Sunday, April 10, 2005

Hats! Hats! Hats!

The Prince of Wales finally married his long-time love Camilla Parker Bowles on Saturday. Here in England, you could feel a real sense of… ambivalence about the ceremony.

I don’t know if the event was overshadowed by the Pope’s funeral on Friday, or the upcoming general election May 5 (more on that in a later post), but no one I knew seemed to care about the event. Not one of my British friends raised the subject with me. My friend Anna and I spent most of our Friday lunch discussing celebrity gossip, including the new post-birth procedure called “Mend it Like Beckham”, which involves a tummy tuck, liposuction and the reinsertion of breast implants, but the wedding never came up.

My friend Anne, a fellow American, and I turned on the BBC on Saturday, waiting mostly to see what Camilla would wear. As all the papers said on Sunday, Camilla scrubbed up well. Her first suit, which she wore to the registry office, was pretty and dull, but not pretty dull. Her second dress, which she wore to the church blessing, was of an indeterminate color (we finally decided on grey, but later learned it was porcelain blue), but moved beautifully in the breeze.

But let’s talk about the hats! Now anyone who knows me well, knows I love a good hat. One of the reasons why I love this country so much is they still embrace the hat thing. Sadly my life is somewhat bereft of occasions that call for formal hats, but what can you do. Camilla’s first hat was beautiful and looked great. Her second hat was a more curious choice—sometimes it looked as though her hair had just gotten out of control—but up close I’m sure (or I hope) it looked better.

The guest’s hats were also great. Some of the American stories I read about the day seemed befuddled by all the hats in attendance, but clearly, they don’t know much about this country. Just look at Queen Elizabeth. The woman is NEVER without a hat. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen her hair.

The Sunday papers were far from effusive about the occasion. The headline on two of the tabloids was, “At Last!” It’s hardly the sort of reaction you’d like to have to your new marriage, but then again, Camilla and Charles probably don’t care.

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