Royal Wedding Recap

Why am I up at 3 a.m. watching the royal wedding? Because these are difficult times in the world and I want to witness something that’s uplifting. As I sit here in my pajamas, I imagine I’m coming together with billions of other people to celebrate a beautiful thing, regardless of race, age, politics or social status. I don’t care about the guest list or what’s on the menu. I just want to see something on the news that’s not depressing for a change.

I didn’t wake up early enough to watch all the coverage leading up to the ceremony; I barely threw on my glasses in time to turn on BBC America right as it’s starting. Here’s my attempt at live-blogging the event. (Times are approximate since I paused the DVR a couple of times to guzzle coffee.)

3:00 a.m. PST Whoa, it’s starting exactly on time. The black Rolls Royce is pulling up to Westminster Abbey with Mr. Middleton and Kate inside.

3:01 The BBC commentator is saying it might take Kate awhile to climb out of the car since the dress has a huge train but Kate climbs right out, with the help of her sister, Pippa, who’s wearing a fabulous bias-cut ivory column dress.

Kate’s dress resembles Grace Kelly’s on her wedding day, with long chantilly lace sleeves and fitted bodice but the neck isn’t as high as Kelly’s. Her veil is held in place by a small tiara made in 1936 lent by the Queen. Her hair is down in soft curls and looks how it usually looks. Sometimes brides get carried away on their wedding day and go for complicated hairdos they’ve never worn and end up resembling the Bride of Frankenstein more than themselves. Kate looks beautiful and timeless; fifty years from now she’ll still be stylish in photos. The commentator says Sarah Burton from Alexander McQueen has been confirmed as the dress’s designer.

3:02 Closeup of Kate inside the abbey. Ooh, nice drop earrings. Very pretty and the perfect size, not too big or gaudy. She looks happy, very smiley and composed. Aww, that’s how every bride should look, regardless of whether her every move is being scrutinized by billions of people on her wedding day.

3:06 Princes William and Harry come out before the bride’s procession up the aisle. William looks sharp but nervous in his red Irish Guards tunic with the blue sash and medals. Harry looks dapper, too, in his Blues and Royals military uniform.

3:07 Kate starts up the loooong aisle, still smiling.

3:09 She gets to the altar. William looks over and they chat briefly about something. They just look like two kids getting married, not a future king and queen. He looked nervous when he first came out but seems much better now that Kate is standing beside him.

3:11 Singing commences. Look, there’s Elton John.

3:12 And the queen in her yellow coat dress and hat. The camera showed Elton before the queen?

3:14 “Dearly beloved…”

3:18 They’re saying their vows. I didn’t know or never paid attention to the fact Prince William’s full name is William Arthur Phillip Louis. Kate does not flub it.

3:20 He slips the ring on her finger. Not surprisingly, it’s a simple band. Kate (I’m not used to Catherine yet) doesn’t seem capable of anything flashy.

3:21 They’re pronounced man and wife.

3:26 Kate’s brother, James, is reading from the Bible, Romans 12: 1, 2, 9-18. I like this passage: ”Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.” Good advice for all of us, I think.

3:41 Closeup of three little choir boys, all wearing glasses. Nerds rule!

3:54 Trumpets blare for “God Save the Queen.”

3:55 William and Kate have to go into the inner sanctum of the abbey, the Shrine of St. Edward, to sign three different marriage registers. More singing ensues while we wait. Look, there’s another little nerd boy in glasses—an Asian one!

4:07 William and Kate emerge, walk back down the aisle, heading for the exit.

4:10 They’re greeted by enthusiastic crowds as they step out the front door. Church bells are ringing. Magnificent.

4:11 William puts on his forage cap and white gloves before helping Kate into the open carriage. It’s all very gallant.

4:13 They’re on the move, headed back to Buckingham Palace. She gives her first waves as the Duchess of Cambridge and William gives military salutes. Sharp.

4:22 Whoa, the queen has a HUGE grin as she rides in her carriage. We don’t see her that happy that often; it’s the equivalent of the rest of us busting a gut. It’s nice. I don’t remember her looking like that when Charles and Diana got married.

4:29 The wedding party arrives at the palace and go inside. There’s a break here for about an hour before they’re scheduled to re-emerge for their iconic balcony moment. I can’t decide if I should nap or forage for snacks. Snacks win.

5:17 The anticipation in the crowd builds as William and Kate are due to reappear any minute now on the balcony. A woman wearing a hat with cardboard cutouts of W & K mounted on top is being interviewed and she says she came out “for Diana.” I wish William’s mother were here to see this.

5:25 The wedding party steps out on the balcony. William and Kate kiss. He looks shy and blushes a little afterward. How cute!

5:36 Wow, one of the flower girls looks grumpy. I think she just decided she’s had enough fun for the day.

5:38 While waiting for fighter jets to fly over the palace as a symbol of the British resistance during World War II, William and Kate kiss again. The crowd goes wild.

5:40 The jets do their flight pass and the queen starts heading inside, indicating the balcony appearance is over.

This was a nice ceremony—classy, traditional, full of pomp but not pompousness. I was really impressed by how composed Kate looked through the whole affair. She seems sure of who she is—I heard she was determined to do her own makeup though she could have had top professionals do it—and graceful enough to be a queen.

Did you wake up early to watch? What did you think?

Photos: AP & Getty



  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Didn’t watch, but checked out the pics on line as soon as I woke up. Great recap Elyse!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I woke up early to make sure my daughter’s flight from JFK had left on time and stayed up to watch.

    She looked lovely. The dress is so her, so very much the Kate everyone has seen in the months (years!) leading up to this day, yet it’s elegant and timeless, and quite regal in its own right. Pippa looked lovely as well. I am never eating again, lol!

    William and Kate looked comfortable and happy and like a couple. Heck, everyone looked happy, Kate’s proud papa, her mother, the Queen and Prince Philip. Harry looked for a moment as if he might actually cry. The genuine love between William and Harry and Kate and Pippa is evident.

    The story of the tiara suggests a warm relationship between Kate and the Queen. That tiara was given to the Queen Mum by King George and then passed down to Queen Elizabeth on her 18th birthday. It’s an intimate piece and it suited Kate’s small frame and features and simple, elegant gown perfectly.

    The kisses on the balcony were obviously comfortable for William and Kate, too. They are clearly a real couple who genuinely love each other and have a strong sense of themselves both as individuals and as a modern couple.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Damnit! I overslept and missed this [and what is the HTML tag for sarcasm, anyway?] Still, fun reading your recap, Elyse. Thanks.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 10:19 am

    No, I did not wake up early to see this, but I figured you would have the recap, so I here I am.

    I read your account and have caught snippets on CNN and this morning. It seemed nice. Is it just my faulty memory or did the previous wedding start late and run late? How the heck did these kids get it right? Classy and simple. That’s what I was hoping it would be. Thanks for losing sleep!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 10:28 am

    They were already in the carriage heading for Buckingham Palace when I tuned in. I loved the shots of Prince Harry in the carriage with the 3 children…her “grumpiness” was sitting across from him and he looked like he was trying to cheer her up and get her engaged with the crowds. A regular wedding is quite often a long day for little ones. I can’t imagine how long hers had been. By the way, was I the only one who noticed that riderless horse come running up on Will’s side of carriage?

    Kate and Pippa’s dresses? PERFECT! Princes were handsome, but I’m always a sucker for a man in uniform. It’s a common affliction for military brats. ;p

    Watched until the flyover, another military brat moment that I teared up a bit, the party retreated back inside and I left all coverage. Well, until I came to read your post of course.

    Best Twitter hashtag? #pjsandtiaras

    Best Tweet to Smart Bitches’ Sarah Wendell: There is proabably a man chain smoking and downing Red Bulls in the BBC web server room. Hats off to you, sir.

    Perfect coverage, Elyse. Thanks for getting up early! Now go take a nap so you’ve got plenty of energy to play at pre-LATFoB party at Skylight Books. 😉

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Just finished watching DVR of the event…it was lovely…nice recap Elyse

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    April 29, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Kate is so comfortable in her own skin ~ so lovely to see. I’m so glad she wore her hair down. I was hoping she would and she looks natural, radiant and gorgeous. The kisses on the balcony were so sweet. I’m extremely happy for them. If any royal marriage stands to withstand the pressures of the job, this one does.

  • Reply
    Jen Forbus
    May 4, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I only saw online pics and stories, but it sounded very nice. I don’t really get overly interested in things like this, but it’s nice that so many people can find hope and encouragement in it. I think Diana would be very proud of her sons and would like Kate…but that’s just from what I know – which is essentially nothing. 😉

    I can say that I’m very envious of Kate. She’s just beautiful and very poised. I think it’s also important to note that she’s significantly older than Diana was when she went through all the hoopla. I’m sure that makes a huge difference.

    Can’t help but wish the best for them.

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