I sincerely hope you all had a wonderful time watching the proceedings, processions, and patriotic fervour of Friday’s Royal Wedding between William and Catherine. My wife sat, unmoving but deeply moved, from 8.00 am onwards. I came in from the garden at the important bits – just to see if William might turn up in a dress, or Katherine might run away at the last minute. But it all went off rather well.
To celebrate the occasion through the medium of cloth, I went out and bought an expression of contemporary patriotism, especially designed for me in handmade 100% polyester by French Designer Auchan Carrefour. It is a topless burqua, and represents the devotion of all right-minded British citizens to the objective of achieving a completely multi-storey society, led by the old boys of Eton School. Actually, it’s a Union Jack flag….and as with the majority of flags sold for the occasion, it was made in France. The broad white stripe is in the wrong place, and I doubt if it’s suitable to be out in anything stronger than 10 mph winds. We have a Royal Wedding, and we can’t even manufacture the flags in Britain. Dear oh dear.
For someone with such focused determination to climb the north face of our multi-storey society as quickly as possible, the day must’ve come as a terrible shock for the bride’s mother Carole Middleton. In the morning she thought her daughter was marrying a prince, but by lunchtime he had been demoted to the rank of Austin Cambridge. I understand from my myriad contacts in Buckingham Palace, however, that the title of Count had already been taken by the highly-decorated thespian, Mr Teddy Wessex, and – as is always traditional in his case – the ‘o’ in Count is silent.
At last, after what seemed like several hours (because it had been) the then Prince and his step-brother Harry Hewitt eventually emerged, and were driven to the Church. I found myself dazzled by the bright yellow uniforms of the motor-cycle outriders, specially commissioned from the police costumiers Hayman, Brooks-Mette & Partners, a design-house with a long track-record of fitting people
up out in a cornucopia of stitching.
As the guests began mooching into the Abbey, there were some spectacular outfits, most notably that worn by Mrs David Spice, who had seemingly expected a funeral, and thus chosen to wear a sombre colour perilously close to black, topped by a coffin where her hat should’ve been. Also the Princess Beatrice left an impression, in the sense that being hit with a golf ball might. Her mother being indisposed and in disgrace, Beattie arrived alone, wearing part of the railings from Buckingham Palace on her head. This was a major break with, well, everything really….but mainly a triumph of vulgarity over gravity.
Another major break with Royal tradition was undoubtedly the decision by the Royal Couple to invite ten very large trees to the wedding, a move which sadly meant quite a few guests had to have their invites revoked. But I’m told both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were quite happy to accept the rebuke, for it helped maintain the long tradition of the BBC not being able to see the wood for the trees. Positioned behind the choir, Ken Clarke definitely looked like a well-seasoned, broad beam.
Expectation was at fever pitch when the Beeb’s Nicholas Witch-Hunte revealed to a tumescent nation that the bride’s dress had been purchased from Burtons – a bold decision affirming her proletarian roots. However, in keeping with the lady’s imminent transmutation into Royalty, the bride-to-be also sported a 1937 Cartier tiara. When told that the tiara was crowned with a Faberge Crème Egg, the entire cast of Antiques Roadshow fainted.
It was a fashion moment, said the BBC – and easily eclipsed the bride’s mother, who was wearing not so much a fashion moment, as something deeply unfashionable run up at the last moment. This had followed an entretemps between quietly unassuming Carole and her original designer, Mrs Middleton having asked if she could have the dress early to show off at an upcoming Tupperware Party.
Her husband Air Vice Marshal Mad Mike ‘Bomber’ Middleton VC thoughtfully eschewed the uniform of a senior baggage handler in favour of long tails and grey trousers. This made a welcome change from the tabloid media’s colourfully tall tales of his exploits while dog-fighting with the infamous Red Baron above the Crimean trenches.
At last, the Queen arrived at the Abbey to a blast of sound from twenty strumpets, all screaming “Ooooh, she should never wear yellow”, but once the matriarch was in her seat, everyone knew the formalities would commence. Before that, her son Mr Charles Wales, as the father of the Groom, walked ahead of her, holding things up briefly to ask a particularly attractive maple if it liked being a tree. To everyone’s huge relief, nobody fell over, Prince Harry was not wearing an SS uniform, and Head Vicar the very Reverend Rowan Atkinson had trimmed his beard. Mr Atkinson was wearing an exquisite red and gold painted box of Cadburys Roses Chocolates, designed and made with their feet by people employed by Middletone Party Requisites of Pickleberry, Bucks.
The first hymn set a classically modern tone. It was the evergreen favourite Man United, Man United, We’ll support you Evermore, written by Mr Rio Ferdinand, and scored by Mr Wayne Rooney from an impossibly acute angle. After this rousing and cheery anthem, Mr Atkinson reminded the congregation that the State of marriage was not one to be entered into lightly or wantonly, but rather, discreetly – in Westminster Abbey, live on HD television and the internet, with a global audience of 570 million.
And then, the coup de grace as the Prince finally began, “I, William, Arthur, Neddy, Bluebottle take you, Katherine, Partybag, Lillibet…… for the rest of my awfully deadly life, until death us do part, or you need some emotional help about something utterly trivial and simply won’t pull yourself together……or your ghastly mother turns into to an even looser cannon that we thought, God help me”. But it was not, sadly, entirely possible to escape the commercial realities which surround us in this, our financially battered nation. Due to the rocketing price of gold, and unwise Scottish precious metal auctions in the past, the Royal Family had clearly been forced to skimp on the ring’s dimensions; but William finally managed to ram it gently onto the newly royal digit.
We were next treated to a sermon from the Bishop of London, the Right Reverend Jean-Paul Sartres, who encouraged the Royal Couple to set fire to each other, live a life full of promise, and avoid a century thus far filled with Beryl. This too was an unexpected variation from the script, as I had been led to understand that a suitably heavy veil would be drawn over the unfortunate episode involving Miss Beryl Streep of Didsbury, South Manchester.
Finally, as a way of once again affirming the House of Windsor’s complete commitment to all things correct, a new song This is the Gay was performed by several members of the Abbey choir. It too was composed specially for the ceremony by Mr Elton Newton-John of The Cottages, Upper Furnish, Hunts.
A great deal of other more secular events occurred after the happy couple left the Abbey, but these were as nothing compared to the simplicity, solemnity, majesty, pomp, glory, divinity and holy nature of the religious ceremonial, and the profusion of confused tosh uttered by Simon Schama throughout the proceedings.
But anyway, let us look to the future of the Cambridges – as they now are, and it does make them sound vaguely like a pretentious hotel – and remember that, come Hell, high water or low skulduggery from here on, there will always be Huw Edwards to assure us that things will be happy ever after…..and there will always be Rupert Murdoch to start a bidding war for leaks about why things aren’t happy at all.