The Royal Wedding may have been five years ago today, but it remains an imprinted memory for many New Zealanders. Zoe Scheltema remembers the long, the short and the hats of watching it all unfold on live television.
Five years ago, the world was absolutely gripped by what was being described as “the wedding of the century” by most media outlets, and “the most exciting and jealousy-inducing thing that has ever happened in my entire life” by me.
It was of course, the nuptials between Prince William of Wales and his fiancé, Catherine Middleton. She was, by all accounts, a commoner, a pauper, a humble countrywoman (read: her family only had a few mill to their names).
It was Disney coming to life in a way that I had not yet witnessed in my lifetime. It was something I was sure I would be telling my children about. They would be in awe of my stories about what I was doing when this momentous event took place.
What I was doing was sitting in my friend’s lounge with a plastic tiara on my head, about 2 cm away from the TV screen, yelling at everyone to shut up because I was trying to listen to the commentary.
On the fifth anniversary, oh how I jumped at the chance to rewatch the 210 minutes footage of the greatest television event of my lifetime again. As it turns out, it is just as good the second time around.
Like any great event, there is always an unofficial pre-show which many argue is better than the event itself. Think red carpets, the haka, the trailers before a film. In this case, it is of course the guests arriving in their batshit hats.
You can’t deny that it was a great day for the punters to get out there in their merch and represent their great country via the Union Jack on a cowboy hat.
There were also those who were hiding under their hats, clearly steaming mad about not being invited inside the Abbey.
It was turning into a great show so far, but we were yet to see any flurry of royal activity, until this, the princes getting chauffeured to the church. Could also be Michael Jackson or Mickey Mouse.
The Queen arrives in what is arguably one of the most put-together outfits of the day, complete with what any fashion editor worth their money would call a bumble bee.
It’s at this point that my friends and I were deep into the royal drinking games, but I simply could not believe that none of them would just shut up and WATCH the damn thing.
Now for the moment when I literally almost shat myself with excitement. The first glance of Kate Middleton as she gets into her car, albeit very briefly as she entered via a marquee because privacy.
Kate eventually makes it to the church, amidst more screaming than you could ever imagine. Mostly by me.
It’s at this point that, in retrospect, I can understand my friends’ increased interest in the drinking game and not the actual wedding itself. The whole arrival process takes a very long time and reminds me a hell of a lot of a school assembly.
So let’s skip ahead to the part where she arrives at the altar, approximately 37 hours after she starts walking down the aisle.
As is customary (I’m not sure, is it?), the pastor/priest/vicar/clergyman conducts the handing over of the bride from father to husband, like a goat to the slaughter. A moment not to be missed is Wills trying not to crack himself up.
Not worth it in my opinion.
They shove the rings on their fingers (literally, those rings were tight) and say their vows. One of them is “all my worldly goods I do share,” which is a fantastic deal on Kate’s behalf.
Some fellows sing some songs and they trot off into a private room with their family to do God knows what.
Never fear though, as the live TV coverage is just providing more great hat-related footage.
Ah but behold, the newlyweds emerge from the church to more screams from their adoring public. It is at this point that I submitted myself to the fact that this really did happen and I now only have one eligible prince to set my sights on. It’s a confronting reality to say the least.
They make their way by carriage back to the old Palace. It truly is like something out of Shrek.
Honourable mention to Harry who was resigned to the kids carriage.
Now it’s the moment we were all waiting for: the balcony kiss, the image that would sell a million newspapers.
We waited in anticipation as the entire population of Britain made its way down the Mall.
The royal couple emerged on the balcony looking positively radiant. Kate classically uttered a small “oh wow” when she saw the crowd. Who could bloody blame her? It was enough to knock your socks off.
Everyone was having a chortle up there on the balcony.
And finally, the kiss. The kiss to end all kisses, the kiss that was witnessed by millions of people. Now that is some serious pressure to not get all sloppy joe on it.
For me, it was a magical television event. It was a real rollercoaster of emotions. As my friends and I downed the last of the Lindauer, and the Air Force planes flew above the Palace, we went to sleep, reflecting on the piece of history we had just witnessed.
As for me, I was hastily planning my move to London, where I’m living now. It’s only been a month but I’ve already seen Prince Harry in the flesh. Watch this space.
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