Granny Rose, my father's mother, was born and brought up in Birmingham England. She saw Queen Victoria when she was a little girl (Grannie. Victoria was an old lady, I imagine) and as a child I was not allowed to play with her Queen Victoria doll, dressed in a purple velvet cape trimmed in ermine (probably dyed rabbit fur, but it was ermine to me.) My sister became keeper of the doll, so you can be sure that I never got a chance to touch that doll. My sister was born a bitch and only worsened with time.
Grannie was APPALLED when Edward VIII abdicated and headed off into the sunset with the twice divorced Mrs.Wallis Simpson, the woman he love. I don't blame her, it was appalling. I don't recall her ever mentioning King George VI, although I imagine that she would be first in line at the movies to see him depicted in "The King's Speech." King George VI married Elizabeth, know as the Queen Mum, and they had two daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. The King died in February, 1952, which is the year that I was born. With his death, daughter Elizabeth ascended to the throne and became Queen Elizabeth II.
When I was a child, I was a strict royalist and was besotted with photographs of Prince Phillip and Princess Margaret astride various horses. I could think of nothing better than to have a stable of fine steeds with stalls I would never have to much, and early morning feeding and turnouts left to the servants. I was no fool, but I was horse crazy. Being in the royal family seemed very dull until Margaret became a divorcee and the failed royal marriages begun it's downhill procession. Prince Charles, a funny looking man with huge ears born in 1948, was proclaimed a hot bachelor and I recall reading about his various "love interests" that were all a sham to hide his real affection for Camilla Parker Bowles. His younger brother Andrew was more dashing and also very single.
Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, a kindergarten teacher in 1982. The wedding was televised world-wide, and was the first royal wedding that I watched from beginning to end. I couldn't get enough of Diana. She was elegant, beautiful, and as we later learned, troubled and miserable. However, she loved her two sons, William and Harry. And this is where my personal story becomes really interesting.
The eighties and early nineties saw me traveling often and then living in England. I too was in love with an Englishman, the father of my half-British children. I was freaking hooked on being an anglophile. Every day in London was glorious, but my favorite times were the weeks I spent in Sloane Square, a particularly posh neighborhood located a hop, skip, and jump away from Westminster, Knightsbridge, Kensington, and Belgravia. Right at the top of our street, across from the Sloane Sq, tube station and the Royal Court Theater was a gourmet style grocery shoppe. A small store but filled with mouth-watering goodies imported and British, and it was a purveyor of food to the royal family. I stopped in occasionally for a nibble, and one fine fall day I went in to find Princess Diana shopping for after school treats. Being me, I was struck deaf, dumb, and blind with agonizing panic in the middle of s small aisle, and she looked up at me and said "Hello." I stumbled on repeating the greeting back and she lightly touched me left arm (it has since been washed) and said something about the treats we were both looking at. The floodgates opened and I gushed on about being a lowly American living in the neighborhood and how much I loved it, and did she really do her own shopping, to which she laughed and admitted that occasionally even Her Majesty bought an item or two in a local shop. She told me she had to pick up "the boys from school" and I also had some place to be, so we said goodbye and THAT, my friends was my brush with Royalty. I learned, as I told every human I knew about this encounter, that the "boys" school was right up the street from where I was living, and then stalked the school looking for a glimpse of them, to no avail.
After Diana's death, Prince Charles became a doting father, and when the boys were away at college and in the army he married his firso love, Camilla.
A couple of years later I went to watch the Queen's procession to open Parliament and saw the entire procession head down the Mall. When the Queen's gilt carriage passed by, she waved right at me. I have a photo and everything, but it is packed in a box in Gemma's room.
So, with two half-British kids, a brush with Royalty, the history of my family, and my love of anything British makes me the perfect royal wedding fan!
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