Ex­pats cel­e­brate royal wed­ding

Cana­dian ex­pats in the U.K. are prep­ping for the royal wed­ding

Waterloo Region Record - - News - CASSANDRA SZKLARSKI

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.

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