I was so relieved when I saw Anthea walking down the aisle with her parents. They smiled at people; she just looked at me, smiling. When they got level with me she stepped forward, and her parents stood with my father. I looked at her, raised one eyebrow in our old way of questioning. She leaned forward to me and said, “Happy things, my love. I’m just sorry they delayed me.”
The wedding was as we had agreed it, making the vows we had each decided was what we would promise. We don’t like the traditional vows, they are very general.
Our parents gave us to each other, although in Anthea’s case, as she is a widow that is not really traditional here.
Then the 10 minutes of legalities, and we walked out down the aisle as husband and wife. I know I couldn’t stop smiling, and every time I looked at her, she was too. When I got outside and saw the car I was surprised. When I had seen it in the palace courtyard as I was leaving it just had two white ribbons on it. Now it seemed covered with ribbons and flowers, tied on to any place that gave a hold.
My love turned to me and said, “Oops, that was why I was late, lovely people who sang to me, and tied their flowers and ribbons as wishes for us,” I laughed and then realised I had tears leaking out of my eyes. She pulled me towards her, kissed me and under the guise of touching me, wiped away the tears. She is my other half.
We waited at the top of the stairs for the photographers, private and the press, smiling and waving. Several times they demanded the kiss be repeated, and we were not loath to oblige.
Then into the car, the crowd surged and the police cordon held them, we waved again and again. Then speeding off to the highway and a few private minutes together. Time to just catch our breath and hold hands. Then towards the palace again. Anthea’s crowd was still there, singing and waving. They let us through with no more stoppages.
In to the palace, the makeup and hair people took a quick look at Anthea, but she was still looking perfect (as she always does to me) but proclaimed that I needed a ‘little fixing’. That done we went to the formal garden for a few quick photographs, and then into the formal reception room for formal portrait type pictures.
Then on to the ballroom, now set up for the wedding luncheon. Greeting all of the guests. This was still ‘formal time’, heads of state, other royals, political contacts, and thankfully family and friends.
The long luncheon, I was too excited to eat much, as was Anthea. After the luncheon and speeches, the long process of farewells, greetings, comments as people started to leave. Then at last some privacy. We went to our suite, so that she could quickly bath and change for the ‘queening ceremony’. Anthea’s clothes etc had all been moved by her maid.
Anthea came out of the bathroom in her robe, and settled into a chair. She said she was very tired already. I remembered she had hardly eaten, and I was feeling a little peckish too. So I phoned and we had coffee and a small snack sent up. We sat for half an hour, talking about the morning. I had been so worried that Philip had conjured up some harm to her. She came and held my hand, telling me nothing would ever come between us again.
Then she dressed for the ceremony. Fortunately it was held in one of the formal reception rooms in the palace. Witnesses were again political, legal, special interest groups. Her vows to work for the good of the country until we should both retire and, if necessary, take over the throne in the event of my untimely demise, took only a short time. Then she accepted the coronet we had agreed on, from a previous coronation of the country’s only reigning queen way back in the 1700’s.
Back for more photographs.
And then peace.
We had a very private night after a very public day.