Apropos Royal Wedding, didn’t you love those two nuns – Central Casting brides of Christ – who had the privilege of sitting next to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge while the Bishop of London was thundering his address yesterday? Put me in mind of Prince Philip’s mother Princess Alice of Greece who wore a floor-length nun’s habit to the 1953 coronation and glided down the aisle looking like something out of Powell & Pressburger’s Black Narcissus. Palace aides always said they could tell when Princess Alice was coming down the corridors because she was proceeded by a cloud of cigarette smoke like one of the Seven Plagues of Egypt.
I do adore that picture of the Queen, Mrs Middleton and the Duchess of Cornwall outside Westminster Abbey after the service. One of the papers reported that Mrs Middleton found herself blocked-in between the Queen and the Duchess and was unsure of the protocol. A brief smile from the Queen put her at ease – not dissimilar to the Queen’s behaviour around panicked horses. But credit to the marvellous Mrs Middleton. She didn’t put a foot wrong at the wedding.
That said, I think the Duchess of Cambridge was impeccable throughout except perhaps for hers and her husband’s Sooty & Sweep royal waves. Could do better. But I did appreciate seeing the new Princess/Duchess bowing her head in the carriage en route to the Palace every time Prince William saluted the National Anthem. Made you proud to be British as Prime Minister Churchill said when told a cabinet minister had been caught buggering a guardsman in Hyde Park in heavy snow.
What was your Cilla Black magic moment in the Abbey? Whenever I hear a trumpet fanfare and a full orchestra striking up Jerusalem, my spine turns to champagne. The same has to be said for the National Anthem. Isn’t Prince Philip marvellous? How many times has he had to sing ‘our tune’ while standing ramrod straight next to the Queen? He is rather an inspiration as he glides into his nineties. I rather enjoyed seeing the Queen giving her husband an encouraging pat as he climbed into the Scottish State Coach after the wedding, didn’t you? Equally fine was the Queen’s nod of approval at the Duchess of Cambridge’s curtsey. Well done dear.
Some of the red top papers rather cruelly said the Duchess of Cornwall looked uncomfortable in the Abbey. What nonsense! She looked every inch the Queen Consort to be and it is understood that she played a great part in the planning of the wedding, the Buckingham Palace breakfast and in co-hosting the evening’s Techno Toff dinner party. I thought the chap who looked most mournful was Prince Andrew. Still, he’d probably spent the morning with his daughters in get-ups that could only be described as ‘are you in panto this season?’
I wondered whether the Duchess of York wouldn’t make a surprise appearance at the Abbey like King George IVs wife Queen Caroline of Brunswick to whom Westminster Abbey’s doors were barred on Coronation day. Craig Brown wrote a wicked spoof Duchess of York diary in Private Eye discussing in her own mad psycho babble that ‘Sarah is in a good place’ by stopping at home. My favourite bit of the diary was her advice to Catherine Middleton: make sure you keep your mouth open throughout the whole ceremony to let the public know you’re enjoying yourself and don’t forget that precious ‘winky-time’ when you walk back up the aisle to acknowledge your friends and family.
Speaking of Private Eye, I do hope they allow spoof ‘Wednesday Witch’ columnist Glenda Slagg to report on the Royal Wedding…particularly the two kisses on the balcony of Buckingham Palace when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were doubtless ‘a-huggin’ and a-lovin’ for the cameras. Love Glenda! It’s what the Daily Mail‘s Amanda Platell is destined to morph into before too long: she of the ‘isn’t Fern Britton fat?’ school of journalism.
Back to Westminster Abbey though. What thought you of Miss Pippa Middleton’s slinky little Sarah Burton/Alexander McQueen’s matron of honour number? I thought it was more appropriate for a Jean Harlow film noir circa 1930 than a Royal Wedding. When she bent down to adjust her sister’s train, I detected a slight wiggle of the chassis. One half expected her to be wearing elbow-length Gypsy Rose-Lee satin gloves that would doubtless be peeled off at the after party to a drum role and cymbal clash with Prince Harry catching one and biting it between his teeth.
Who did you think looked immaculate in the immediate British royal circle? We hardly caught more than seconds of TV coverage for Princess Margaret’s daughter Lady Sarah Chatto who looked knockout gorgeous in Jasper Conran’s Dioresque grey New Look skirt suit and flying saucer hat. The Countess of Wessex, who had cracked her ribs the day before the wedding in a riding fall in Windsor Great Park, looked fab in her Bruce Oldfield champagne oyster silk skit suit and Philip Treacy hat. Mind you, I would have been a bit less liberal with the beads on the clutch bag and wouldn’t have beaded the belt. It distracted attention from the magnificent rose and feather-trimmed titfer.
Anyway, my next letter is the one I am most looking forward to…the Royal Wedding fashion roadkill. Until then…