None of us were invited to the actual royal wedding. The one inside the church with all the family and the fancy people. We still went along though. Parking up hours before the I dos, just so that when the newlyweds came past we could say, ‘we were there… we saw them.. we saw her‘.
I parked up early like the rest of them. Got to be early for a royal wedding. Particularly in a wee town like Windsor, which for all its heritage, is just, well, a wee town with terraced houses, dainty roundabouts, an inadequate supply of public loos, some tatty souvenirs, ancient traditions and one big old castle.
And so we arrived early. The ladies with the bags had it sussed. Something to sit on. Eat. Drink. Hats (it was going to be a sunny one) and comfortable footwear.
I arrived with camera stuff and a bottle of water I lost early doors.
Food? I’ll grab a bite (this was a mission). Caffeine (another mission).
It’s all good. The anticipation. The adrenaline of what was to come. That’ll be sustenance enough.
I lost my wind a bit. I think the folk below on the balcony did too.
Perhaps they didn’t want to be on the balcony. After all, there was much going on down there. On the street. There was a former royal butler. And there folk in fancy uniforms. People from America. And her off the telly. You know, the one who presents…., oh, it’ll come to me.
There was also this gap round the back. Pub on one side, shop on the other, this was like standing in the wings at the Albert Hall it was so close to the action, although I didn’t get to see any. Just people’s backs. And backs of heads. And no hint of a parting of the ways to squeeze in little old me.
The cool cats above nailed finding a good possie. Place to sit. Sunshine. Cans and nibbles, and an inflatable crown. One must have an inflatable crown at a royal wedding. And a flag, with the couple all smiles. Took me back it did to the last time I went to a royal wedding party. Quite a way back, in fact.
It was 1981 and there were tables on the street with grown ups standing round watching us kids eat strawberry jelly out of paper bowls.
I didn’t see any jelly this time. Perhaps they’d run out. Disappointing. You’ve just got to have jelly at a wedding. You’ve also got to have a place to see the bride and groom, which given the crowds, and that you weren’t allowed to stand on anything, was making me think I might miss out on seeing them.
Then it started.
The clippity clop of horses.
Horses pulling a carriage.
A carriage containing…
And they were gone. Up the road.
Was that it?
Yes, that was it.
Oh… fair enough. Didn’t expect them to hang around.
This guy below though, he did hang around, principally because there were so many people around him doing the phone thing.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason is his name and he’s fabulous. What a guy. Had time for everyone. A smile for everyone. Cool as a cucumber, as if performing at a royal wedding (he’d just done this) in front of a global audience of two billion people was kinda normal.
Sheku finally made it inside and I began my journey away from the masses, stepping aside for this lady who was out on her bicycle like it was any normal Saturday of the year.
It wasn’t normal though. It was strange. Very strange.
Everyone was so extraordinarily happy. Ecstasy in a warehouse rave happy. Dancing by a castle in an ancient English town happy.
And all because of a wedding that none of us were invited to, but for some peculiar, unfathomable reason we all took part in.
What a brilliant day.
The B&W Picture Photographer
This photo essay was created by me, David Dunham, a photographer based in New Zealand.
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Tel: + 64 27 462 3126