Are you throw­ing a royal wed­ding party?

Many Ir­ish peo­ple may ‘feign dis­in­ter­est’ in the royals, but oth­ers will be celebrating Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nup­tials with aban­don

The Irish Times - - Friday Life - Tanya Sweeney

In the era of lap­tops, smart­phones and Net­flix, it was as­sumed that the end was nigh for the com­mu­nal liv­ing-room screen. In­stead, “event” TV was born, and with it the view­ing party. This week, the royal wed­ding be­tween Prince Harry and Meghan Markel will be watched by an au­di­ence of bil­lions world­wide, and many have de­cided to make a day of it.

“Ev­ery­one’s go­ing to be watch­ing this, even if they do it qui­etly, so why not do it loudly?” rea­sons Jenny Mur­ray, who is plan­ning a “tongue-in-cheek” royal wed­ding party at her home in Stoney­bat­ter, Dublin. Al­ready, Mur­ray has planned to dec­o­rate with bunting, and serve gin fizz and home­made gin and tonic cup­cakes.

“I’d have watched all the royal wed­dings, but this one has got a lit­tle more piz­zazz with the Hol­ly­wood el­e­ment. We of­ten get to­gether on the street and have some craic around street par­ties. I wouldn’t be a roy­al­ist or any­thing – they don’t bother me ei­ther which way to be hon­est, but I think peo­ple’s af­fec­tion for Harry is a gen­uine thing. And ev­ery­one will want to see the frock.”

RTÉ 2FM broad­caster Jenny Greene and her wife Kelly Keogh have de­cided to go all out with a view­ing party at their south Dublin home. They’re hold­ing a brunch BBQ, com­plete with Pimm’s, Mi­mosas, and have de­cided to ac­ces­sorise ac­cord­ingly.

“We went on Ama­zon and or­dered Harry and Meghan wed­ding bal­loons, and com­mem­o­ra­tive coast­ers,” says Greene. “We’re also get­ting a re­ally large Bri­tish flag with their pho­tos on it.”

Adds Keogh: “My think­ing is ‘Any ex­cuse for a party’. We have Euro­vi­sion and World Cup par­ties, so why not for this? There’s so much doom and gloom ev­ery­where that it’s nice to cel­e­brate some­thing sweet and up­lift­ing. Of all the royals, Harry and Meghan are the ones you could prob­a­bly re­late to the most.”

As TV3’s royal ex­pert, Noel Cun­ning­ham, has ob­served, while many Ir­ish peo­ple wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily view them­selves as de­fend­ers of the crown, they still love the glam­our and es­capism that the royals pro­vide.

Ac­cord­ing to a poll for RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live by Amárach Re­search, 57 per cent of peo­ple said they would not fol­low the wed­ding of Bri­tish Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Just over a third (34 per cent) said they would be pay­ing at­ten­tion, while 9 per cent said they didn’t know.

Furtive glances

It’s not the done thing, ev­i­dently, to openly ad­mit to lik­ing the royals, or want­ing to cel­e­brate the royal wed­ding. Yet cometh the hour, it’s safe to as­sume that most Ir­ish peo­ple will be throw­ing a glance, even a furtive one, to­wards the nup­tials.

“Mag­a­zines with royal cov­ers sell more in Ire­land per capita than any other coun­try in the world,” Cun­ning­ham re­veals. “I al­ways say that de­spite our shared his­tory and past, we’ve al­ways had a strong re­la­tion­ship with Bri­tain. Who hasn’t lived there, or have fam­ily mem­bers liv­ing over there?

“Sim­i­lar to the Euro­vi­sion, many peo­ple feign dis­in­ter­est in the royals, but the re­al­ity is that de­spite the be­grudgers, it’s a day of en­joy­ment and fun for any­one who wants to have it.”

Of all the royals, Cun­ning­ham the­o­rises that many Ir­ish peo­ple have a par­tic­u­lar af­fec­tion for Prince Harry.

“Young Harry hasn’t had a gilded life by his own ad­mis­sion,” he says. “His mother’s death has caused him un­be­liev­able pain. When his mother died [in 1997, when Harry was 12], I don’t think there was a mother or grand­mother or sis­ter in Ire­land who wouldn’t want to rush into that area dur­ing Diana’s fu­neral and scoop that child up in their arms and take him from that trau­matic spec­ta­cle. On an­other note, there’s some­thing about Meghan that’s to­tally de­light­ful. And I think a lot of younger view­ers will be all about the style.”

Whether in cel­e­bra­tion or with a nod to irony, get­ting into the spirit of things from the couch couldn’t be eas­ier. Gin, el­der­flower Cham­pagne, Pimm’s and lemon­ade are de­pend­able drinks op­tions. Any­one want­ing to go the whole hog can try their hand at el­der­flower cake (it’s thought that Harry and Meghan have cho­sen baker Claire Ptak to make their le­mon el­der­flower cake). O r, for a s ub­stan­tial cap doff to the cou­ple, whip up a roast chicken – said to be the meal that Harry proposed to Meghan over.

Given that cel­e­bra­tions kick off at 11am, high tea is prob­a­bly a safe bet. Think Earl Grey tea, cu­cum­ber and dill sand­wiches, egg salad sand­wiches and petit fours. Ac­cord­ing to re­search, the cu­cum­ber tea sand­wich recipe has been the most saved recipe on Pin­ter­est in re­cent weeks, with saves on the site for “royal wed­ding view­ing par­ties” up 1,791 per cent since Jan­uary. Even more fuss-free is a help­ing of straw­ber­ries and cream, re­port­edly served at Princess Diana’s wed­ding break­fast.

Big screen

Royal wed­ding en­thu­si­asts can also opt to cel­e­brate at a num­ber of venues across the coun­try. The Whale The­atre in Grey­stones is show­ing the wed­ding on an 11ft screen, and will be serv­ing cheese­boards, con­ti­nen­tal break­fasts and wed­ding cake along with a full bar (the event is sold out, although a wait­ing list can be joined at whalethe­atre.tick­et­solve.com).

House Ho­tel in Gal­way has also de­cided to join in the fes­tiv­i­ties, with a spe­cially de­signed af­ter­noon tea. The menu is set to nod to Amer­i­can and Bri­tish clas­sics in hon­our of both Meghan and Harry, ac­com­pa­nied by their sig­na­ture cham­pagne cock­tail, The Duchess.

Down in the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic – the Beck­ett Suite at the Metropole Ho­tel, to be ex­act – or­gan­is­ers will hold their own event, com­plete with pros­ecco, af­ter­noon tea and a fun selfie booth (tick­ets are ¤20 from eventbrite.ie).

In Dublin, life­style site evoke.ie are hold­ing a bub­bles-and-brunch event at the Con­rad Ho­tel on Earls­fort Ter­race, promis­ing goodie bags, celebrity pan­els and no end of style for a ¤75 en­trance fee.

In Killinchy, Co, Down, the Florida Manor Es­tate is com­bin­ing the royal wed­ding with the FA Cup fi­nal in the af­ter­noon. An all-weather screen is be­ing in­stalled in the walled gar­den so that at­ten­dees can en­joy the ac­tion from both Wind­sor and Wem­b­ley (tick­ets £20 from Eventbrite.ie).

‘ ‘

We went on Ama­zon and or­dered Harry and Meghan wed­ding bal­loons, and com­mem­o­ra­tive coast­ers. We’re also get­ting a re­ally large Bri­tish flag with their pho­tos on it Jenny Greene, on right, with wife Kelly Keogh

IMAGES PHO­TO­GRAPH: JACK TAY­LOR/GETTY

Masks of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the win­dow of a gift shop in Wind­sor. ■

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