Royal wedding

I’d never seen a princess wear statement socks – until Anne

Not since the befuddled twilight of George III has a monarch been confined to Windsor Castle for such a duration. Unlike her great-great-great-great grandfather, however, the Queen has been in full command of everything. Now Balmoral beckons. Last year’s Deeside retreat was interrupted by the great prorogation crisis (how swiftly that episode has been relegated from constitutional apocalypse to half-remembered footnote). Since then, the implosion of the Duke of York, the flight of the Sussexes and Covid have made for a bleak royal winter and spring. The prospect of the Highlands should have the Queen’s spirits soaring. Except the Union has never been in graver danger, as James Forsyth spelled

Did Harry and Meghan’s wedding really raise £1bn in revenue?

Without going into the ins and outs of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s withdrawal from royal life, still less the merits of the Duchess’s privacy case against the Mail on Sunday, a claim made by her lawyers this morning cannot be allowed to pass without comment. They claim: ‘This contribution of public funds towards crowd security was far outweighed by the tourism revenue of over £1 billion that was generated from the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex which went directly into the public purse.’ Should we really be thankful to the Duke of Duchess of Sussex for stuffing the UK’s coffers as a result of

Princess Eugenie’s wedding was unexpectedly heartwarming

In the final volume of his collected letters, Patrick Leigh Fermor recalls watching the wedding of Princess Anne in 1973 in Diana Cooper’s bedroom because she had a colour telly. “She was in an enormous bed, so we all lay on it side by side drinking champagne, watching the procession and the service. It was all very obsolete and indescribably moving; it is one of the few things – pageantry – that the English are better at than anyone (the only thing, it seems, at this moment!) A lovely morning.” Well, he could have done and said just the same today watching the wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank,

Diary – 24 May 2018

Monday morning. Sitting in Ed the physio’s waiting room. He is theatreland’s go-to man for fractured bones and torn muscles — essentially, an MOT garage for weary actors. A herd of cast members from The Lion King hobble in; the expression ‘suffering for your art’ comes to mind. I hurt my knee playing on all fours, but as a dog rather than a big cat. Since training at Laban, I had always wanted to do absurdist theatre, and when a role in Auden and Isherwood’s The Dog Beneath the Skin came up, I thought my prayers had been answered. But what a challenge! On stage for two hours every night,

The genius of constitutional monarchy

George Orwell famously wrote that an English intellectual would rather be caught stealing from the poorbox than be seen standing to attention for God Save the King. Such intellectuals must have had a terrible time last weekend when much of the nation’s gaze was fixed on the wedding of two young people who are part of an institution we think of as quintessentially British. The newlyweds have shown early commitment to those qualities we celebrate as particularly British: duty, charity and the service of others. Whether it is the two tours in Afghanistan served by Prince Harry, or the charity work that the couple has embraced, the hallmarks of the

The royal wedding exposed the media’s tokenism

I was lucky (or unlucky, depending on your sensibilities) to be in a prime spot for Saturday’s royal wedding. Wearing my BBC producer hat, I worked on the huge outside broadcast on the Long Walk in Windsor. Thursday and Friday was all bunting, dogs sporting union jack collars and the Household Cavalry rehearsing. I interviewed people who’d come to camp out, weaving my way through the increasingly packed streets, observing, gathering material and soaking up the atmosphere. It seemed very much like any other big ceremonial occasion. But on Saturday, something changed. Colour. People of colour to be precise, at first just one or two, but as the clock ticked

A model for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

With the newspapers still full of Royal Wedding pictures, I thought I’d draw CoffeeHousers’ attention to something remarkable: a visit by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (pictured, left, at Westminster Abbey last Friday) to Helmand Province. That’s right, the 71-year old Danish monarch visited the her country’s troops in late March this year, accompanied by the defence minister. Crown Prince Fredrik persuaded her mother to visit the troops after his own previous trip to the region. In this YouTube clip recorded in Helmand, Queen Margrethe talks to the camera (sorry, it is in Danish) about her experiences in the war-torn province. She pays tribute to the two British soldiers who

Street party … in Tirana

Wedding-themed street parties are underway not only in Britain, but wherever Brits are living. I’m in Tirana in Albania where the British Embassy is hosting a street party at the Ambassador’s Residence. Union Jacks deck the tables, flowers are everywhere and the raffle table, with wedding-themed presents, is overflowing (profits will go to the Sue Ryder charity). Large TV screens are beaming that kiss to expats, diplomats and locals. Speaking to a range of people last night, it became apparent what an asset the royal family is. Everyone in Tirana was talking about the wedding. People were saying they intended watch the ceremony and even visit Britain. I’m a non-practising

A day when politics is not the story

This, it has to be said, is not much of a day for politics. Although the world’s laser-like attention will be focussed on Westminster, it will not be on the operations of our Parliament or its actors, but on Westminster Abbey and the marriage, of course, of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The cameras might pass for a moment over David Cameron, or Ed Miliband, or Nick Clegg. But even their best morning suits will not compete, you fancy, with the collected fascinators and finery on display — let alone with the wedding dress itself. We shall be marking proceedings on Coffee House with video, with archive posts and with

The Royal Wedding: across the web

Here is a selection of articles on the Royal Wedding from around the web. For those, like me, who wouldn’t know an Empire Line if it slapped them in the face, Vogue’s fashion live blog has all the details and photographs of what broadcasters have called a “festival of British fashion.” Sam Cam was wearing a dress from Burberry, Princess Beatrice was bedecked in Vivienne Westwood and, the main event, Kate Middleton’s dress was made by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. The Telegraph’s outgoing Fashion Editor, Hillary Alexander has more details here. It’s been quite a sales demonstration for Britain’s leading designers. Export led recovery here we come! As Vanity

From the archives: the marriage of Charles and Diana

It is just under thirty years since Prince William’s parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, were themselves married in St Paul’s Cathedral. Below are two Spectator articles relating to that wedding. The first is the Spectator editorial from the time, the second an essay by Auberon Waugh on the lessons to be drawn from the occasion. Now that Kate Middleton has become Princess Catherine, you may also want to click here for an article entitled “What Kate should know,” by Diana’s former private secretary, Patrick Jephson, for The Spectator in 1996. Anyway, back to 1981… The symbol of unity, The Spectator, 1 August 1981 The marriage of the

The Royal Wedding around the world

So we’ve seen the ceremony at Westminster Abbey. How was the Royal Wedding celebrated – by expats and locals alike – around the world? In Afghanistan, British troops celebrated with bunting on the front line. In Australia, foods associated with the ‘Mother Country’ flew off supermarket shelves, with the biggest sellers being Maynards wine gums and Colman’s classic mint sauce. Even Aussie republicans appear to have been inspired to hold parties and wear tiaras. In China, a couple recently had a knock-off Royal Wedding, complete with horse-drawn carriage and archway of swords. And cashing in perhaps on the wedding fervour, McDonald’s in Hong Kong started offering wedding party packages. India

Fraser Nelson

A princely marriage

There are some things that Britain does better than any country in the world, and we saw one of them today. Two particulars will have jumped out at the tens of millions watching the Royal Wedding from overseas: the sheer splendour of our monarchy, and the depth of its popular support. HD television made the beauty of today’s ceremony all the more breathtaking. If this were a movie, it would win an Oscar for best cinematography. The shots from the roof of Westminster Abbey were jaw-dropping, the camera angles throughout were perfect. But no less awesome was the sight of the thousands thronging the streets, or watching in Hyde Park.

The Royal Wedding (extended expat version)

Last month, dressed as a town crier, the head of the British Club in Singapore, Sean Boyle, visited the offices of every major newspaper in the country. Accompanied by an entourage also in fancy dress, he declaimed that the British Club would be celebrating the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton in a festival that would last 10 days. The reception to his announcement was warm. An editor of the Tamil Murasu, the newspaper that serves Singapore’s ethnic Indian population, left the newsroom to return dressed in traditional Indian costume, to pose for photos with Boyle (see above). The team at the Berita Harian, the Malay-language daily, gave the

The Royal Wedding by numbers

I know, I know, it’s deeply unromantic to anticipate tomorrow’s Royal Wedding through the prism of opinion polling. But as no one ever said that a political blog has to be romantic — and as there are some quite noteworthy findings among all the data — we thought we’d put together a quick round-up for CoffeeHousers. So here goes: 1) The guest list. There has, I’m sure you’ve noticed, been quite some hubbub over the fact the Gordon Brown and Tony Blair haven’t been invited to the wedding — especially in view of the Syrian ambassador’s invitation, since withdrawn. But some new polling from YouGov — highlighted by PoliticsHome —