Sunday, 13 May 2012

Contribution to Your Royal Wedding Anthology

This is my contribution to an anthology competition which was held last year to coincide with the Royal Wedding.  Louise Gibney, a prolific writer and enthusiast, arranged for the booklet to be printed and it is available on ebay - just search Royal Wedding Anthology.  It is £5 plus 92p postage and half the receipts go to UNICEF.
I am hoping that by showcasing my own entry, sales of the complete anthology will increase.
I had fun writing this so I do hope you enjoy it too.
Di Castle, writer

The Royal Wedding 29th April 2011

Well it was just the day we had all been looking forward to and we were not disappointed, were we?
First there was the early morning cup of tea drunk in leisurely fashion in front of our bedroom television set on this bonus bank holiday to celebrate the first Royal Wedding for thirty years.

Most of us will remember the joy and anticipation of that other Royal Wedding on a sunny July day in 1981, especially those who had young children for whom the parents were arranging a street party.  For us, there had been a swathe of meetings with mothers organising food and mini meetings of Dads organising tables and music broadcasts.  That year there were no flat screen televisions on which to broadcast the pomp and ceremony of a London State event, only our small sets around which we sat all morning while preparing food, games and activities.

 Another mother and I spent most of that morning huddled in a corner disappearing frequently into my garage to organise the script and props for the amusement we had planned for the children.  No magician or kids’ entertainer had been booked; it was the days of simple birthday parties and under-stated follow on activities.  Party teas in those days comprised egg or paste sandwiches and jelly in a cardboard dish with a dollop of ice cream.  We had hats, flags and party dresses.  In the mayhem that was the television coverage of Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding and party preparation,  our children failed to miss their scooter and bouncy jump ball, hooters and bicycle bells which we had commandeered for our raucous entrance with which we intended to bring the party to a sudden halt.

 My acting partner was well versed in the vagaries of putting on entertainment having honed her skills in an infant classroom.  I did as I was told, acting as her stooge and we gave a good rendition of two lost clowns who were late for the wedding and required directions from the assembled children.  We were slightly deaf too, demanding constant repeats of the shrieks of “It’s finished” and “You’ve missed it”.  Some of the brightest sparks attempted to give us an approximate route out of Middlesex if we followed the road ‘that way’ and went up to the A40.  Much was inaudible above my fellow actor’s fury as she scolded me for spending too much time on my hair, whacking me with a national jack flag and above my bawling protests that I was wearing my best dress – well, a bright orange clown outfit of bloomers and mop hat.
Eventually, we were exposed by one or two of our own offspring who had no conscience about spoiling the display for the younger less observant children.  After all, the jelly and ice cream was more enticing than watching a couple of mothers make fools of themselves.  We had, with foresight, arranged a quick getaway in an open top sports car belonging to a young neighbour who we had sworn to secrecy. So with our jokes now falling on deaf ears, we beat a hasty retreat.  It was our ride in the sports car which my children remembered, their envy a source of conversation for days.

 This Royal Wedding was spent more quietly due to the effects of ageing and the fact that our present road is unsuitable for street parties.  But there were other differences.  How television has changed; this time there were countless venues where we could have viewed the big event on a large screen.  But our own 32 inch screen gave us perfect visions of this magnificent spectacle.  The shrinking violet that was Diana 1981 had made way for a confident mature young woman, fully aware of what lies ahead.  The frilly, flouncy and over-gathered dress of 1981 was replaced by a fitted, beautifully shaped and unfussy creation which said much about the wearer.
And the words on all mothers’ lips were no doubt, how proud Princess Diana would have been of her eldest son and how much she would have loved to be there.

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