On Google, there are some 3,330,000 websites dedicated at least in part to royal wedding trivia. Surely, they have covered it all. England’s royal family must be the most intimately known group of people on earth. Of course, Princess Diana herself was a prime example of the phenomenon of prying. The difference is that she knew how to use the media to advance her own ends, including her extensive charity work.
That commentary aside, it is time to join the herd and trot out a few more trifles about the royal family. These factoids have been taken from sources that include zoomermag.com and voxmagazine.com. An effort has been made to stay away from the salacious and hold to the higher road.
For example, it is not true that Kate Middleton and Prince William are too closely related to be married. They are actually 12th cousins, once removed. They shared a great-grandfather, Sir Thomas Leighton, 12 generations ago (for William) and 11 generations ago (for Kate). Sir Thomas was an Elizabethan (the first Queen Elizabeth) aristocrat. William Shakespeare was writing his plays and sonnets at the time.
This is unfortunate but hardly scandalous: Kate and William share their wedding date with an infamous couple from the fairly distant past. Eva Braun and Adolf Hitler were married in a Berlin bunker on April 29, 1945. Shortly afterward, the unhappy couple committed suicide.
The digital age has taken a turn for the romantic. Kate and William’s engagement was announced via Twitter.
William and Kate will not be accepting gifts. They have asked their wedding guests to donate to the Zoological Society of London. Both of them are dedicated to animal conservation, the Zoological Society is very active in that area, helping preserve elephants in Asia and Africa and rhinos in Kenya. By way of contrast, when Diana and Prince Charles were married, they asked for, among other things, a gourmet barbecue set and a pair of cockatoos.
As is well known by now, Kate’s 27-year-old sister Philippa Charlotte Middleton (Pippa) will be maid of honor at the ceremony in Westminster Abbey. What might be less well-known are Pippa’s plans for the prenuptial experience. Rumor has it she is hosting a top-secret “hen party” in London and a Dirty Dancing party in Berkshire at the family home.
Stepping back into history for a moment: Prince William is only the second eldest son of a Prince of Wales to be married before his father became king of England. George V did it in 1892. He married Princess Victoria Mary of Teck. Princess Victoria Mary had been engaged to George’s older brother Albert Victor. However, Albert Victor died before he married Princess Victoria Mary, thus making George the eldest son. When Queen Victoria died in 1901, Prince Albert Edward, George’s father, became King Edward VII.
Of course, it was the eldest son of George V and Victoria Mary who would become King Edward VIII briefly. He abdicated the throne so he could marry Wallis Simpson, an American. His brother George then became King George VI, he of The King’s Speech fame.
Obviously, part of the problem with royal family trivia is how complicated it can become. However, if one can at last commit the previous bit of information to memory, it is certain to impress a crowd, if not completely befuddle everyone present.
Whatever the case, it should be unfurled like Princess Diana’s 25-foot train at the Union Station Royal Wedding Watch Party, beginning at 3:00 a.m. on April 29 — the Big Day. Time should be saved also to pay a visit to Diana, A Celebration. Admission is free from 3:00 to 6:00 a.m. and just $5.0o from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. Harvey’s Union Station will be serving coffee, and live coverage of the royal wedding will be shown. Many other contests, giveaways and other activities are planned.
Tickets for Diana, A Celebration, for other days are available through all Ticketmaster outlets, the Union Station ticket office, the Sprint Center box office and www.unionstation.org.