Monday, October 24, 2011

London Diary, Day Eight: London Walks, Royal Weddings

Deb: Started this fine day in London with our good friends, Anna and Steve. They are friends we see very infrequently but with whom we have a substantial bond. We had a lovely lunch at a beautiful and very old London restaurant called The Wolseley, which used to be a luxury car showroom in the early 1920’s. They treated. That should be noted!

We then set off on our Royal Wedding walkabout. The men came in support of their own marriages and for no other reason. Although I did ask my husband if he enjoyed it and he said, “You know ... I was outside ... and it was a nice day.” Stellar reviews indeed!

The first piece of info we got was that the Will and Kate’s first dance was to “Your Song.” They then did a little dance to “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease, which I thought was great fun.

We started off heading down the Queen’s Walk in Green Park where our guide told us the most interesting story of how Green Park got its name. It turns out that Charles II was picking flowers in the park for his mistress and was caught doing so by his Queen who became so irate that she banished flowers from the park. From that day on they have not planted one single flower––hence the name, Green Park. Hell hath no fury like a Queen scorned. Actually, flowers do appear there but only of the “wild” variety.

One of my fave fun facts on today’s tour was that the guests of the royal wedding each received a 22-page instruction manual to prepare them for the whole royal affair. Kate herself was allowed only 100 personal guests from the almost 2000 in attendance. The other interesting fact was that William has earned the highest university degree in history for a future monarch. Kate, of course, earned as high a degree, but clearly does not count at this point as she will not be a crowned Queen. Although I still feel it deserves a “Well Done, Kate!”

Here was one of my favourite facts on today’s tour. King Henry VIII had it written into the wedding vows of all his brides (with or without heads) that they must pledge to “be buxom and bawdy in bed”. Ahhh, how I long for the good old days when women were held in the highest esteem!

We also learned that the origin of the wedding veil came about as a trick of the father of the maybe not so attractive bride, ensuring that the wedding would be made legal before a royal groom would have the chance to see his bride and possibly say, “What the?”

We also learned that Queen Victoria invented the white wedding gown. Up until then, the general public would get married in their Sunday best and the royals in silver. But she was so much in love with her groom that she wanted to use some wonderful white lace she had, and the modern wedding dress was born. Sadly she spent more time of her life in her mourning blacks, so distraught was she over the early death of her beloved Albert.

The day embodied the true love and tragic love of the royals and their marriages. But the prevailing message was and is that no good ever came of the arranged marriage idea. Any time a royal was forced to marry, as in Charles and Diana, it came to a tragic end. We must follow our hearts and hopefully this marriage will send that new message, along with the change in succession. Soon it will be law that the first born of any gender will be the next monarch. This is the wish of the royal family to move with the times and the queen has pushed hard for this change to come about.

We ended the day with our dear friend Steve and his lovely son Ian who we met for the first time tonight. We went together to the BBC and saw a radio taping for BBC Four. The taping was the third in a four part series of the stand up comedian Richard Herring and it was first rate. Tired. Going to bed to dream of Peter and Wendy. I may leave the window open tonight. xo


  1. Yay first comment!! Green Park is so pretty! :)
    Never went on the Queen's Walk and only saw the park in passing, but I remember going...aaahhh, pretty! Making a list of all the stuff YOU'RE doing when I go back! :) Still can't wait to see the new show (b/c when I watch it I can go, Hey, I was reading Deb's BLOG IN LONDON while this was getting taped). :D

  2. I love this blog so much....just an FYI. Anyway, have you seen the movie The Young Victoria? HIGHLY recommend it!!!! This "London diary" really makes me think and reminisce all of my Scottish adventures...and gosh I miss it so much! I AM going to go back someday, and maybe i'll visit London with the family too!

    Keeping my eyes open for the new show! Any idea when it's starting? CAN'T WAIT!!!!! :]

  3. That would be so cool to learn more about the royal wedding . Glad you all had a great time. and I also have to say that I am with Holly on this one. I cant wait to see the new show. I am sure it will be amazing just like everything else had been. Queen's walk pictures looks great. The memories that you are having in London are great and the stories that you have from great because they last a life time. And the stories are something you can always look back on. .

  4. More beautiful pics! Yay!

    I would have enjoyed the nice day out, as well, because I'd get irritated at the royal state of "fairness," though I do applaud the queen for pushing for equal succession.

    This is a tour I wish I had known existed several years back. My dad would have loved it. He's a big fan of the history of the British royals. "Oh yeah, she was the one who married him, and this one was this one, and oh yeah, never marry King Henry the VIII if you can avoid it."

    Would have been a whole different tour. :)

  5. As I've been reading Barb's and your blog entries, I realize I've been picking up some insights about my parents.
    They're both still alive and kicking, and letting me live with them in the house my dad's been in since he was 6. But this is not a family of big conversationalists, or small ones, so the "understanding"-type info/insight sometimes comes from elsewhere.
    Today's particular tour brought to mind a picture I didn't know could have existed. It's a good one, and I thank you for the kick in the memory.

  6. (Please, someone tell me they get the gist of what I was trying to say there. Sigh...)

  7. Very nice trip looks like, from the pictures. Wow they have fancy looking outhouses but where's the dang door? :) I sure hope you get more sleep tonight and didn't have too much yummy tea. Do they say "yummy" over there? I'll have to look it up in Google Language.
    Continue having a marvelous time across the pond. Would love to see a photo of you and Colin in Beefeater outfits. That would seriously be a hoot.
    Hugs & Crumpets
    P.S. Yes Dawn, I get it. hugs 4 u 2

  8. I love all these walks you go on. Never have done that but will the next time I visit.

  9. Thanks everyone for the comments and yes Dawn I did get it. I am so glad that people get something out of these things. When I am doing these things, I never know if they will be of interest to anyone else but me, so I am always thrilled with they are amusing to you or prompt lovely memories in your lives...until the next adventure then.

  10. Dawn, totally totally got it! We often have shocking memories come out of the blue and upset us. Isn't it wonderful when it's a lovely one instead?!

    These walks have so inspired me, I'm seriously considering talking them here in TO. Would be nice to rediscover my own town, huh?

  11. Um, "when it's a lovely one instead" -- that sounds like the lovely memory shocks and upsets us! Now I hope you all know what I mean!!

  12. *hugs Deb* Oh, Deb. *extra, super snuggly hugs* I just heard. *hugs Deb again*

  13. I love all the old buildings the pictures have all been great. Glad your having a good time sure sounds like fun.

  14. Barb, yes I got it! :)
    This tweet appeared today, and it reminded me of your "do I ditch it or not?" blog. I hope you get a kick out of it.

    Writing is really your gig when you have a bad day but you say, "You know what? This story ain't gonna unfuck itself." And you dive back in.

  15. Of course you know, my little McGrath/Mochrie darlings, that you have Really Made It when you appear in an episode of Coronation Street. Are you going out to "Weatherfield?" Or not fans of the show?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.