Expats celebrate royal wedding
Canadian expats in the U.K. are prepping for the royal wedding
LONDON — 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.
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 watch it 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.
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 sevenseason run on the T.V. series “Suits.”
The royal nuptials offer a rare opportunity for British patriotism to unfurl unabashed, says Ottawa-born Judy Williamson.
“It’s definitely one thing they do very, very well — that whole pomp and ceremony. It was quite exciting, definitely,” the 41-yearold says from London, recalling “this outpouring of colour.”
“The British are quite reserved and they don’t tend to kind of build these things up. However, come the day, suddenly it just kind of explodes and all of these things are happening.”
The wedding of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge was an “impressive show,” especially jubilant because it involved the second-in-line to the throne, she notes. It took place at Westminster Abbey on Fri., April 29, 2011 and was declared a bank holiday so that more of the country could celebrate.
Williamson admits to being less enthused about the royal party this time, noting her fascination with the monarchy has waned in the 16 years since she moved to London.
“Before I went to the U.K. it was kind of an exciting thing, the Royal Family, the King and Queen and all that. And then now living (here) and seeing it more on a day-to-day basis, the news coverage and all that kind of stuff, I’ve just become a bit more indifferent about it.”
Former Ottawa resident Kelly Crawford says she’s steeling herself for an expected influx of 100,000 visitors to her town of Windsor, normally home to about 30,000 people.
“I think it’s just going to be utter chaos,” says Crawford, who expects a gleeful bustle akin to Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa.
The 43-year-old says she moved to the U.K. three years ago for love, and that’s made it easy for her to identify with some of what she imagines Markle is facing in her transition to a new life abroad.
“I’m here for the same reason as Meghan — my now-husband is from the U.K.,” says Crawford, who met her prince through a mutual friend in Ottawa when he visited six years ago. While she suspects Markle is gaining much by following her heart, Crawford says it’s not without sacrifice.
A group of women from Canada sit outside Windsor Castle, England, Thursday. Preparations continue in Windsor ahead of the royal wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday.