On our wedding day in May 2011, the vicar couldn’t resist mentioning the Royal Wedding that had taken place just a month earlier. He emphasised that our wedding was “just as important, and just as special” as Wills and Kate’s nuptials. At the time I wasn’t sure what to think but it didn’t feel right. Why was another wedding being referred to on our wedding day? My Dad picked up on this in his speech later and while thanking the vicar for his words, he said there was just one thing he’d got wrong… in fact, our wedding was “much better” than the Royal do! Day saved.
We’d got engaged a few months before the Windsors, but needless to say the comparisons started as soon as the date was set and people realised we were on a similar trajectory. I have numerous American relatives and family friends, who were thrilled to visit the UK for their very own version of Royal Wedding. It helped that we went for a traditional vibe, and that our reception was held at a classic English stately home… There is even a really cute moment in our wedding video where my sister is attempting to pick up my train, Pippa Middleton style. Unfortunately her superior height and the shorter length of my train makes for a comedy moment, almost a parody of what had happened a month earlier (I was unaware of this at the time, desperately trying not to trip over as it was).
Having got our weddings out of the way, it was almost inevitable that as the world waited for Kate to fall pregnant, we attempted to beat them to it for a change. How typical that as we patiently set the date for our 12-week scan and planned to tell everyone over Christmas, her pregnancy had to be announced early (I do have a lot of sympathy for Kate and William… but it was still annoying!) The handful of friends to whom we’d already let slip all got in touch in quick succession saying versions of “ha ha, you and Kate are pregnant at the same time”. Yes, thank you, I’m fully aware my thunder is being stolen!
Really, New Look?
To be fair to the majority of people we told at later points, hardly anyone mentioned The Royal One – I guess it was old news by then. I found to my own irritation that it was me that tended to bring it up first; I couldn’t help myself – it was compulsive. For example, when telling my hairdresser about how funny it is knowing a few people (such as Elly) who are due around the same time as me, “and then there’s the Duchess of course”, she immediately stopped what she was doing and gasped, “you know Kate?!” Oh dear.
We recently received a sweet letter from American family friends, who wrote (and I quote word for word): “We… can’t help but smile that for us, your wedding was the Royal Wedding, and now you and the Royal Couple are expecting.” That typifies the American reaction! My parents are out there at the moment and my Mum tells me that several times, she has been approached by people they know congratulating them on “their” baby. The first time it happened, she took it to mean they thought SHE was pregnant! Now, my Mum looks good for her age, but surely post-menopausal… she then assumed they had heard through the grapevine about their approaching grandparenthood and accepted the congratulations with all the pride you’d expect.
Only to be met with a baffled look. No, they didn’t mean me. They meant The Royal Baby.
The existence of Royal Baby-related maternity clothes such as the t-shirt pictured suggests to me that maybe some pregnant women are keen to embrace the fact they and Kate are simultaneously expecting. Personally, despite bringing it on myself to some extent, I don’t find it helpful to be compared to the Duchess. Right now I’m becoming increasingly whale-like and she is still a tiny slip of a thing!