The Royal Wedding (And Why I Woke up at 1:00 am to Watch it)

Yes, I was one of the millions of American television viewers who woke up in the middle of the night (1:00 am west coast time) to begin the countdown to the royal wedding of Will and Kate.

If any readers are wondering why in the world I did that, it simply comes down to this picture– the very first royal wedding I ever witnessed– which had a profound influence on me and really helped shape who I am today.

  I remember watching Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding at a neighbor’s house in 1981.  I hadn’t known anything about it and was simply going over there for a “playdate” with a girlfriend.  My parents did not share that there was going to be a royal wedding to me, as they didn’t really pay attention to any cultural or historically significant events of any kind.  When I got to my friend’s house, she was watching the wedding on television with her mother.  I distinctly remember watching Diana walk down the aisle in her billowing meringue dress, and what caught my eye the most was the diamond tiara she wore with her veil.

I was HOOKED!

Believe it or not, I simply did not know that princesses actually EXISTED until that moment– that there really were castles and kings and queens and princes and princesses.  I was very into fairy tales at the time and loved to read them.   A family friend had given me a copy of a collection of Grimm’s fairy tales as a gift, and I read them over and over. Fairy tales had already stirred a love for princesses and all things royal, so I had already begun “pretending” to be a princess with costume jewelry and my mom’s old negligee nightgowns.  But this wedding, this wedding was REAL!  I couldn’t get over it. My love for pomp and all things British and castles and everything that goes with the medieval and renaissance period began in ernest at that moment.

A few months later, another friend of mine brought a coffee table book to school that had just been released all about Princess Diana, and it had close-up color pictures of the wedding and all of her different outfits that she had worn during the courtship and thus far in the marriage.  There were many, many hats in the pictures, and I think that is when I started really noticing hats and liking them (luckily, my mother always bought me an Easter hat, too, which I always loved wearing). And how I drooled over those wedding photos!  I really wanted to be one of those flower girls, too!

I realize now that both of these British “royal” moments helped define some of my tastes today (tea, traveling to Europe, hats, love of medieval and renaissance history, love of art history, etc…) and that these moments also help define the stories I choose to write today.

It was for all these reasons that I was so thrilled when I heard about Will and Kate’s engagement last November.  I definitely wanted to watch the wedding live and relive those childhood memories as well as share the event with my own children.  Even though I watched the wedding during the night (and my three-year-old son woke up with his cold and even watched it a bit with me live), we are having an afternoon tea with some friends after my six-year-old son gets home from school to let the kids watch some of it.  (Thank goodness for Tivo!)

As the Bishop of London said in his sermon during the royal wedding, quoting St. Catherine of Siena, whose festival day it is today,

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

I was destined to watch Prince Charles’ and Lady Diana’s wedding that day in 1981 to help me become who I was meant to be. And soon it will hopefully be time to set the world on fire with my writing!

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2 Responses to “The Royal Wedding (And Why I Woke up at 1:00 am to Watch it)”


  1. 1 Heather Tomlinson April 29, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Glad you enjoyed it! I fondly remember getting up in the dark to watch Charles & Di’s wedding, but was content to check out the photo gallery on People.com for my wedding fix this am.

  2. 2 nicolemarieschreiber April 29, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I had to have been watching a replay at my neighbor’s house, of course. I definitely remember it being daytime, but I don’t know if it was the morning or the afternoon. I think maybe afternoon. I wonder if that wedding was on a Friday or a Saturday? If Friday, then it had to have been an afternoon after school.

    So glad to hear from you! Hope all is well. 🙂


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