Happy Wedding Anniversary William and Kate! One year on from that amazing day means it's officially their “Paper anniversary” — so to celebrate we are dedicating a big chunk of our paper to them this weekend.
What a wonderful occasion it was; quite magical in many ways. A real fairytale wedding and a memorable occasion for me in lots of other ways too.
I travelled home to England to watch the whole thing live on TV with my sisters ... something I haven't done in years. I have four sisters, two live in Manchester and two live nearer to the family home in Preston and, although we have big family get-togethers occasionally, we are rarely all together in an exclusive group.
In fact, as soon as we had heard about the wedding, we'd started to plan the trip, on the basis that this was one event you really needed to enjoy and share with others. Now, bearing in mind that I live with two teenage boys who would happily watch Sky Sports Extra all day and play Xbox 360 all night, in between episodes of the Walking Dead and Dexter, I knew without even asking that a day of royal nuptials would not be on their must-do list.
And we only have one telly.
So I had three options. Stay here and watch it, with the sound of much tutting, sighing and anti-establishment chanting going on in the background; buy a new telly and be anti-social watching it alone in my bedroom, or go to England and make it into a holiday. No contest.
So my sisters and I all gathered and made a day of it, complete with trays of delicate English confections, cups of Earl Grey in best China cups (with saucers, no less, lah-di-dah). Needless to say the running commentary was just as much a part of the fun as the sheer spectacle.
One by one, the guests assembled. One by one (or all at the same time, loudly) my sisters and I made pronouncements about their outfits/hats/shoes/makeup.
“Oh ... my ... God! What has Camilla got on her head?!
“Just LOOK at how low the neckline is on Eugenie's dress!”
“Victoria Beckham looks like she's going to a FUNERAL for God's sake!” etc etc.
The craic, as you say over here, was priceless. Laughs and cheers aplenty, in between sips from teacups and nibbles of cucumber sandwiches.
At last, Kate emerged from the limo and we all let out a cheer, followed by a simultaneous gasp at her perfect dress. Stunning, absolutely stunning, we all agreed at once. Then we saw Pippa, dilligently brushing out any creases, tweaking the delicate veil, straightening the train and beaming throughout every small ritual with pride at her big sister.
Without having to say it, we all knew exactly how that felt.
When our big sister Louise was married, (the one now pouring the tea) we had been her devoted bridesmaids. When I tied the knot, my sisters were there of course, too, brushing, tweaking, smiling and comforting me just by their proximity. One by one, as we had all gone through life's various rites of passage, my sisters had been there, taking part or just sharing the joy or the pain.
So watching the closeness Pippa and Kate shared, whilst in the company of my own sisters, made the occasion all the more special and memorable for me too.
Of course our attention was soon drawn to the look on Harry's face when he saw his partner for the day: his beautiful soon-to-be sister-in-law.
“Oh, my, GOD!” we all said in unison, “What if they were to start dating! Harry and Pippa! Imagine that!”
Tea was spilt and sandwiches spat out in excitement.
And from that moment, the excited, girlish banter went up an octave and into overdrive ...