|AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER…
by SABA SHAIKH
Watching the Royal wedding on our telly screens was like leafing through the pages of an enchanting fairy tale. The long standing fairy tale romance of Prince William and Kate Middleton culminated in the shape of their delightful wedlock at Westminster Abbey on 29th April, 2011. Vivid images of Cinderella being transformed into a beautiful Princess waltzing down the aisle inadvertently pops up in my mind as I view the humble commoner Kate being elevated to the status of Royalty. It must have been a magical moment for the young Princess, as she exchanged marriage vows with the love of her life, Prince William, with the whole world relishing the grand wedding. Waving to a huge cheering crowd of Brits while being escorted to the Buckingham Palace on her Royal Carriage, with her Royal husband by her side, the blushing bride seemed to be over the moon. Kate was looking resplendent in her fancy intricately laced wedding gown with an elaborate trail and her rosy pink countenance glowed even more when she smiled ecstatically at the never-ending crowd of onlookers and well-wishers. Kate emanated the airs of a poised Princess right from the moment she sauntered elegantly in her ravishing gown, the handsome Prince clad in his uniform as he stood by her side. Her make-up skills deserved praise as it requires oodles of courage to do one's own make-over with so much perfection amidst all the pressures of the Royal wedding.
Alas! The much awaited Royal wedding finally turned into a reality and what a beautiful day it was, full of happiness, fun, merriment, excitement and boundless joy.
The Wedding Celebrations At The British High Commission:
We have all been fascinated by Royalty and nothing amuses and intrigues us more than Royal weddings. We have all grown up reading fairy tales of Princes and Princesses, of Royal Carriages and magnificent palaces. The matrimony of William and Kate transports us to our childhood world of mesmerising fantasies and fairy tales. Even now, as adults facing the harsh realities of this not-so fairy-tale world, our imagination still keeps drifting off to fantasy land where our dreams transcend to the land of Kings and Queens.
I was enthralled to receive an invitation from the British High Commission to attend the Royal wedding celebrations held in Karachi and I waited for the day with excited anticipation. Around 1600 invitees gathered at the British High Commission to enthusiastically participate in the wedding celebrations on the eve of Prince William's wedding with Catherine. "I wish I could be attending the real wedding celebrations in Westminster tomorrow" quipped a young lady. After manoeuvring past the intense security, we had to wait in a long queue on the royal red carpet before we could actually be greeted inside. "It seems as if hordes of visitors have collected to catch a glimpse of the Royal couple", I commented. Amongst the dignitaries invited, there were designers, artists, politicians, businessmen, and media celebrities. The evening kicked off on a romantic note with low lying fairy lights and soft music playing in the background. The festive ambience was enhanced with the florally framed engagement poster of William and Kate hanging in the centre of the lawn with a four-tier marble cake in front. The White Fantasy sparkled like a gem and the miniature bride and groom holding hands atop the cake made it all the more tempting. As was expected, the menu was exquisite, and the idea of naming the dishes after the Royal family was simply superb. The Royal menu comprised of specialities like Prince Harry's beef pie with vegetables and mushrooms, Prince Charles Salmon cakes, Miss Catherine's Fish and Chips, Prince William's favourite lamb chops with rosemary and mint, and Royal Rice Pilaf. There was an assortment of mouth-watering delicacies and desserts such as tarts, pastries and chocolate mousse. The elaborate menu and the lavishly decorated garden made us feel like royalty and even if the actual wedding was to take place miles away, we still got a glimpse of the grandeur and splendour at Royal weddings.
Two Royal Weddings – Then And Now
As Kate Middleton rises to the status of Princess, with her Royal marriage to Prince William, she should be ready for all kinds of inevitable comparisions between herself and Lady Diana. It was almost 30 years ago that Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer said, "I do". Now, as their son Prince William says those same words, we take a look at the similarities and the notable differences between these two momentous weddings…
The Big Day
Then: Charles and Diana married at St Paul's Cathedral on 29 July 1981, followed by a reception for 120 at Buckingham Palace. Their 5ft-tall tiered cake was baked by David Avery. There were 3,500 invited guests and an estimated 750 million people watched the wedding worldwide.
Now: William and Kate married at Westminster Abbey right on 29 April, followed by a wedding breakfast for 600 at Buckingham Palace, and, later, an evening reception for 300. They had two cakes: a traditional, tiered fruit number, created by Fiona Cairns, and a McVitie's chocolate biscuit cake. There were 1,900 invited guests and up to two billion people around the world watched the events on TV or the Internet.
Then: Lady Diana Spencer, 20, wore a silk taffeta and lace gown by David and Elizabeth Emanuel which had a 25ft train. She had two pageboys and five bridesmaids. Her 18-carat sapphire and diamond engagement ring by jeweller Garrard cost an estimated £8,000. Her make-up was applied by Barbara Daly.
Now: Miss Catherine Middleton, 29, gracefully walked down the aisle in a wedding gown by British designer Sarah Burton, who is creative director of the Alexander McQueen label. She had four bridesmaids and two pageboys. Prince William presented Kate with his late mother's engagement ring when he proposed. The gutsy and beautiful bride applied her own make-up on her big day.
Then: Charles and Diana had only been seeing each other for around six months when the Prince proposed during an intimate dinner for two at Buckingham Palace. The couple had known each other since childhood through Diana's family's royal connections (her brother Charles is the Queen's godson), but only became romantically involved after meeting again at Balmoral in July 1980.
Now: Kate and William met in their first year of studying history of art at St Andrews. They later shared a house with fellow students. Aside from a brief break in 2007, they were together for eight years before getting engaged. The Prince proposed in a wilderness lodge on holiday in Kenya.
Then: Diana's wedding dress set her on the road to style icon status. She favoured British-based designers such as Bruce Oldfield, Amanda Wakeley and Catherine Walker. In later years she also wore couture from European labels including Versace, Christian Lacroix and Chanel.
Now: Kate mixes high street and designer, often teamed with her favourite LK Bennett knee-high boots. She likes designs by Diane Furstenberg, Burberry and Alice Temperley, as well as high-street stores including Whistles and Jigsaw. But her best-known outfits, including her blue engagement dress and pink gown worn to Boodles Boxing Ball are by Issa.
Then: Diana was the daughter of the 8th Earl Spencer, a former aide to the Queen, and spent much of her childhood at the family seat of Althorp, a stately home near Northampton. Her parents divorced and remarried other partners. She had two sisters, Jane and Sarah, and a brother, Charles. She was educated at West Heath Girls School in Kent before attending finishing school in Switzerland.
Now: Kate was born in Reading, Berkshire, the daughter of Michael and Carole Middleton who made their fortune with mail order company Party Pieces. She has a sister, Pippa, and a brother, James, and the family live in a five-bedroom house in the Berkshire village of Bucklebury. She attended Downe House School in Newbury and later Marlborough College before beginning her studies at the University of St Andrews in 2001.