I did but see her
Ah, the sparkle of Markle. And to quote Shakespeare’s Henry V, “a little touch of Harry in the night”. Now all the fuss is over and they’ve vacuumed up all the confetti with Windsor Castle’s by-royal-appointment Dyson, it’s time to quill a few quiet, considered words on the wedding – not merely the marriage of the year but of the millennium. Bigger than all Henry VIII’s put together. (They walked all over Henry’s, and indeed Henry, who’s buried in the basement.)
Not that I saw much of the ceremony from behind Camilla’s hat. She wasn’t so much wearing it as hiding in it. OMG, didn’t the milliners go mad? The event was like the Ascot scene in My Fair Lady but with slower horses. (“Every duke and earl and peer is here / Everyone who should be here is here.”)
Perhaps I shouldn’t be confessing this but the Queen and I have been, shall I say, “close”. Since her first royal tour of Australia. “I did but see her passing by”… and one thing led to another. Oh, the palace kept it hushed up, misdirecting attention to the flirtations of her husband and to the extramarital entanglements of Margaret. This forced Lilibet and me to continue our furtive dalliance via the Royal Mail. Oh, how I loved to lick those stamps. (“Pulses rushing, faces flushing / Heartbeats speed up / I have never been so keyed up.”)
At least I got into the wedding, unlike the Donald. But like Donald, I was to be cruelly disappointed. I was expecting an aisle seat up front but I blame my namesake Duke for my rotten spot behind a faceful of feathers, or whatever Camilla’s mad hatter had stuck on her head. With Muslims otherwise absent from the multi-faith proceedings, I think it might have been a floral burka.
I tried to catch the Queen’s eye by peeking around Camilla and an obstructive gothic column. Only to be met by the baleful glare of the Duke. I was going to mouth HM a message but the BBC and ABC had hired lip-readers. (Talk about the Montagues and the Capulets. Over the years HM and I have been forced to hide our star-crossed love, fooling Fleet Street with my pretence to be a republican – having truck with such traitors as Peter FitzSimons. All the more surprising to see Peter at the wedding, his red bandana bobbing about the chapel. He’d pretended he was only there to accompany his on-activeduty missus, but in one of the cutaways you could see him sniffling and unwrapping the bandana to dab at his eyes.)
But I’m being distracted from the main event. I found the little touches of modernity added to the ancient ritual quite magical. Much has been made of the couple heading off in an electric-powered E-type but no one mentioned the way Ms Markle arrived on a skateboard and rode it down the aisle – until ordered to dismount by her clearly annoyed soon-to-be-father-in-law. Or the way the couple took selfies and tweeted at the altar.
Finally, after too few too-short speeches – and an endlessly repetitive script that desperately needed an edit – it seemed the Anglican rev had married them at least three times – it was all over. And we all could rush out to the Portaloos. (“What a frenzied moment that was / didn’t they maintain an exhausting pace?”) As I hurried from the chapel arm-in-arm with an agonised Oprah, the Queen’s eyes met fleetingly with mine. I could see she wanted to exchange a few whispers but the Duke, walking a step behind, gave HM quite a nasty nudge.
Pee S: In Victoria’s time, aristocratic ladies hid little chamber pots beneath their crinolines to facilitate secret pees during long sermons.