(Yes, I know I’m an American–I just can’t help myself! And yes, I did wear my wedding tiara for most of the day–the girls insisted!)
I’ve had a good time this week coming up with things we could do in school, (and as a family), to celebrate the Royal Wedding, and learn a little something to boot. While the highlight of the week was watching the wedding (obviously!) beginning at three in the morning (for me–the children got up at 4:30), we needed some additional activities to enhance our education and our fun, especially once the wedding was done for the day.
First, the learning. I picked up a really cool documentary from Amazon about Windsor Castle. It was originally shown on PBS, but as with many DVDs, there’s a lot of bonus footage on the discs that was never shown on TV. It was fascinating for all of us to see how formal events are prepared in an actual castle, as well as the general daily upkeep involved in a place that large. I found the kitchen to be particularly fascinating; the children were amused that in order to light all of the centerpieces on the table (that can seat over 130 people!!!), people were actually allowed to stand on the table, (in stocking feet, of course), to get the job done.
The British Monarchy website is also an awesome tool. You can learn all about the history of the monarchy, the line of succession, the different royal residences, the crown jewels, royal ceremonies, biographies of all of the current royals, even information on the royal animals. We especially enjoyed looking at all of the detailed photos of the different drawing rooms in the palaces, the fancy coaches, and of course, all of the various crowns!
I also thought it would be fun to get some paper dolls for the girls, (and the boys, if they so desire), to play with. It was just a hunch that they might even exist, but I had Princess Diana paper dolls when I was a child, so I went to that same publisher, and lo and behold, there were William and Kate! Of course, the wedding apparel isn’t included, because the book was published before the wedding, but apparently there will be some kind of download available soon. I’d rather there was some kind of mail-in code for higher quality pieces, but I’ll take what I can get. Bunny spent a long time this afternoon trying out all of the different outfits, and posing the newly titled Duke and Duchess together.
Of course, no special event would be complete without a craft. I picked princess hats for the girls, and crowns for the boys. I found a good crown template to make the crowns for the boys, and for the girls, a simple half circle was easily turned into the cone-shaped hats, with ribbons attached through the top. They had fun attaching the “gemstones,” and they liked having both something to do the day before the wedding, and something to wear for the wedding festivities.
Let’s not forget tea time. Being American, our afternoon tea wasn’t very authentic, but it was still fun! We were supposed to have open-faced cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches on cocktail Rye bread, but due to an unfortunate bread-related incident, we ended up having jelly sandwiches cut into flowers (with a cookie cutter). Our tea selection was “English Teatime” tea, (appropriate, no?), and Turkey discovered that just like Daddy, he really likes tea. According to the majority in our house, this was the best part of the day (close seconds were Kate’s dress, the balcony kiss, seeing all of the amazing hats, the departure in the Aston Martin accompanied by a helicopter with William’s RAF buddies, and the choir in the Abbey)!
I’m always looking for an opportunity to make a special meal, too. The obvious choice for a British meal was fish and chips, but seeing as how Lent just ended, I wanted something a little different. I settled on Shepherd’s Pie, as the ingredients are easy to find, and cost-effective. I also picked up a British ale to go with our meal. It was delicious, albeit more labor-intensive than I would have expected.
And no special meal would be complete without a special dessert. Betty Crocker’s website has lots of good ideas, and initially, I hoped to make the replica groom’s cake. I couldn’t find the right tea biscuits locally, though, and I really didn’t want to “cheat” with sugar cookies (not authentic enough), so I chose to make the Royal Blue Velvet Cake instead. So pretty to look at, and while not British, at least matched the engagement ring/dress pretty well!
Once the children were in bed, it was time to watch a wrap-up of the day’s events, (I never would have made it though the day without NBC, The Today Show, Dateline NBC, and Matt, Meredith, Al, and Ann!). I managed to get a second loaf of bread for the aforementioned cucumber sandwiches, to ease my disappointment over the tea issue, and Ryan and I also toasted the happy couple with a bottle of bubbly.
We followed that with a viewing of The Queen, a movie that, when I first saw it, completely changed how I view Queen Elizabeth (in a good way!). Helen Mirren was obviously born to play a British queen, and James Cromwell is very convincing as Prince Philip–an excellent film, all-around!
I hope William and Kate’s marriage is as a happy as they both looked today!