Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Napans celebrate British royal wedding

I've been blogging about the royal wedding for a while now but today I got paid to write about it. Yeah!

Napa Valley Register
Tuesday, April 26, 2011


A group of Napans have gone mad — royally mad, that is.

The British royal wedding may be 5,000 miles and eight time zones away, but that won’t stop a number of locals from celebrating the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton during the wee hours Friday morning.

Celeste Cave of Napa will not only watch the wedding live, she’s also throwing a royal wedding–themed scrapbook party. Cave said she feels a connection with the late Princess Diana.

“I got engaged in 1981, about a month before Diana,” and the two couples were married 11 days apart, Cave said. “She was a year older than me,” Cave noted. “I was marrying a man 13 years older, so was she. She was a princess, I wanted to be one. We had our children a year apart,” Cave said.

“I pretty much got obsessed,” with the royal family, she said. “I have magazines, dolls and books. I just always followed her.”

Come early Friday morning, Cave said she’ll be watching the event live on TV. On Friday night, she’ll dish up traditional English tea food like scones and tea sandwiches, “and of course, a wedding cake,” she said.

Cave isn’t the only Napan to get royal wedding fever.

“I have been in the countdown phase since the announcement of the royal engagement and the wedding date,” Jeanne Doty of Napa said.

Doty said she’s taking Friday off from work to be able to fully immerse herself in the royal wedding experience. She’s even purchased a Kate Middleton faux sapphire ring to wear Friday, along with a royal blue outfit and tiara.

“I cannot seem to get enough of William and Kate,” she said. “In the U.K., they live this every day; the castles, the royals, where here we can only surmise what that must be like. I think every young gal wishes she could be a princess,” Doty said.

Kathyrn Fletcher’s royal interest started with a dog. But not just any dog. A corgi, which happens to be the favorite breed of Queen Elizabeth herself. Fletcher’s corgi is named Trudy. Inspired by her pet, Fletcher once dressed up as the queen in a blue suit, wig and handbag, for the St. Helena pet parade. She took fourth place.

Channeling the queen came naturally, Fletcher said. She’ll don parts of the outfit again when she attends the Cameo Cinema showing of the royal wedding on Friday morning.

What does her family think of her plans? “My mother thinks I’m nuts,” Fletcher said. “She doesn’t know it yet, but we're having a slumber party at her house” that night.

“It’s history in the making,” Fletcher said. “The clothes, the pageantry — we just don’t have anything like that in the U.S.”

Napan Karen Proteau is hosting a “Tea and Crumpet” party starting at 1 a.m. Friday morning.

“I am a huge fan of anything royal,” Proteau said. “My mom, sister and I got up at 2 a.m. to watch Princess Di get married.” She’s also taking Friday off work for the wedding. So as not to miss a single bit of news, Proteau downloaded a royal wedding application for her iPhone, she said.

“It’s every little girl’s dream to be a princess. They are such a cute couple. It’s just so cool,” Proteau said. And what about the rest of her family? “They’ll all be sleeping,” she said.

“I was born in England so it seemed appropriate for me to host a royal party,” said Desley Rock of Napa. Rock plans to record the wedding and view it at a party Friday night where she will serve traditional “Olde English cuisine,” including like “egg and cress sandwiches, cucumber and salmon sandwiches, sausage, cheese and pickled onions on sticks, shepherd's pie, sherry trifle,” and Eton Mess, a dessert created at Eton College, the school Prince William attended. Tiaras and posh frocks are optional, she noted.

Why do the British royals fascinate some Americans?

“It’s something Britain has that is unique,” Rock said. “It’s pageantry carried on through history. It’s special.”

And with the death of Princess Diana, “I think everyone has a soft spot for William and Harry,” she said.

Terry Bremer Allison is married to John Allison, a retired British Army officer, who also happens to be the president of the St. Andrew’s Society of San Francisco. That means the Allisons are invited to a real royal wedding party hosted by the British Consul General at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.

“I’m quite excited about this,” Allison said. “I remember being a teenager and watching Princess Anne and thinking, 'Wouldn’t it be nice to ride horses and wear a tiara?',” she said.

“It’s very romantic. I think part of it is the princess syndrome. The fairy-tale aspect.”

She may not have a tiara, but Bremer Allison said her husband ordered her a William and Kate commemorative wedding mug.

“It should be here any day,” she said.

Tomorrow in PlanetClaire: A royal wedding tea party in the newsroom!

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