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"