Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Northern Ireland gets in party mood for Royal wedding

Street celebrations and TV marathons will be order of day

Kay Clarke with some of her memorabilia as she prepares to watch the wedding in her east Belfast home
LONDON - JUNE 27: Kate Middleton attends the 46664 Concert In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela's Life held at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: An Irish Guardsmen comes under close inspection at Victoria Barracks on April 21, 2011 in London, England. The Irish Guards returned from active duty in Afghanistan at the beginning of April, and are now preparing for ceremonial duties. Prince William is the Colonel of the Regiment and the Irish Guards will be on duty at the Royal Wedding on April 29, 2011. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matthew Else;

As well-wishers set up camp outside Westminster Abbey, Royal enthusiasts in Northern Ireland are also getting ready to celebrate the wedding.

Nearly 100 street parties have been planned across the province, with hundreds of thousands expected to tune in to live coverage of the ceremony.

But for some Royal supporters, watching Prince William wed Kate Middleton on Friday means more than just a day off work.

Kay Clarke, from east Belfast, plans to get up at 8am to make sure she doesn’t miss a minute of the fairytale nuptials.

“I’ve been interested in the Royal family since I was a child,” said Kay, a former teacher.

“The first event I remember was Princess Margaret’s wedding in 1960 — the romance of it all was amazing.

“My mum took me to the Curzon cinema to watch it in colour on the big screen and it was a real treat.”

Kay (59) will celebrate the Royals’ big day by recreating Prince William’s chocolate biscuit wedding cake.

The cake, a childhood favourite of the Prince, will be made from 1,700 Rich Tea biscuits and nearly 40lb of chocolate.

“Obviously mine won’t be as big as theirs — I’ll just use one packet of Rich Tea — but it will be a nice tribute,” said Kay.

“I’m hoping to have a quiet day to myself and can’t wait to watch them all arriving at the Abbey.”

She said she remembered watching Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981 and being “glued to the television”.

“I don’t think there’s as much hype as there was for Princess Diana, but people are definitely excited,” Kay added.

“I have ordered two commemorative tea towels and I just hope they come in the post by Friday.”

North Belfast fan Margaret McLoughlin had her first experience of royalty in 1953, when |she was part of a guard of |honour greeting the Queen at Stormont.

“I was in the girls’ TA and we were picked to stand on the steps when she went into the building,” said Margaret, now 77.

“It was a beautiful warm day and I had really sore feet because I was wearing tight lace-up shoes.

“We had to stand for hours and hours but it was worth it just to catch a glimpse of her.”

Margaret, who hopes to attend a local street party on Friday, has lived through three generations of Royal weddings.

She said she remembered her mother borrowing a television to watch the Queen marry Prince Philip in 1947.

“Televisions were few and far between in those days and all the neighbours came round — our house was completely packed,” she added.

She said her favourite Royal wedding memory has been watching Princess Diana walk up the aisle at St Paul’s Cathedral.

“She really was one in a million — that was a day I will never forget,” said Margaret.

“There were so many parties in the streets and people were in great spirits, singing and laughing.

“Royal weddings are one of a kind and it’s great that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren get to experience one.”

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