Just as I got up at the crack of dawn with my mother and sister to watch Di and Charles wed, I set my alarm for four this morning, donned my fanciest hat (purchased for Royal Ascot during my years in London), and gathered with my mother and own satisfyingly brainwashed-to-care children to watch this generation’s version of the royal wedding. As we sipped Earl Grey and munched on iced royal-nuptial sugar cookies, I tweeted the action, entranced by every detail of Kate and Will's magical day. Thirty years from now, here is what I will remember most:
- A "people's wedding" with pomp and circumstance. Just as the guest list included celebrities, royals, and dignataries, as well as the butcher, grocer and postman of Kate's Berkshire village, the ceremony managed to be both formal and intimate at once, a tricky balancing act. Even the avenue of English field maple trees placed along the aisle (Kate's idea, natch) brightened the somber, thousand-year-old abbey doubling as a final resting place of 17 monarchs. Right out of the gate, Kate proves that she can respect tradition — yet do things her way — with warmth and style.
- The dress, the dress! Kate looked positively stunning in her Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen ivory, hand-laced gown. While Diana's dress conjured an overdone child's drawing (no surprise, since she herself was a teenager!), Kate's gown was elegant and sophisticated, wonderfully reminiscent of Grace Kelly. A real, grown-up princess. (And, of course, I'd be remiss not to mention Kate's "something borrowed" — a 1936 Cartier tiara, on loan from the Queen herself, per royal wedding tradition. Beautiful.)
- Picture-perfect Pippa and hot Harry. In contrast to the hideously comical, Dr. Seuss-esque selections of the Princesses of York, Eugenie and Beatrice. Oh, no they didn't.
- Prince William’s one-liner to his soon-to-be father-in-law . . . “just a small family affair!” I love that he loves her family — another good sign.
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- The Archbishop of Canterbury kept his word that the ceremony would be "very special" to the bride and groom. His address was wise and foreshadowed happiness and stability for not only the couple, but the future of the monarchy.
- The Queen herself, wearing a yellow Angela Kelly-designed single crepe wool primrose dress, was a burst of sunshine — a contrast to her always-stoic, sometimes stodgy expression. I especially loved her stiff upper lip during the emotional chorus of God Save the Queen. My three-year-old daughter: "Why is she not singing? Does she not know the words?"
- The pealing bells and majestic trumpets. They gave me goosebumps. Heck, they gave my seven-year-old twin sons goosebumps.
- The true affection radiating from the faces of William and Kate. From their stolen glances in the church to their chatter in a horse-drawn carriage (remember how Di and Charles barely spoke to one another?), it was clear that Will and Kate never lost sight of what the day was really about. At one point, on their way to Buckingham Palace, Will asked Kate how she felt. Her reply? "I'm so happy." It doesn't get better than that — on any one's wedding day.
- A million cynical Brits taking to the streets of central London. They couldn't help themselves — nor could several male friends who emailed me during the five o'clock hour, pretending that they just happened to catch some of the action as they flipped channels during Sportscenter. Please. Be man enough to watch a wedding. And read a pink book while you're at it.
- William and Kate driving away in an Aston Martin, sans security officers, with the license plate JU5T WED. May they live happily ever after — and give us lots to talk and tweet about!