Monday, 2 May 2011

My Royal Wedding Day

Friday may have been William and Kate's wedding according to the official programme, but with 2 billion people tuning in to watch and nearly 1 million taking to the streets and parks of London they weren't the only ones having a very special day.

I joined more than 20,000 other people to watch the Royal Wedding in Hyde Park. Like many a nervous bride, I had my doubts before the big day. Yes, any excuse to party is a good excuse but was I really that fussed about the wedding of two complete strangers?

Standing in Hyde Park surrounded by a forest of swaying flags and listening to the cheers of thousands of people was an experience I will never forget. I saw the shift as people like me who had just gone along for the ride became genuinely moved. It sounds ridiculous, but I have spoken to so many people since the wedding who said to me exactly the same thing: that they were completely shocked by how overwhelming and emotional the day was.

Maybe it was the sea of red, white and blue and the glow of pride emanating from the crowd. All of that glorious pomp and history enacted in all its gold tinted, horse-drawn splendour. Or maybe the champagne, the laughter and the cheering made the day. But, call me a helpless romantic, I think what moved me was the fact that all of these people were here to celebrate for and with two people who are in love.

'Sealed with a Kiss' was the headline most newspapers ran with, but it could equally have read 'Summed up with a Kiss.' Yes I loved the packaging: the flourish that was Sarah Burton's triumph and the arboretum that transformed Westminster Abbey, but that balcony kiss made the royal part irrelevant. This was a wedding first and foremost.

Maybe all the furor created by the Royal Wedding revealed a certain madness, but it also restored my faith in people. We do like to have a good old moan, but we haven't completely forgotten how to have a proper celebration - the kind of celebration that brings the country to a jubilant stand still and leaves a hang over of empty bottles and 'did you see what she wore?' chatter. Celebrating the royal wedding made me proud to be British. It gave me hope by proving that for one day at least we can suspend being cynical or sensible, even, and just be happy.

Will and Kate: the day was, of course, yours. But it was also one of the best days of my life. So here is the official programme of MY royal wedding day:

8:00am - Wake up and put on my pink union jack dress. As it's a wedding day use the excuse of it being a 'special day' to eat the ears of a Lindt bunny for breakfast.

9:00am - dressed in our crowns, the Kings and Queens (aka my friends) are all set for celebrating.
9:15am: Arrive at Leonard Street where we had planned to party in the street. Sadly the street is much smaller than anticipated and the queue much longer. Change plans and run to the underground.

All: We're not going to make it in time!
Libby: WAIT I dropped my crown!
10:00am - arrive at Hyde Park. Can barely move for union jacks and picnic blankets. Open the Buck's fizz.

10:05am- can not miss the opportunity for a quick photo.
10:10am - congratulate the police on the sterling effort they have put in to today's organisation.

Libby: Good job!
10:15am - take place in the crowd behind a group wearing straw boaters and eating cucumber sandwiches.
11:00am - eyes glued to the big screen.

Silence as the ceremony takes place, broken by the occasional surge of cheers and flapping of flags.

All: She looks beautiful.
Libby: Will you judge me if I cry?
Libby's friends: Did you not notice that we were crying ages ago?
Libby: What has happened to me?
Libby's friend number one: You just wish it was you.
Libby's friend number two: There's still Harry!
1:30 - All stand to sing the national anthem as the RAF planes fly past, sending a rumble through the stomachs of the crowd.

Lust after that Astin Martin.
Spend the afternoon drinking cider and eating cake in the sunshine with my friends. Walk through the crowds to check out the celebrations.
Little boy: I'm the king of the castle
Woman: You're my prince charming
Little princess watching two bigger princesses dancing: But I've got a red dress and red spotty shoes. So there.
Little boy: My flag is perfect for digging up this path.
Women: Aww what a gorgeous dog!
Man: I knew this scarf suited me.
Dog: Why didn't they invite any dogs to the wedding?

Girl: Maybe if I run really really fast I can catch Kate's bouquet...
Women: Girls just want to have fun.
Woman solider: And swords.
Women: Yes, and swords.
Queen: Take me to my castle.

5:00pm - eventually head to the bus stop with a face aching from smiling.
5:10pm: catch up on all the outfits.

Libby: What was Tara Palmer-Tomkinson wearing?!
Libby's friend: She looked like a smurf.

6:45pm: arrive home for dinner and outfit change. Then head out with friends for the after party.

Silly o'clock: fall asleep dreaming of a white wedding, a smiling crowd and union jacks, full to the brim with happiness.