Tag Archives: Will and Kate

Life in London Part IV: Royal Wedding Mania

7 Jun

You should have seen this one coming. And now that I’ve had a month to bask in post-wedding tabloids, entertainment news programs, and Barbara Walters specials, it’s my turn to write about the Royal Wedding.

William and Catherine. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Future Prince and Princess of Wales (once Charles is finally king). Future King and Queen (once the current Queen dies, Charles becomes king and dies). Quite a lot of titles and future titles. I like to think of them as Will and Kate, this blog tends to be informal (see: awkward statues, nerdgasms, my new boyfriends).

How adorable is this photo? Answer: too adorable.

I’ve always been in awe of royalty, it kind of comes with being a girly girl. Then I went to London in 2005 and, in two short days, I was hooked on all things House of Windsor. Add an obsession with Shakespeare and the History Plays and a fascination with all things “sparkly” and my current obsessions are warranted.

One of my favorite things that was shown to me so graciously by my dear friend Sam, is this blog:

Kate Middleton for the Win

Now, I love Kate Middleton. I think she’s an incredibly classy lady who will do wonderful things for the British monarchy just like Diana before her (but in much better clothes and hair, naturally). But this Tumblr takes images of Kate and slaps snarky phrases on them, such as this:

What makes these so funny to me is I don’t picture her to be at all like this, and I doubt the blog’s creator does either. But nonetheless, they’re good for a laugh.

I was lucky to be in London during the lead up to the Wedding, and saw much of the preparations…

Like people camping out and camera crews setting up at Westminster Abbey two days before.

Some of my friends joined the chaos by camping out by Buckingham Palace! I flew out the day of the wedding (no lines, no waiting!) but I waited to leave for the Tube until Will and Kate were officially married. I couldn’t leave without seeing that part of the ceremony.

And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for: What did I think of the dress(es)?

Kate wore a dress by British designer Sarah Burton, the late Alexander McQueen's protege. She took over the label after his tragic suicide last year. To start, I love the modest train. Diana had a 25 foot train which was, let's say it, RIDICULOUS. A tradition of respect at Westminster Abbey mandates that shoulders be covered, which is why the dress has sleeves. I love that Kate went with a lace overlay for the sleeves and collar of the dress. It gives the look a classic feel while still being a little sexy underneath. As for the veil it's quite sheer, which I like as I detest most veils. Plus that loaned tiara suits her.

Notice the detail of the lace: it is completely sheer at the sleeves but a bit denser at the shoulder/collarbone. The edging is lovely. Her makeup is flawless, and as most people (well, most royal wedding obsessees like myself) know, she did her own makeup. Is there anything she can't do?

For the after party Kate changed into another Sarah Burton design. The overall silhouette is similar to the first dress, but this is a little less church and a little more party. The shrug is playful (but looks kind of itchy to me) and the crystal belt highlights her slim figure. As usual, her hair is glorious.

Pippa Middleton in Sarah Burton. Who wouldn't want to look this good in a dress this beautiful? She (almost) upstaged her sister. I want this dress. Also, perfect hair clearly runs in the Middleton family.

How can I resist posting a picture of the ever-charming Prince Harry? Especially when he is in uniform...

I should note that, since being back in the states, two people have told me I look like Kate. The highest of all compliments, if only my hair looked like hers every day…

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Day of Churches: St. Pauls and Westminster Abbey

14 Mar

On Saturday I decided to do a solo tour of St. Paul’s and then walk to Westminster Abbey by way of the Thames.

St. Paul’s is one of the most recognizable churches in the world, mostly thanks to it’s massive dome. The Cathedral was designed by Christopher Wren just after the Great Fire of London (1666) destroyed the previous church. The current cathedral has been standing for almost 400 years. It suffered some minor damage during the air raids of WWII but otherwise remains in tact. Prince Charles married Diana there, another reason it is well-known.

St. Paul's Cathedral

Winston Churchill had soldiers surround the rooftops around St. Paul’s during the war specifically to spot and attempt to prevent bombings in the area. They also served to put out smaller bombs that burst into flames on impact.

St. Paul's Cathedral, the dome.

St. Paul's Cathedral, entrance

Unfortunately, there’s no photography inside. There are beautiful mosaics on the ceilings and even though there are no stained glass windows it works. There is simplicity in the cathedral which makes it even more beautiful.

About a block from St. Paul’s was a cute candy store.

A sweets shop down the road from the cathedral

The weather was great on Saturday. It was the fourth day of sun in a row, a ray feat for London. My walk to Westminster took me down Fleet Street.

Now, Fleet Street was on my list of to-do’s because my favorite musical is Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It is a tale of revenge and love, it is bloody so it’s not for the faint of heart and stomach. But the music is fantastic (Stephen Sondheim, a true musical genius) and I do recommend it.

Fleet Street itself was a nice walk, even though there was nothing to commemorate Sweeney (which was a surprise, since the show is quite successful).

A few buildings on Fleet Street. A closer look...

I must go here at least once before I leave.

A pub on Fleet Street

A statue at the entrance to Fleet Street

Royal Court of Justices

Royal Court of Justices

Royal Court of Justices

My walk continued along the Thames.

The view along the Thames

The newer area of London and St. Paul's Cathedral to the left.

Cleopatra's Needle

The London Eye

World War II Memorial with a quote from Winston Churchill

Parliament as the sun sets

Big Ben is technically the name of the bell which strikes the hour, not the actual clock.

There were a bunch of protestors across the street from Parliament, mostly anti-war.

Parliament with the Eye in the background

Unfortunately, Westminster was closed when I got there. But I still got to see the outside. Prince William will marry Kate there next month.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

A few grotesques around the doors

The doorways reminded me of Notre Dame

Westminster is very similar to Notre Dame in terms of architectural style

Statues above the main entrance

I walked a bit further before taking the Tube back to campus. It was a long day but I saw a lot and the walk was just what I needed to clear my head.

Kensington loves dogs

13 Jan

Kensington is known as an affluent neighborhood in London. A typical 3-bedroom flat could cost you roughly $5 million dollars. That’s an apartment, not a house. A short walk from campus is the High Street, essentially a term for the “Main Street” of an area, also where you can shop and eat at chain restaurants. In another direction is Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, and Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana lived after getting divorced from Prince Charles.

A word about Kensington Palace:

  • The squirrels will not only walk right up to you, they will attempt to climb up your boots.
  • They currently have the entire visitors section decked out in “fairy princess themed” garb. A must-see later in the semester.
  • Princes William and Harry grew up there and it is rumored that Will and Kate will live there whilst in London.

This is just the front -- it's like a small college.

My dorm is decent, I wasn’t expecting accommodations worthy of Lady Di. The food they serve us is a bit like the reputation British food used to have: inedible. Take-away food will become a near and dear friend to us all.

After we got settled into the dorm and unpacked a bit we went to an IT information meeting and then my roommate and I went out in search of a drugstore, which we found on the high street. The main drug store in London is called Boots. And it is basically the lovechild of Sephora and CVS. When you first walk in, it’s upscale make-up brands. Then you reach the midpoint and it starts getting cheaper, and then there is the glorious CVS-like back of the store and sometimes 2nd floor of the store. Yeah. Two floors for shampoo and other goodies.

While we were walking I saw a dog that’s the same breed as mine and nearly broke down in sobs of “I miss my dog!” but I maintained my composure. A word about dogs in London:

  • They are ridiculously well-behaved.
  • They are walking accessories for their posh owners.
  • They all wear coats/sweaters/vests…etc. so that they may be as well-dressed as their owners.

Floppy ears will now perform "The Sweater Song" by Weezer.

After getting our supplies from Boots we went back to campus to meet for a guided walking tour of the neighborhood. Our guide was a tall blond named Savannah who had a lot of personality and walked quickly which was necessary as it was windy and freeeezing. We hit the high points of Kensington which I mentioned earlier: Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, Royal Albert Hall, High Street.

A glorious concert hall built by Queen Victoria for her husband Albert. He died before it was completed but Cirque du Soleil is currently performing and I doubt he would have enjoyed that very much.

Kensington Gardens is huge and full of dogs running around which makes me happy.

As you can see by the warm, welcoming sunshine, I did not take this photo.

Also found in the park…

Geese! It's just like the Fens back in Boston, only these geese picked a nicer park to ruin.

After the walking tour we had an orientation meeting then we went out for pizza on the high street to a place called Soprano’s. Definitely a keeper. You might say it hit a high note. (It’s my blog, I’ll make bad jokes if I want to.)