Friday, April 29, 2011

He's Handsome, Stately, Middle-Sized - And Watching The Wedding

Yes, here I am at 8.00am watching the television and the build-up to the Royal Wedding. Let me quickly add that it is not a surfeit of patriotism, nor a fondness for the monarchy, nor an urgent need to spot the wedding dress which has me here on duty and glued to the television. My task is far more prosaic : I am under instructions to watch the early stages so that I can wake the Good Lady Wife up once it gets interesting (she is maintaining a delicate balance between the need for a sleep-in on her day off and her desire to wallow in the syrup-sweet celebrations). As I write this, there is a chap wearing a red tunic entering Westminster Abbey : is that of sufficient interest to interrupt her sleep?

To amuse myself whilst I listen to endless discussions about dresses and abbeys, I go in search of newspaper reports of a previous Royal Wedding : the marriage of Prince Albert Edward and Princess Alexandra in March 1863. There were a good few descriptions of the ceremony itself, but many of the reports focus on local celebrations in the towns and villages throughout the country. These usually consisted of the firing of muskets by the local militia followed by a dinner and beer in the local pub. It seems that little changes.

One report which did catch my eye, however was the report of the special celebration organised by the Glasgow Abstainers' Union to mark the royal wedding. This must have been a jolly affair indeed and the report in Glasgow Herald of March 11th 1863 goes into considerable detail about the jolly songs that were sung by all. According to the report, the entire gathering sang the following song in honour of the Prince. The thought of hundreds of sober Glaswegian voices singing the following verse makes my waiting and watching slightly less onerous.

"My Patie is a lover gay,
His mind is never Muddy, O,
His breath is sweet as new-mawn hay,
His face is fair and ruddy, O
He's handsome, stately middle sized,
He's comely in his walking, O
The glancing o' his e'en surprise,
And it's Heaven to hear him talking, O"


  1. I want to see the dress and I even want to see it for myself before some internet site shows it to me and quotes somebody who wants to tell me what I'm supposed to think about it.

    Girls will be girls.

    I wish I had someone to stay awake for me. :)

  2. Alan, I can imagine you sat there in your union flag weskit and pith helmet, with strains of Land of Hope & Glory playing in the background on your wind-up gramophone.

  3. Megan : The dedication is one part love and one part the fact that she gets her pension soon.
    CB : You are telepathetic my friend.

  4. I have to confess that I am not watching! (In fact, I'm thinking of nipping up to B&Q to use my 'one day only 15% off voucher' while everyone else is glued to the telly! - Or do you think the place will be packed with other people doing exactly the same thing?)

  5. I'm watching, too! :)

  6. I watched parts of the wedding (couldn't get up at 5 am to watch the real thing). I love this stuff. I also adore descriptions of past royal weddings. My favorite is Marie Antoinette who had to be changed from her Austrian clothes into her French ones in a neutral spot.

  7. I confess to not watching because it will be replayed for the next year or so!

  8. I hope you got the Good Wife up in time. I woke up early about 4:30 Am here to catch the festivities. I watched BBC so I didn't get much commentary. I loved those trees inside the abbey..beautiful. Her dress was lovely..she looked comfortable and not nervous at all.
    What a fun day..:)

  9. I slept through it knowing it would be aired here again and again and again...this photo is so incredible....the poety outstanding, and just imagine how heavy this dress must have just had too! Great post Alan!

  10. We watched the lot. I can take the dear Royals, or leave them but, either way, a couple of glasses of Pimms certainly helped things along.

    Cheers, Alan!

  11. A lot of people on our side of the pond are all excited about this wedding. I'll be glad when it's over. I'm not critical of other people's interest, nor at all disdainful of the British royal family (as was Jerry Seinfeld in a recent interview), I just don't care.

  12. You are a good man indeed, to take such good care of your wife.

    The whole thing started at 1am my time. I was quite interested in viewing live, but not that interested.

  13. Oh, another wonderful write up that only THE ALAN coudl write. Loved it.

    You know, I don't think any Brit could NOT feel terribly proud particualrly when the stirring Jerusalem was sung in the Abbey's splendour.

    Watching it here, stateside was of course not quite as much fun. In fact, except for my friend and I, we were the only ones watching it in this hotel lobby we drove to to get TV coverage. Later, others came in and ate breakfast and barely any one even looked at the screen. To be expected though.

    Since then (got up at 3:00 my time), I have been glued to the internet with my shoddy reception reading every bit of news I can.

    Must admit, I'm not exactly a Royalist one bit, in fact finding most of them anything but "Royal," but my hope was renewed with William and Kate and how in touch with the people they seem.

    The christian ceremony was lovely, the Abbey stunning with history in full display. I loved too seeing how William is so obviously happy and in love with with Kate too. Wonderful.

    How refreshing too to see Brits actually celebrate being British!

  14. Well frankly I'd have rather heard the Glasgow boys singing than the durgey hymns they had for their wedding. Although I must admit, I only watched for a little while. It's all about the dress you know.

  15. I was riveted to the TV when Charles and Diana were married, but for some reason, I wasn't so compelled this time. They make a handsome couple. Diana would be proud.

  16. Since I'm an insomniac, it wasn't too difficult to turn on the tv at 1 am and watch the whole friggin wedding. I wasn't all that interested until it started and I must admit I got caught up in the pageantry, etc. You Brits really know how to throw a great wedding.
    Ladies of the grove

  17. and to the last comment--and so it should have been for that amount of cash and historical context. :)


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