It is the eve of the 10-year anniversary of Prince William and Catherine Middleton's marriage at Westminster Abbey in London, United Kingdom. It reminds me of when Prince Charles married Lady Diana. It was a brilliant day in July 1981 and I was with my new flatmates in Bondi Junction, a suburb of Sydney Australia. We had not been to bed given we were all working evening restaurant shifts, serving the tourists at Kings Cross and the harbour, until early morning. Our plan was to gather at 4 am to watch the pageantry and ceremony in England, in real-time, so far away. I remember being happy with anticipation. I remember feeling independent, strong and healthy at 25 years of age. I remember drinking champagne in crystal flutes and eating strawberries dipped in chocolate fondue with Jonathan and Nicky. I remember sharing that our delicacies reminded me of my childhood desire for “breakfast of champions”. Growing up I loved spending the weekend watching men’s and women’s Wimbledon Finals, also in England, also so far from my Canadian home and memories.
I remember when an adorably nervous Diana mixed up the order of Charles' many middle names during the vows as cameras rolled, millions watched, 3,500 attended, and the Archbishop of Canterbury presided. She fumbled and we collectively gasped. Imagine the world watching you. Imagine the world knowing that you had been chosen for this role after many had been introduced, vetted, discarded; a virgin and a breeder— someone to be quiet, docile, and bear sons— an heir and a spare to continue the lineage.
I remember that we all knew even then that Charles was in love with Camilla who he met in 1970. I remember how Diana looked frightened and alone as she waved from the Britannia, with the Prince by her side, as the ship left shore for their honeymoon and her destiny. I remember when she birthed William and Harry and, years later, shared on national TV" “There were three of us in that marriage.”
I remember what I was doing the morning she died in a tunnel in Paris. I remember the day Charles married Camilla after a 30-year love affair.