It’s my wedding day. A big event for me. For years I just couldn’t see myself loving and living with just one woman. For the rest of my life! And yet Anthea has been a part of my life since she was very small. How dear she is to me. Now I see my life stretching ahead with her, happy together.
Driving to the cathedral with several passers-by recognising us and waving. Some hooting. What a feeling! David, Anthea’s brother is my best man.
My father is in the car with us too. As he said, he needs to be there with me to be sure I don’t mess it up. He gave me a hug this morning when he first saw me and said “I have never been more proud of you than I am today, and so very happy for you”. I got all choked up and just hugged him back. The day I was crowned was sad, as it should have been my brother being crowned. My father had already indicated he was going to retire when Ivan and Melissa died in the aeroplane accident, so there was no time for me to get used to the idea that I and not Ivan would take over from him.
We arrive, the waiting crowd all call out greetings and good wishes. Happy omens.
At the cathedral there are ushers to guide us in, and around to a side room, to be private for a while.
David walks into the cathedral body and returns. He reports that he has never seen so many royals and politicians in one place before.
The last few days have been rather a whirl of events. Teas, lunches, cocktail parties, dinners. I was worried my suit pants may not do up after all the food and drinks. However Anthea, David and I have been exercising at the gym in the early mornings and I feel much better for it. Anthea has been very reserved over eating too much this week, she keeps joking that she’ll outgrow her dress before she gets into it today. She never seems to put on or lose weight, and never usually frets about it. I suppose a woman does worry about looking good on her wedding day.
I remember her first wedding. The whole family had gone to it, or so it seemed. In Monte Carlo, a hideously expensive place to stay, but some of it is beautiful. Anthea was like a beautiful doll, smiling and laughing all the time. I thought she was rather hyped up and not like the teenager I’d always known. My brother and sister were still alive and my sister was one of her bridesmaids. There was a whole gaggle of them, all pretty and looking most “seducable”. And yes – I tried and succeeded with one of them. In fact we saw each other for some time after that, until she decided a young banker was boring and she wanted someone more famous.
This week Anthea has been smiling a lot, but she is calm, she laughs at jokes but it’s a happy laugh, not the frenetic kind I remember from her first wedding. She is more beautiful now that she was then.
Last night was dinner for just the family. 34 of us, counting all the first, second and third cousins, husbands and wives. As one of them said, “just wait till we all start having children, we’ll need the whole palace for a family dinner”. We all laughed and Anthea winked at me, then she put her hand on my leg, leaned over and whispered “we’d better not wait too long I’d love our children to have the big family contact we all had”.
One couple are not there, as they have just had their second child. Two of the others are visibly pregnant. I’d never really given children much thought until now. I seem to remember hearing a few of the others have started families. Suddenly having another generation makes so much sense. But I’d also love to have Anthea to myself for a while first. Is that selfish?
Time to go and wait inside the church. People greeting me as I walk down the aisle, my father on one side of me and David on the other. I find all the good wishes almost too much to bear. My face aches from smiling.
There in the diplomats section is Philip’s ambassador. He looks straight at me and smiles. He is too far away for any words.
I am distracted by people closer to me and slowly make my way down to wait at the front for Anthea.
Where is she? I sneak a look at my watch. 4 minutes to go. I look at the security head, he looks at me, talks quietly into a handset. His face changes, and he comes toward me.
My heart stops.