Canadian expats in London celebrate royal wedding
Although Joanna Newman hasn’t lived in Canada for nearly 20 years, the English expat says she’ll be celebrating Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding with homegrown pride.
“I’m secretly pleased that so many Torontonians kept the secret that they were dating for ages, because that’s just awesome,” she says from her adopted home, a village near Stonehenge.
“My feeling is that it couldn’t have happened in the (United) States, somebody would have papped them.”
Newman will be among the many Canuck transplants pointing out Canadian trivia to U.K. friends and family who gather to watch the nuptials on Saturday.
Her plan is to get together with several other Canadian expats at an all-day celebration at nearby Salisbury Cathedral, about two hours by car from London and 90 minutes from the wedding site at Windsor Castle.
The former Torontonian says the local party, hosted by the BBC, is set to feature live music performances, children’s crafts and a live broadcast of the ceremony on a big screen in the cathedral grounds.
It’s just one of several public events across the United Kingdom that will herald the muchhyped union of the people’s prince and the former California actress, who spent recent years in Toronto shooting a seven-season run on the T.V. series “Suits.”
Pubs were expected to be packed Saturday but not just with royal watchers: also charging street chatter Thursday was the upcoming FA Cup final following the wedding ceremony Saturday afternoon, in which soccer fans will gather to watch Chelsea vs. Manchester United, taking place at Wembley Stadium.
That game held far more appeal for former Ontarian Wade McElwain, who’s been in London for 12 years.
He’s skipping the wedding broadcast and was making plans Thursday to host a postfootie barbecue with other Canuck expats at his north London home.
Ottawa-born Judy Williamson says the royal nuptials offer a rare opportunity for British patriotism to unfurl unabashed.
“It’s definitely one thing they do very, very well — that whole pomp and ceremony. It was quite exciting, definitely,” the 41-year-old says, recalling “this outpouring of colour.”
Ending days of speculation, Meghan Markle said Thursday that her father will not be able to attend her wedding to Prince Harry due to health problems. The news came as British military personnel rehearsed for a gala procession through Windsor that will follow Saturday’s ceremony, which will be televised live around the world.
“Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding,” Markle said in a statement released by Kensington Palace.
“I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health.”
The palace has not revealed any details about Thomas Markle’s health issues, but the celebrity website TMZ says the 73-year-old retired Hollywood cinematographer is hospitalized in California after undergoing a procedure to clear blocked coronary arteries.
He reportedly told the website he was OK after three stents had been inserted, but needed to rest.
Thomas Markle had been scheduled to walk his daughter down the aisle when she weds her prince Saturday in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
It’s possible that Doria Ragland, the bride’s mother, could fill that role instead. No replacement has been officially named.
Meghan Markle may also choose to walk down the aisle by herself.
Harry and Markle, who had remained out of the public eye in recent days, were spotted being driven onto the grounds of Windsor Castle on Thursday afternoon.
Britain’s Press Association indicated they are expected to have tea with Queen Elizabeth II and may be joined by Ragland.
No details about the meeting were officially released.
A carriage procession drives along The Long Walk during a rehearsal for The Royal Wedding in Windsor, England, Thursday.
Claire Ptak, owner of Violet Bakery watched by head baker Izaak Adams adds the finishing touches to one tier of the cake for the wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace in London Thursday.