Wedding watch parties and childhood trauma

When I was about five, I was a huge monarchist.  HUGE.  I had an album called "Rule Britannia" with "all the songs that make Britain great", played by the BBC radio marching band, or suchlike.  I loved the Queen.  Especially 1950s images of her in her coronation robes.  One vivid memory of this period is from a trip from Brisbane to Adelaide at Christmas time - a trip we took every year to visit our grandparents who lived in Adelaide. Two days in our brown Renault station wagon with no air-conditioning,  right through the heart of Eastern Australia.  This particular year we had stopped towards the end of the trip at an antique store in Broken Hill.  All of us hot and sweaty after hours of crossing the desert.  The antique store was dark and musty, and I probably almost wet myself when I saw the framed portrait of the Queen in coronation robes hanging amongst the other artwork.  I got it in my naive, princess crowns-n-robes loving heart that I NEEDED the portrait.  I couldn't live without it.  My parents, who have always been radicals who need neither Church nor Queen, were horrified at my latest monarchist outpouring.  I wheedled: they denied; I pleaded: they ignored.  To cut a sad story short, my dad ended up picking me up, tucking me under his arm and carrying me out of the store, crying and screaming blue murder. I ask you, was it necessary?  Shouldn't they have just shelled out the ten bucks for the portrait and made a little girl happy?  And saved themselves the tantrum?  I know I wouldn't have.  But even today I cry a little inside over that lost portrait.
As life in Australia went on, and I went to Uni, I lost my monarchist leanings, and cultivated a healthy cynicism and disdain for the royal family and all it stood for.  News in Australia, as far as I can remember, was mostly either local Aussie news or information about the royals.  Fergie's toe sucking antics.  Diana's 100 metre train.  I remember being scolded soundly by my teacher in primary school because I had to write an essay about Diana's wedding dress and I hadn't put in enough effort.  Not enough detail about frills and pearls and flounces.  When the Republic vote came up I made sure I was naturalized and had my Australian citizenship all in order (I had only been a permanent resident before) - so that I could make my vote count.  We didn't need the royals, and they were obviously too involved in their own trashy affairs to need us.
Funnily enough after 10 years in Eastern Europe I have softened somewhat.  Probably because absence makes the heart go fonder - living here, you rarely hear anything about the British Royal family.  I haven't been ear-bashed about the Queen or Harry or Wills for a good, long time.  If you want to know any of the gossip you have to go looking for it online - because at the end of the day, no one in Latvia gives a flying fruitbat about Liz, or Kate, or Fergie, or Diana, or Camilla, or Charlie.   So when Jem (who works for a British government concern in LV) got an official British embassy invite to the embassy "wedding watch party" at the local Radisson hotel, I was excited.  I might have even squealed a little bit.
Today we managed to fight off our horrible post-Easter colds, put the kids in after-school care, got all dolled up and went to the wedding bash.  Of course there were oodles of people there, lots of free champagne, big screens with wedding scenes, door prizes, a pitiable amount of canapes, and a five-tier wedding cake.  Good thing we found two other acquaintances, Aussie closet-republicans, with whom to share the afternoon.  An ex-royalist couldn't ask for more!

All dressed up and somewhere to go.  That's our new kitchen behind us.  And Mikus' birthday celebration decorations on the left. (PS,  both of our outfits are op-shop specials, they come in under 20 lats ($40), but shhh, don't tell)

2 Responses so far.

  1. Goodness, to think I've known you all this time and had no idea about your monarchist leanings. I too love those portraits of Elizabeth- was there one in the little hall you guys were married in? You both look gorgeous all glammed up for the party. Melx

  2. Fifee says:

    Always beware of a closet royalist - off with her head I say !!

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