For the great and the good flowed into St. Paul’s Cathedral with the load – quite literally in the case of minor royal family – the queen sat watching her service unfold from home in Windsor, hoping with a glass of something congratulatory at her elbow.
In this respect she was, as always, in sync with her people, most of whom, myself included, experienced it that way.
It is at times like these that the BBCfor all its flaws, comes into its own as the transmitter of a record.
Other channels are of course available, but why bother when Auntie has it all: David Dimbleby’s avenging tones, the best views, years and years of experience – and, in this case, Kirsty Young.
There is a certain gravity that only comes with wisdom and experience, and Kirsty Young has both, having suffered badly in recent years with the debilitating condition fibromyalgia.
Ah, Kirsty Young. All eyes were on the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at St Paul’s, but for me it was Young who really stole the show, surrounded by flowers and wild birds, seemingly staring at a jubilee-themed pergola in the middle of St James’s Park. .
I completely forgot how good she is, how she brings a sense of calm intimacy to the most public of moments. There aren’t many female broadcasters of her caliber around, not least because at the BBC there was a tendency to think of them much earlier than their male counterparts, who, like Dimbleby, seem to last forever.
But there is a certain importance that only comes with wisdom and experience, and Young has both, having suffered badly in recent years with the debilitating condition fibromyalgia.
There’s warmth and sincerity in her presentation style, but she’s also sharp as a box of tacos. Her guests, the former Archbishop of York John Sentamu and historian Robert Lacey, added to that class law, offering some truly erudite commentary. At the cathedral, things were not so haughty: During one pause Dimbleby decided to fill up air time by commenting on the progress of a dove up the steps.
Inevitably, however, all eyes were on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they made their long-awaited entry. The Duchess of Sussex’s Dior dress was, I say, a lilac – but on screen it looked virgin white.
There were some pretty awful pre-recorded messages from various random notable people, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Strictly Judge Craig Revel Horwood (does Queen Strictly adore?) And that awful woman who runs New Zealand.
But the main action was the royal family. First, the minor members of the Company in all their celebration. Eugenie as a juicy tangerine, Zara Phillips parodying a Post-it note. The Wessex pure in matching shades of cream. The Royal Princess, as always, was effortlessly chic; the Duchess of Cornwall impeccably dressed in one of her trademark cloaks and coats, so flattering and yet always elegant.
Inevitably, however, all eyes were on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they made their long-awaited entry. The Duchess of Sussex’s Dior dress was, in my opinion, a lilac – but on screen it looked virgin white. There were reports of word of mouth as the couple arrived but I could only hear cheers as they climbed the steps.
It must have been hard for Meghan to resist the urge to turn around and wave to the well-wishers, as the Duchess of Cambridge did moments later, but – to her credit – she kept the script. Harry did allow himself a wave, but otherwise he looked deadly serious, his wife close to him as he worked his way up the reception line. As they sat a few rows from the front, they were sure to feel every eyeball bored into their backs.
If it bothered them, it didn’t show up. If anything they seemed to rather enjoy themselves, or surely Harry did, laughing and joking in the malevolent corner with his cousins. In contrast, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, sitting rigidly at the front, looked a little anxious. But then of course they carry the weight of responsibility on their shoulders, all the heavier since Harry decided to unload his share and choose a celebrity-style life in America.
A fact perhaps memorable as we honor a woman whose whole life has been spent in service to her country.