, I need the caffeine.
The Queen of Denmark and the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg arrive, followed by the Prince of Orange and Princess Maxima and the King and Queen of Norway.
Oh, for the love of God. A group of Royal Family members are heading to the Abbey in mini coaches. Tacky! Sorry, but this is a frigging royal wedding. Mini coaches! Why not just stop at McDonalds on the way and have done with it. Awesomely, the talking head deadpans “it’s a lovely view” as he looks at the dreadful line of boxy coaches.
Kate’s a commoner! Drink!
MOB arrives at Westminster, looking lovely, though the dress is so pale it almost looks white, which is a bit questionable. Still, I wish I could hope to look as good as she does at her age. James is in a morning suit, looking slightly awkward and uncomfortable. The female talking heads all approve of Mrs. Middleton’s outfit. One of them does express dismay over Sam Cam’s lack of hat. That was, apparently, her “big shock” moment of the day.
Prince Andrew, Beatrice, Eugenie, Prince Edward, and Sophie make their way to the Abbey, in limos, because they’re first-string royalty in England.
At the Abbey, the mini buses unload. One woman’s wearing a giant hat. She probably needed a whole row of seats to herself with that thing. The ony ones mentioned by name are the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and her son James Ogilvy. I think Princess Alexandra is Giant Hat Lady.
Prince Charles and Camilla lave for the Abbey, in a really cool vintage Rolls Royce. A 1950 Phantom IV, for those car enthusiasts out there. Thanks, male talking head!
Camilla’s wearing an Anna Valentine dress and coat and a Philip Treacy hat (naturally).
One of my dogs has adorably passed out, using my husband’s foot and a pile of towels as a pillow. No love for the royal wedding from Molly. Missy, on the other hand, is wide awake and totally into it.
Monarch on the move! Queen Elizabeth, in bright canary yellow, leaves BP with Prince Philip. Wow, he’s almost 90? He’s getting around really well. The crowds go crazy cheering.
Teeny bridesmaids in dresses that look a lot like the ones worn by Princess Di’s bridesmaids, start getting into cars at the Goring.
Charles and Camilla arrive at the Abbey. Camilla’s coat is pretty awesome: pale, pale blue with embroidery and pleats around the bottom. Very 1920’s. Also reminds me a bit of that beautiful coat she wore the day she married Charles. The hat, of course, is quite fanciful. Nice look. Another one who’s come a long way, if you ask me. I don’t care if this gets me hate mail–I like Camilla.
The female talking heads fall all over themselves talking about how great all the ladies look. They particularly call out Beatrice, whom we didn’t even get to see. Later, I guess. They also comment on how many people are wearing Treacy hats. Does anyone else even make hats for rich people in England anymore?
The Queen and Prince Philip are still on the move. Holy crap, they’ve been married 63 years? Well done! The crowds go wild as they pass. The Queen’s very smiley and happy. Always nice when the next generation starts marrying off.
The Queen and Philip alight at the Abbey and shake hands with the Dean of Westminster and everyone else waiting for them. Apparently the queen’s wearing an Angela Pelly (sp?) dress. Never heard of her. She’s greeted by a trumpet fanfare as she comes through the door and shakes yet more hands. She really does look lovely. Not many people can pull off that color. It also matches the clergy’s vestments (or a pimpin gold coat, as my husband says). As my husband also says, it’s the attention to the little things. Charles and Camilla greet her, and Camilla bobs a proper curtsey.
Kate gets into the car, hidden by a tunnel stretching from the front door of the Goring, We can’t see much, but it looks like she’s got a lace overlay, lace sleeves, and a tiny bouquet. They are, in fact, taking the car that was damaged during those student protests that those of us in the US thought were so stupid. They set off, Kate looking all smiley and veiled. She’s got her hair down. Sigh. I wish, just once, she’d wear her hair differently. Not that it isn’t gorgeous and doesn’t look great down, but it’s always down. You’d think she’d go up today, particularly with the tiara. Oh well, not my wedding.
Itty bitty bridesmaids arrive at the Abbey, attended by Philippa Middleton, who holds the two tiniest ones’ hands. Philippa’s dress is pretty, a column with a draped neckline, but to be honest, it looks quite a bit like a wedding dress itself. One of the littlest girls is clutching the flower wreath on her hair for dear life, like she’s afraid it’ll fly off. Aww. She’s also yawning. Long day already for a four-year-old. They’re wearing silk dresses with pleated waistlines. The pageboys look like their wearing mini uniforms.
There’s an incredibly loud screamer at Horse Guards Parade, ruining the hell out of her voice as Catherine rolls past.
The female talking heads try to speculate on Catherine’s dress, even though all we can see is sleeves and neckline. One of them calls it Grace Kelly-esque. I can see that. It does resemble the top of Grace’s gorgeous wedding dress.
Kate disembarks, and she did, in fact, go with Sara Burton, the McQueen designer. What do I know? Her dress is satin, thankfully not crushed, with a rather 1950s skirt and a decently long train (though not a crazy long one, like Diana had), so she has a much more dignified entrance into the Abbey, with the train carried by Philippa. She’s wearing a simple but beautiful tiara. The look is, indeed, very Grace Kelley. She looks lovely, but is that some kind of butt bow I spy? Please, God, tell me it isn’t. I give her soooo much more credit for taste than that.
Last minute adjustments to Kate’s dress as she prepares to walk down the aisle, trailed by the bridesmaids, hands still held by Philippa, who seems to be really cute with them. I don’t envy her that job, though. Corralling excited little kids is hard. There’s a reason I decided to forgo them at my own wedding.
The band starts up, and William and Harry take their places. The hymn, the chyron tells me, is I Was Glad. Seems appropriate. There’s a shot up the aisle, and the trees actually do look pretty cool. Catherine, on her father’s arm, starts to glide down teh aisle, smiling, always smiling. Michael Middleton looks a bit choked up, though. Not that I blame him. Can you even imagine how totally surreal this would be? To go from airline pilot to walking your daughter down the aisle of Westminster Abbey in a couple of decades? I really admire these people. Talk about self-made.
Kate reaches her groom, and Carole Middleton looks like she’s already getting teary. William says something to Kate and they both smile. I think Michael Middleton’s going to start crying any minute.
Yet another hymn kicks up, as all the important participants stand at the altar looking slightly awkward. Not as awkward as Elton John, though, who’s all bent over like he can’t quite read his hymnal. For some reason, listening to the congregation sing, I can’t help but think of the Eddie Izzard sketch about how all Christian hymns, no matter how joyful the lyrics, all somehow come out sounding slightly depressing. “Hal-le-lu-ja. Hal-le-lu-ja. Joy-ful-ly we look a-boooooouuuuut.” If you have no idea what I’m talking about, look it up on youtube, it’s funny. Or better yet, watch it here:
Things kick off properly, with the dearly beloved, etc. So far, very traditional. We get married to have kids and bring them up to be terrified of God, and to make sure we never get lonely or have to spend another Saturday night by ourselves. Marriage rocks! No, seriously, I know I don’t miss the stress of dating at all. It’s comforting to know there’s someone there.
Unsurprisingly, nobody objects to the wedding.
William, stop slouching! You’re a soldier!
William “I will’s”, and so does Catherine. They exchange vows, the ring (singular–remember, Wills isn’t wearing one) is blessed and placed on Kate’s finger. I know it’s apparently a thing now for women to wear a ring and men not to, but does that strike anyone else as being pretty sexist? Why do women still need to wear rings, but for men it’s optional? Just me with the issue? Ok, then.
They’re married! Yay! Drink for real (oh, ok, maybe it’s a little early. Time for a fresh pot of tea instead.)!
Hymn number two (apparently the earlier one I thought was a totally different hymn was a continuation of the processional). William and Kate take their seats off to the side and we launch into the dull part of the ceremony. The main event’s over. Isn’t it funny how something so weighty and important as a marriage ceremony takes all of five minutes, even on the grandest occasions? It seems so blink-and-you-miss it.
Ok, there’s nothing to recap here, so I’m going to go boil more tea water. I’ve plowed through a whole pot and I’m still not nearly jittery enough to face a full workday. Man, I wish I lived in England and had the day off.
James Middleton reads from Romans 12. Isn’t that one of the readings the two guys were betting on in Wedding Crashers? If so, I find that kind of funny. Truly, all weddings are the same, in the end, aren’t they? Though I guess there are only so many readings from the Bible that are really wedding appropriate.
Man, you can really see Carole Middleton in all three of the kids. Michael, less so, but maybe we could if we saw pictures of him when he was younger.
Specially commissioned anthem, This is the Day, is sung by the choir. How cool would it be to have a churchy anthem just for you?
Anthem’s still going. It’s pretty. That’s really all I can say about it. The editors get a little bored and start switching between cameras, so we can see just how majestic Westminster Abbey really is. And it is quite majestic, though if I could choose any church in England to get married, I think I’d go with Wells Cathedral. Talk about breathtaking.
The Lord Bishop of London kicks off his sermon by quoting St. Catherine of Sienna, whose feast day it is. Did they plan it that way? That’s pretty awesome.
The bitty bridesmaids are being amazingly good. They’re the best-behaved little kids I’ve ever seen. They’re probably bored to death and they’re not fidgeting or anything. Give those girls a cookie!
The Lord Bishop reminds Kate and Wills they’ve dedicated themselves to each other that day, and they exchange an adorable look. Aww!
Dear God, it looks like Beatrice (I think) is wearing a dreadful outfit. It’s either her or Eugenie. Some kind of blue thing with a really unfortunate bow on the front of the square neckline. It looks like something an 80-year-old would wear.
The sermon goes on, and now Kate and Wills are looking bored. Heh. They’re probably looking forward to the parties. I don’t blame them. The interesting part’s over, and the rest is just filler.
The Bishop calls for God to bless the couple, in the way of life they’ve chosen. Chosen? I think not, sir. She’s chosen it, but he was born to his way of life.
Sermon ends. Ubi Caritas et Amour (where there is charity, there is love) is sung by the choir. This is the kind of church music I like–more medieval, and quite lovely. I actually remember singing a version of this in choir when I was in middle school. It’s one of the few songs I still remember.
I’m starting to long for a scone. Time for a second crumpet, I think.
The hymn ends and prayers begin. William helps Kate kneel. Sweet! Our Father kicks up, and the cameras show us how lovely the ceiling of the Abbey is. Thanks, cameras!
Mmm, sweet, sweet buttery crumpet of goodness.
More prayers, along with a call for the couple to have kids, like Catherine needs a reminder of what her primary function is.
Oddly, the prayer includes a call for the bride to remain faithful and true to her husband, but doesn’t seem to include a similar reminder for the groom. You think they would have fixed that wording in this day and age.
Perry’s Jerusalem starts up. I don’t think a royal occasion passes without this one being sung, not that I’m complaining. It’s a good choice. Plus, it’s nice to have something familiar to listen to.
More prayers, and then the choir chimes in again. The trumpeters blast a fanfare, so I guess we’re wrapping up. Good thing, too, because my husband needs to leave for work and needs his laptop back.
The congregation sings God Save the Queen. While Michael Middleton’s all into it, Carole, strangely, is barely opening her mouth. The Queen, of course, does not sing but stands there stoically. I wonder if it was ever awkward for her to stand there doing nothing while everyone sang.
Philippa brings her sister her bouquet and everyone retires to sign the register–bride and groom, parents of both, James Middleton, and the maid of honour and best man. They sign it in appropriately grandiose surroundings as the camera pulls back all the way up to the roof so we can see the congregation as tiny dots. Odd choice, that. We get it, folks, the Abbey’s big. The choir entertains everyone while they wait. I’m going to go do some pilates or something and work off that crumpet.
One of the adult choir members has a serious stubble/5 o’clock shadow thing going on. You couldn’t have shaved for today, dude? Were you running late? Did your alarm not go off?
The congregation’s getting fidgety. You know that a lot of these people had to start showing up three hours before the wedding started? What the hell do you do, sitting around in Westminster Abbey for three hours, with no phone or anything to keep yourself occupied? Knit? Bring a book? Play hangman with the cabinet minister seated behind you?
The parents of the bride and groom emerge and retake their seats. The clergy, following a huge cross, process down the aisle toward the west door.
The trumpeters do another fanfare, then the London Chamber Orchestra plays the Crown Imperial as William and Kate emerge, pause to bow and curtsey to the queen, and process down the aisle, trailed by the bridesmaids and pageboys.
Everyone emerges from the Abbey, and the bride and groom pause as the bells go crazy with the pealing. Finally, we have some carriages! William helps Kate into their carriage, and the train is carefully folded up inside. No crushed meringue disasters today! The wedding party climbs into the carriage behind.
They set off, accompanied by the Household Cavalry, whom I guess all had to sit on their horses that whole time, since we last saw them, what, two hours ago? That is a looong time to just sit.
The talking head says that this is the pagantry everyone came to London for. That’s right–they didn’t come to see some awful minibuses shuttling people about.
William salutes someone at some point, as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip climb into the Scottish State Coach (which is closed). Despite the dire weather predictions, it didn’t rain in London today. Hooray! It would have sucked if they’d have had to close all the carriages.
The crowd goes crazy as William and Kate go by. They drive through Horse Guards Parade. Will we hear The Screamer again, or is she all hoarse? Nope, there she is! Guess she sucked on some lozenges during the ceremony. William keeps saluting at intervals. Kate waves at intervals. Wave like crazy, Kate! Or they’ll write nasty things about you on Facebook again!
The bitty bridesmaids and pageboys are in a carriage with Harry, but there’s no sign of Philippa. Is she in a carriage with her family, or were they too common to get a carriage?
Yay, the sun came out! Good timing, sun!
Ahh, there’s Philippa, with the other bridesmaids and pageboys. She and Harry seem to be adorable with these kids, encouraging them to wave. Maybe Harry should ditch Chelsey Davy and hook up with Philippa. She seems cooler, somehow.
Ok, apparently the Middletons did get a carriage. Everyone starts arriving at BP and stream into the central courtyard to disembark. Time for pictures and a party! And the traditional balcony appearance and fly-past around 1:25. Sadly, I’ll be on the road going to work around that time, so no liveblog of that (I’ve heard blogging while driving is a poor idea).
Kate very carefully gets out of the carriage and she and William are soon joined by the bitty bridesmaids and the pageboys, who are dressed in soldierly livery and knee breeches that will probably embarrass them a bit in years to come.
The queen and Prince Philip arrive next, with their giant entourage of soldiers (they get a sovereign’s escort, after all). Camilla and Charles are right behind, also in a closed carriage. She’s holding onto a gilded handhold inside for dear life. Is it rocking that much, or is she terrified more students are going to attack?
Third come the Middletons, who are sharing their carriage with someone I can’t identify. Maybe Prince Edward and Sophie? I guess James had to fend for himself. Maybe he got jammed in a minibus with Princess Alexandra’s giant hat. Andrew and his daughters follow in a car, and it’s Eugenie, not Beatrice wearing the hideous Gran Gown. Though it doesn’t look like Beatrice’s outfit is much better.
Prince Philip helps the queen out of the carriage at BP.
Oh, christ, it’s the buses. Awesomely, the talking head snarks that this is “quite a contrast. This is the royal wedding in 2011.” Heh.
Charles and Camilla arrive with the Middletons, so that’s who they were sharing the carriage with.
The mini buses roll in. Ugh. It’s even worse that they’ve grown in number and now include a bunch that have all sorts of branding on the side.
Andrew and the girls disembark, and yes, Eugenie’s outfit is truly godawful. Bea’s is ok.
And that’s it, I guess. We go to the ground so a female talking head can talk about how much she loved Kate’s dress (I have to agree–it was lovely), and interview people on the ground, who will now just have to kick about for a couple of hours until the fly-past. Now the talking heads just need to fill time until something interesting happens again, so I guess it’s time for me to sign off.
Thanks for joining me, folks! I had a good time on my first liveblog. It was a lovely wedding, everyone seems happy, and now I have to return to earth and shower and go to work. Sigh. Surprisingly, the talking heads didn’t obsess over Diana or Kate’s status much, but that might have been because I was watching this on the BBC. I have a funny feeling the American commentators mentioned those two things a lot more. Which is why I didn’t bother watching this on ABC or CBS. It’s an English royal wedding, and I want some English accents accompanying it, not Diane Sawyer (no offense to Diane Sawyer).
All right, I’m off. Have a lovely day, everyone, and check back a little later–I’ll be posting a list of my top ten favorite onscreen royal romances!