Did you watch the royal wedding this spring? Many of us watched the celebration or read about the festivities.
Girlfriend Caroline Cheshire tells us about the fabulous adventure she and her friends had traveling to London for the Wedding of the Century!
On the 16th of November 2010, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to email my wonderful book club with six simple words “Want to go to a wedding?” I didn’t know what to expect, but four replies came back with “YES!” There were four other women who (like me) wanted to see Katherine and William get hitched in London the following Spring.
I love my book club because it is such a varied group of friends. Friends who have different aged children than my own. An interesting group of women – from full time moms, to teachers, to consultants, to nurses, to accountants. Women who I really look forward to seeing once a month.
Planning the Adventure
We jumped on booking flights and theater tickets and then sat back for a few months to peruse the various web sites and discuss how we would like to spend our five days in London. We split up the work. Someone researched the best open top bus tour. Someone booked tickets on the London Eye. Someone would be responsible for money. I pulled the itinerary and maps together and distributed it in Union Jack folders. As the excitement grew, others in the book club began to show interest but by now we were happy with the number going. We could all fit in one taxi. We could all stay at my brother’s home for two nights. If it got bigger, we’d have to change our plans…We stopped talking about it and tried to conceal our excitement.
Time rolled by and before we knew it April was upon us! I was already in the UK so was able to meet the girls at Heathrow in a rental car. They rolled off the plane full of free champagne from their new best friends the AA crew, and into my waiting car. We went straight to my brother’s for a good night’s sleep.
By 9am the next morning we were on the train to London. The pre-planning really paid off. We knew exactly where we were going and why. Straight to our hotel followed by a walk across Hyde Park and into the incredible scene that awaited us by Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. That night we saw Billy Elliot and walked back to Buckingham Palace where the atmosphere was incredible. The Mall (the road that leads straight to Buckingham Palace) was full of tents. The wedding was to take place at 11am the next day so people were settling in for the night. London was electric with excitement, and with street vendors banned, and a lot of very friendly policemen, we felt safe and secure. Everyone was there to watch history being made. We rolled back to our beds at 2am, doubting we would make the 5am call to go back. A few conceded to tiredness and agreed to meet for breakfast and watch the service in Hyde Park on the big screens.
The Royal Wedding
I set my alarm just to see how I felt at 4:30am – and I felt GREAT! I went to the other room and knocked on the door. Who wanted to go back? Two women jumped out of bed, grabbed their purses and we stepped into a taxi outside the front door. At 5am we stood in front of Buckingham Palace positioned in between tents. We were told the tents would go down at 6am and when they did – we simply stepped forward right in front of the Palace. We settled in for a long wait, and chatted with people from all over the world. We watched 150 perfect horsemen in gold breastplates trot by. We listened to marching bands. We soaked up the ambiance of a love story. Of seeing the beloved son of Lady Di marry a girl who we truly believe he loves. The speakers crackled into action and we heard the choir practicing at Westminster Abbey. Various royal relatives were leaving Buckingham Palace. And then in a burst of yellow the Queen drove right past us on her way to the Abbey.
(See if you can find Caroline and her girlfriends in the crowd. Yes, we are here!)
We listened to the service live. We cheered at the ‘I Do’s and we waited for their return as a married couple. As we watched the carriage pull into the gates, we started to make our way out of the area to avoid the big rush for “the Kiss.” As we rounded a corner we bumped into our local tv station who interviewed us. We texted our husbands to warn them, and slowly made our way to a hotel for a celebratory lunch. We made the news 4 times that night! We looked tired and disheveled but excited and happy.
The next few days were equally wonderful. Walks along the Thames. A little shopping. Tea in Harrods (we loved the Harrods window full of famous designers’ wedding cakes). A pub or two. We enjoyed pure, wonderful, uninterrupted girlfriend time in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
We still can’t believe we did it. We still can’t believe it was such a success. We will treasure these memories forever.
Caroline Cheshire is the founder of www.healingbaskets.com an internet gift site where friends can support each other during difficult times such as loss, cancer, get well, divorce and caregiving. She started a company that would answer three difficult questions for challenging times – How can I help? What should I say or write? What gift is appropriate to send? Later this year she will launch www.happinessbaskets.com to celebrate the happy times too.
Love how girlfriends make great traveling companions and great memories together!