Hats On to Royal Weddings

by Kellyann Zuzulo

I'll be wearing a hat to the royal wedding.  Yes, that royal wedding.  The one that will take place on April 29th at Westminster Abbey and officiated by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Yes, the nuptials between Prince William, second in line to the British throne (after his much ((and somewhat justly)) maligned father, the Prince of Wales) and the lovely and parchment-paper thin Kate Middleton. 

I'll be wearing a hat to the royal wedding.  I'll go hat shopping next week.  Fascinator or jaunty wide-brimmed hat, perhaps with a rather large ostrich feather swooping along the crown?  Either way, I shall be elegantly coiffed.  However, I can't vouch for what goes on below my neck.  I'll probably still be in my pajamas as I sit with straight back and legs crossed at the ankle to view this pop culture event of the year in front of my television.  You didn't think I got invited, did you?

It doesn't matter that I'm not invited. I shall be as emotionally involved a virtual guest as any Duchess in a stiff-skirted, raw silk suit -- in royal blue, no less -- who will keep her chin up and smile tightly as the luminous bride paces gracefully up the aisle of the Church of Kings, the same aisle that Kate's future grandmother-in-law solmenly strode when she was crowned Queen Elizabeth in 1953.

Why the fascination? (We know why the fascinator ... it's a feathery, flowery clip or pin that festoons your head.)  No matter where you stand on the existence of an ancient monarchy in our globally accessible community that stands on and for democracy, royalty captivates us.  The basis of this hoopla basically is a bloodline.  This guy begat that guy or gal and put him -- along with sometimes unfortunate facial features -- on the throne and so on and so on.  Not a good reason for a leader.  But the British Royal Family aren't really leaders anymore.  What they are is a cultural touchstone.  A family on display, albeit with an amazing jewelry line.  They struggle, splurge, misbehave, make pronouncements and alliances, suffer and soldier on.  Because they're expected to.   I'd go so far as to say the Royals were the first reality show, one that goes even farther back than jolly, ribald and deadly Henry VIII.

I had just turned 16 when Diana Spencer, a timid voluptuous lass of 20, wed her prince.  I sat on the floor in my pj's, doe-eyed and enchanted.  A real fairy-tale wedding.  I wept tears of adolescent dreamy bliss.  And life marched forward.  She bore two sons.  Her marriage dissolved.  She went out into the world and tried to help people.  When written like that, it could have been the life of any woman, anywhere -- though not one lived so visibly...or so accessorized.  Meanwhile, I experienced my own life with all of its attendant joys and tragedies.  And when Diana died on August 31, 1997 -- just one month shy of my own wedding -- I wept again.  Why?  Because I felt like I was a part of her story.  I'd been there on her wedding day after all.

Prince William and Kate Middleton will wed on April 29th, exactly three months short of the 30th anniversary of his parents' marriage.  It's time for another celebration.  In our family, we know the turns life can take in the blink of an eye, so we put on party hats and drink punch whenever the opportunity presents itself.  My sisters and I will cut the crusts off cucumber sandwiches, serve jam with our toast points and get a dozen Dunkin' donuts.  We'll get out of bed early and put on our fancy hats.  We'll raise our ceramic coffee mugs and toast to life and to happiness and a smooth road for a young couple just starting out, much as we did for my younger brother Derek and his beautiful (Kate Middleton lookalike, by the way) bride Bridget just one month ago. It doesn't matter what kind of dress Kate wears (though I'd go with a slender A-line with a flaring skirt if I were her).  Doesn't matter, really.  She'll look lovely in whatever she wears.  And the day will be memorable.

Will you be at the wedding? More importantly, will you be wearing a hat?
Best Wishes,
Kellyann Zuzulo
Spells, Slots & Sirens: Stories of the Arcana Royale
coming in June from Sapphire Blue Publishing


  1. Wonderful blog Kellyann, I am writing about the Royal Wedding today too,but in a completely different context. I'll have to drop by and share a link when it is up.

    I remember rising early in 1981 to watch Prince Charles wed Lady Diana. I remember standing in London when Prince William was born. I remember waking to the news of Princess Diana's death. So while I will not be wearing a hat, I will definitely be raising a glass.

  2. Yes, they're good to watch. Some of us more aged folk can remember not only Charles and Diana but Anne and Mark, and Princess Margaret and Tony Armstrong Jones.
    I watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, but not her wedding - doubt if it was televised. We didn't have a tv even for the coronation, had to watch it next door. No tv - Unthinkable these days!
    Jen Black

  3. Thanks, Heather. I would love to read anything about the Royal Wedding, so link me up. This run-up to the wedding is a bridal shower of sorts, except it's a media shower of perspectives and insights.
    Jen, the Royals are like our virtual celebrity neighbors. Even before television, people just couldn't get enough....well except for those who had their heads royally chopped off. ;)

  4. LOL -- I have a great fancy frilly hat that I bought at Marks & Spencers that also crushes flat for travel. So if I do get that last minute invitation, I'm all set. Although it's black... Hmmm.

  5. Fancy, frilly sounds divine. Black is back, CM! And hats are the new black, so with a black hat, you'll get a front-row seat. Don't forget your stiff upper lip!

  6. I will throw rice at the television but cooked rice because uncooked rice is bad for the birds, or so I hear.

  7. I watched Charles and Diana's wedding, too. Much was made that Charles was marrying someone not quite a princess. Of course, she was the daughter of an earl. Now, much is being made of the fact that Kate is a "commoner." Of course, she's a commoner who can drink in clubs that charge 20 pounds a drink. I'll show up for the guest list. I want to see the likes of Paul McCartney, David Beckham, and Elton John arrive.

  8. Great blog, Kelly Ann. Royal weddings are something special. I too recall Diana and Charles. I'm looking forward to William and Kate.

  9. I have always been in love with the Royal Family. I read any and all info I can get on them. My daughter asked me a question the other day that when I answered it, it confused her. The question was - What invitation do you wish you could get?" My answer was - The Royal Wedding. After 40 minutes she came back and asked me what royal wedding. I all but choked on my tea...lol. All in all, I loved the blog.



  10. It's amusing how the "Royals" snip on the "commoners" when, if you go back far enough, most royals started out as kids of conquerors who had a better battle strategy. It'll be a history lesson just trying to figure out who's who -- I might make my girls take notes. ;)

    Thanks, Russ. The wedding is one of those shared cultural events that sort of galvanizes (most) people of the billion or so watching in a fuzzy, warm way.

  11. Laurie, my mom was an avowed royal watcher (despite being born in the Republic of Ireland). Coincidentally, her birthday is April 29th. Were she alive, she'd be wearing the frilliest, fanciest hat of all.

  12. Kel, fabulous blog, my darling sister-in-law! I'm just as fascinated now as I was when Diana got married! And, yes, your Bridget McDonnell does look like Kate! Hats off (I mean, ON!) for this royal wedding! xxx Lucy Miccio

  13. I've never been a "fairytale wedding" sort of girl. Haven't watched any royal nuptials. (I know - gasp!) But I can get behind a fancy hat any day. Here in KY, it's all about the derby hats every May. The bigger, the better. Wide, colorful brims with big, bright flowers are the standard. Nice blog, Kellyann!

  14. Thanks, Lucy! We'll miss you on that day - but I'll take photos to post. x

    Christle, I LOVE the tradition of the Kentucky Derby hats. I've actually never been a big hat person myself (though I wore a gray fedora through much of my sophomore year of college). Thinking I'll go with one of the feathery fascinators and preen! ;)


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