Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Royal Wedding Before and After


Sadly, mini-Betty Keira didn't realize that she would peak so early with her sartorial aspirations...

I don't remember watching the Royal Wedding--the first one when everything went so pear-shaped--but I vividly remember getting a new dress for my sister Debbie's 1980s wedding (I was five.).  She went with yellow and, though my mom must have worked her fingers into bloody nubbins for weeks before to outfit the entire family in yellow, I only recall that it appeared out of nowhere and was the prettiest dress I'd had before or since; light buttercup yellow, wide white sash, puffed sleeves, an elastic neckline (that I would sometimes pull off my shoulders to look even more awesome) and a deep ruffle-y flounce at the top.  I was gorgeous.  And I remember, as clear as day, checking my bad self out in a mirror and thinking that with my short, feathered hair I looked just like Princess Diana.  I couldn't have known then that she'd filch my dress...

Fast forward thirty years.

Am I watching the Royal Wedding?  I am so watching the Royal Wedding. (But why, Betty Keira?  Why?)
Can I summon up any nostalgia for the monarchy?  I. Can. Not.
King George III--the 'he' mentioned so many times in the Declaration of Independence, as in: "He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures."
Am I an Anglophile?  Er, the tiny island produced Milton, Donne, Shakespeare, Betty Neels, the trench coat, the Magna Carta (which incidentally is part of a long list of incidents that created the largely defunct constitutional monarchy we see today--the monarchy part, not the constitutional part), William Wilberforce, English common law, the great-socking Bentley...So, yes.

But do I have no shame?!  Look.  I'm a proud small 'r' republican (in which the people, or some significant portion of them, retain supreme control over the government), and would have proudly carried pails of hot rifle shot to the beleaguered Patriots at Saratoga, Ticonderoga, Yorktown.  Heck, one of my ancestors was scalped by a 'dastardly Tory'!
Molly Pitcher, hero of the Revolution, looks dashing in a full length Betsy Ross number of crimson muslin and white cuffs...
But doesn't this imply that I have silly wish to be an actual princess?  Look.  Not really.  Anyway, no more than watching the NBA playoffs would give a man the idea that he could actually have a pro-level turn around jump shot.

Here's the beginning and end of it for me: Kate is a babe.  Wills has nice teeth.  And the fashionGreat googly-bear!  The hats alone are worth the effort.

So I'll spend the day in a media black-out, fingers pressed over eyes and plunged into ears and watch it as civilized and sane people do...Dressed to the nines with a fascinator and gloves.  (Pictures to follow.)
The media black-out was difficult.  Next time we do a brunch or something.

Well, how gorgeous was that bride?  Yes, very Princess Grace-y but just breathtaking.  (And sleeves!  Maybe this will make it easier for brides to find sleeves!)  For me, I really liked the heavily religious nature of the service--sort of the antithesis to being married by a hippie on the beach (regrets to any I may offend by that remark)--but the formality never eclipsed the nice family wedding.

It was such fun to get together with like-minded (read: hopelessly silly) ladies.  Betty Kylene made an unbelievably gorgeous hair accessory for the event... 
Mine (below) by contrast looks modest (and I still had to maneuver carefully into the car). 

And our hostess wore her wedding dress!  (And ladies, it was (after four children) swimming on her.  That was not the same problem I have...)

My SIL came with and discovered the wonderful world of fascinators for herself....
I hope we're all in agreement that this (below) was the worst crime of millinery we've ever beheld.


  1. Love your dress!

    Hate the octopus hat. I hate it with the passion of a thousand hot, hot suns.

  2. Y'all will enjoy this website. Scroll all the way to the bottom for the full context (and to start at the beginning).

    Here's something I've been pondering for a while. I'm not a royalist, but I don't hate them. Betty Ross -- now a dual citizen -- is distinctly republican and truly did NOT want to know when I was looking at The Fugly Girls' pre-wedding photos. (The ones of Prince Harry are the funniest and the best, even if he's not my favorite royal -- for my taste, he spent too much cavorting at parties where people think it's a hoot to dress as a Nazi.)

    But there's sod all mention in The Canon of the royal family, and preciously little mention of any aristocracy -- meaning those families with hereditary titles as opposed to life-peerages -- anywhere. (I believe one heroine worked on a ward where the ward sister was an Hon., meaning the daughter of some viscount or something.)

    I don't believe The Great Betty was a republican. She may have felt that the monarchy was as ubiquitous as air and thus unworthy of her mention. But there's nothing -- not Her Majesty's speech on Christmas Day, a jubilee, royal gossip in The Telegraph. Nada. The absence is almost interesting in its own right.

    The Dutch monarchy gets rather more coverage in The Canon. Queen Juliana is mentioned, and Queen Beatrix is as well. (Ooh, and Queen Beatrix has a son named Friso and a son named Constantijn. I love it!)

    Any theories, anyone?

    1. As someone living in England, who enjoyed being in the crowds in London for 'the wedding' back in 2011, I have been entertained by the tales of the USA approach to the same event. Well done America. I agree with Magdalen that Great Betty was not a republican: obvious from her love of Dutch aristocracy and her many mentions of British Knights (whether aristocratic baronets or life peers). If you live in UK, the royals are usually invisible except on big occasions that make the TV news (Christmas, opening of parliament, Trooping of the Colour, Remembrance Day) and your local occasions when they visit your community to unveil a plaque and declare something open. Even that, you read about in your local paper after the event. Great Betty is pro Dutch aristocracy (her heroes so often are Barons) and the dutch aristos are related the british ones (the Dutch king is in line to the UK throne, although a long way down the line). Great Betty also ignores film and tv celebrities, in that she doesn't namecheck them. Keeps the books less time sensitive?

  3. Perhaps,Magdalen, Betty's past includes some slight from the Royals? Whatever it was that displaced her (or whatever) as we've conjectured, maybe it could be attributed to those nasty Royals? (Silly supposition but hey...)

    I want to know where any one with a brain was when Fergie's daughters were shopping. Good GRIEF!

    And Harry has come a long way from his pseudo-nazi days. Thankfully - I thought he was adorable yesterday. I love the obvious warm intimacy between the brothers. And he has the Mountbatten tendency to lose hair, after all, I noted when they stood in the vestibule of the Cathedral - one in the eye for the foul minded people who'd love to hear he is not Charles' son. (What a thing to grow up hearing! No wonder he played at being a nazi and other assorted rebellious things!)

    Oh, and Princess Anne looked rather silly too - I guess the Queen forgot to pass along her innate good taste?


  4. Beatrice's dress was pretty and I might even have given a (very) grudging pass on the hat if she'd had a stunning up-do and toned-down eye make-up. Eugenie (whose hat was cute, actually) needs to learn that a full-busted young woman's best friend is a v-neck...As it was, she looked like her next gig was passing out beer steins at the after-party.

  5. York girls should not be let out of the house unsupervised!

  6. Betty Cindy -- Any speculation about Harry's parentage probably comes from the same warped minds that talked 30 years ago about Prince Edward not being Prince Phillip's son...

  7. Betty Barbara here--
    My anti-royal hubbie and I were watching the re-run of the ceremony (and various and sundry other clips) and I was remarking about the hats. The Queen wore a hat, Mrs. Middleton wore a hat, Camilla wore a very large hat, Princess Anne wore an unfortunate hat. Princess Beatrice wore a "head decoration". And yes, it was truly hideous!! We had discussions on how Victoria Beckham kept her forehead decoration in place and there was that gal with the turquoise lozenge affixed to her forehead. We had a great time.
    I love hats and wear them quite well. However, I think I'll skip the forehead decorations.

    I found a few still photos that showed the exquisite fabric detail around the skirt of Kate's dress. Wow. SeeHERE.

  8. Betty Barbara here--
    Well, phooey. That was just a general link. Click on the thumbnail of the her wedding bouquet and you should get a shot of William leading Kate across the very cool mosaic floor of the altar area. And all that lovely fabric detail.

  9. Betty Keira! You made me snort tea out my nose with the Princess Eugenie quip!
    But this made me totally crack up. Can't you just see the birdies with the needles in their beeks.
    Credit Joan Rivers:
    "I was going to say something wrong and bad about that, but poor Eugenia because she almost didn't go at all, but the mice and birds in the palace got together and made that dress and look how pretty she looks."

  10. See what happens when you don't get all the straight pins in the right places in the hem! 8-D

  11. I hadn't seen much wedding coverage, not because I didn't want's complicated. These are my thoughts about the wonderful wedding picture.
    I think Her Majesty looks wonderful. Camilla's hat upstaged the bride, and I didn't recognize Charles until I realized he was next to her.
    I think Kate's dress is beautiful and flattering, and I agree, yay for sleeves! Not that she needed them, but she did make is stylish for so many (of us) who need them!

  12. Betty Ross and I went to a wedding this weekend - of our friend Laura (college roommate of my niece, Rebecca) and Dan (whom, I'll admit, I met for the first time about 30 minutes after they were pronounced man and wife).

    They managed to do a lot of wedding for not a lot of money, and one thing was that her mother made Laura's dress. Here's a photo of the dress.

    Here's Dan and Laura -- the woman at left is, I believe, Laura's grandmother.

    We did give them a wedding gift off their registry, but I had promised Laura a quilt as a law school graduation present...she graduated in 2009! Here she is opening it. From left, that's my niece Rebecca, me, Laura, and Laura's mother Nancy.

  13. Congratulations to your friend Laura, Betty Magdalen, for pulling off a delightful wedding (as opposed to the gaudy, expensive ones that are so frightfully vogue these days)!

    The Spare was kind enough to keep me company for much of the festivities until he had to get on the school bus. The Littlest Princess took over then. (She discovered Rich Tea Biscuits and lemon curd.) The Spare's observation: all the males look alike. The Littlest Princess just kept saying, "She looks like Aunt Weezy" (I have a sister who looks quite a bit like the late Diana).

    I LOVED the Queen's hat and suit--easily best of the lot. Despite the truly hideous specimens, it was still fun to see all the hats. Fortunately, I go to a church where a ladies' dress hat is still fairly common so I (and our princesses) wore hats both and Easter Sunday and yesterday. However, none like the taupe spider that the young York belaboured with.

    I disagree about the now Duchess's gown. I think it bears little resemblance to the late Princess Grace's--the bodice is different, the waistline is different, the skirt is different.

  14. Betty Magdalen,
    I second Betty JoDee's congratulations, and would just add that I love the quilt you made!

  15. Laura's dress is lovely, even without sleeves! :) Her mother is an accomplished needlewoman, to be sure. I've made a wedding dress or 5 in my day, (and countless bridesmaids dresses/prom dresses) and I know the effort it takes to keep them WHITE! All that fabric, most often slinky fabric (Hurrah for my niece Stacy who got married in off-white cotton eyelet), yards and yards of it, sliding this way and that, while you worry about sweating or sticking yourself and bleeding on that precious, pricey fabric...lovely, lovely dress. And beautiful girl.

    Ten years ago I made matching Daisy Kingdom pinafore dresses with more than enough ruffles to go up a football field two or three times for my sister's (then) three youngest granddaughters. Each dress and pinafore carries the stain of my bleeding fingers. :) The dresses are still being passed around to younger members of the family, which pleases me no end. They were for Easter that year and the littlest princess didn't get her pinafore until Easter morning in the vestibule at church!

    (As an aside, I was in the hospital a few days later with my first bout of cellulitis. My sister blames herself to this day - silly woman.)

    I tell every girl discussing her wedding how easy it is, truly, to NOT spend a lot of money on a wedding if only one is willing to be creative and DIFFERENT! I am such an anti-table-doodad person. Favors! UGH! Some are sweet but then what? One of my great-nieces got married three years ago and there were no less than 4 different favors for each guest! I could have made a house payment on what they spent on stuff that most likely was thrown away.

    But I make no judgments (tongue firmly in cheek...)