Friday, April 29, 2011

PRINCE WILLIAM'S WEDDING TO KATE MIDDLETON

kee@fswmag.com

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEW DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE, EARL AND COUNTESS OF STRATHEARN AND BARON AND BARONESS OF CARRICKFERGUS!

Be still, my dear heart.
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This is all I can say considering the drama and excitement of Prince William's wedding to the former Kate Middleton who is now styled as Duchess of Cambridge which sounds so academic and she never went to Cambridge. Her mum despatched her to University of St Andrews in Scotland hoping her daughter Kate might end up a friend of Prince William. Well, you know what happened to the over-achiever.
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Princess Dr Becky Leogardo, HE Mr Simon Featherstone British High Commissioner to Malaysia and Mrs Gail Featherstone.
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VIP Guests of honour; YM tg Mudzaffar and YAM Tg Dara Tg Naquiah Tuanku Jaafar, daughter of the 10th King of Malaysia
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Top table
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William and Charles Lemay holding the Union Jack flag with Prince and Princess William.
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Mum Elizabeth with all 3 sons William, Charles and Andrew, all named in honour of the British Royal Family! Their father is Colonel Jacques Lemay, as in Union Jack so every family member is linked!
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Colonel Jacques Lemay, Defence Adviser, British High Commission Kuala Lumpur


I assumed Kate Middleton would enter Westminster as commoner and emerge as Princess Catherine but apparently this is not her title as she would be called Princess Catherine only if she was of noble stock and born a princess. In olden days, this was not a problem as princes routinely married princesses. Apart from being Duchess of Cambridge, she is also, as wife of Prince William, Countess of Strathearn and Baroness of Carrickfergus, linking her to Scotland and Northern Ireland. Three titles in one day! Equivalent to being made a Tun and Tan Sri and Datuk all at once!

Her new title as Princess William is similar to Princess Michael who married Prince Michael of Kent though Princess Michael is an aristocrat. However, 'Duchess' is the highest title possible for Princess William. She is currently second in line as Queen after Prince Charles' wife Camilla who is Duchess of Cornwall but who is supposed to be Princess Consort rather than Queen when Prince Charles becomes King! You still with me?
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Rule Britannia!Britannia rules the waves!

Another quirk; the Duchess of Cambridge's real name is Catherine but when shortened, she prefers it as 'Kate' and not 'Cate' of Blanchett fame. A 'Duchess' is higher ranking than 'Princess' but most of us I think prefer to be a 'princess' which sounds so romantic, passionate, dreamy and above all, YOUNG! You have never heard of a 'fairytale duchess' have you? Or a Prince Charming sweeping a Duchess on his white steed and riding happily ever after into the rosy sunset! It is ALWAYS a princess!

A Duchess sounds so, aged, passe and wrinkly don't you agree? Just think of Fergie Duchess of York! The couple should be called Prince William and Princess Catherine of the Realm which even rhymes! Or Prince William and Princess Catherine of the Sceptred Isles which is the name of United Kingdom anyway. 'Princess William', like 'Princess Michael of Kent' sounds so manly, macho and camp. I know a few princesses whose real names are William. Queen Elizabeth II can create new titles or resurrect existing ancient titles like Earl of Wessex which she gave to her son Prince Edward when he married Sophie Rhys-Jones who became Countess Wessex and not, God forbid, Earless Wessex. Some grand titles become defunct if that branch of the family dies out with no male heir and the titles can be given to anyone the Queen wishes. Mind you, 'Earl' is lower ranking than 'Duke' since Prince Edward is 'only' the third son of Queen Elizabeth II. But they all carry the coveted His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness in front of their names which is a monumental honour. After her divorce, Prince William's mother became Diana, Princess of Wales and not HRH Princess Diana of Wales.

By a happy coincidence, 29 April the wedding day of Catherine Middleton coincided with the feast day of St Catherine of Sienna the great Italian saint.

Anyway I was not invited to the wedding in Westminster Abbey which was a massive blow to my ego. I had earlier written an article for The Star regarding the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park's Royal Wedding package which involved a 5 day sojourn in Mandarin Hyde Park opposite Harrods and visits to places, buildings and palaces linked to royalty. PLUS dinner with a minor royal in his London townhouse and a second dinner with Prince William's relatives, said to be Princess Diana's brother or sisters. Alas, that cost RM 75,000 per person!

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New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaysia and Brunei, HE David Pine and his wife Arti and children. She is Indonesian born.
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The most super glamorous couple of the night!

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Two lovely ladies in diamond tiara and embellished hat
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Signing on one of the giant congratulatory cards made by children locally which be be sent via DHL to Buckingham Palace
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Stunning in black and white
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Orange lady from Singapore and guy in ruffle shirt, morning suit, ruby heart and crown belt from Kota Baru
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In the foyer, everyone watched the arrival of Prince William's guests on TV screen.
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Mrs Gail Featherstone wife of British High Commissioner with man with red bowtie and cummerband...so spiffy
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This corner was very popular
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Kids paid RM 100 each to party
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English rose. Or look like them!
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Wearer of English rose printed dress at left must be English?
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Everyone is wearing something except for one lady...
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Again, the two lassies are wearing something not worn by their mum
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Love the hats and colours!
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Even dainty hats can look so sweet
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I accused their parents of perming their boys' hair or forcing them to wear wigs but they swore they are real hair
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The hair of the guy with blue bow looked real enough
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So ravishing the red rose
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I love men wearing skirts don't you?
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All in the family now
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The South African High Commissioner and family
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See, nothing to be embarrassed about in braces
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The only white woman in Malay nyonya baba kebaya and sarong!
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Striking florals in black and white
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Black hats were popular
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The British High Commissioner looking distinguished in morning coat
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Satin stunner
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What a gorgeous, patriotic tie!
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Mother and daughter in reverse red and white. Madam Siew Lian and daughter June. You guess who is who.
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Posing prettily



So the next best thing was the official Prince William Wedding Celebration hosted by His Excellency Mr Simon Featherstone the British High Commissioner to Malaysia. Held at the Intercontinental hotel (formerly Nikko opposite Ampang Park), this was the only officially sanctioned wedding party in Malaysia.

All of us paid RM 150 each (RM 100 for kids) to attend and since around 550 bought the tickets, the amount should be around RM 800,000 since there were around 20 children only. The money does not go to anyone's pocket but to Prince William's favourite charities! So it was all for a good cause! Prince William also asked for no wedding gifts as he prefers the money to be channeled to his charity.

We were summoned to be at Intercontinenal Ballroom by 5pm and the dress code was 'Wedding Attire/National Dress'. I of course wore a Morning Suit with tails while Princess Becky Leogardo who paid the RM 150 as I was too cheap to pay myself, came as a bride in virgin white gown made for the occasion by Moses Law and Eric Yeong of TANGOO. So many commented and praised her gown I am sure TANGOO would be producing more of this gown. More so when Princess Dr Becky Leogardo won Best Dressed Lady! She deserved it as she faithfully followed the dress code and wore the RM 250,000 diamond tiara when she was made a princess of Lanao del Sur sultanate in southern Philippines!

Most guests followed the dress code but I spotted quite a few in deplorable bad sartorial taste. One or two generations ago they would be banned from entering the ballroom but times have changed and we are not too picky. In 1923, the radio broadcast of the wedding of Prince William's great grandmother was cancelled by Buckingham Palace (live TV broadcast was not yet invented). The reason?

It was feared the live broadcast might be heard in pubs by men WEARING HATS! In those days, you had to remove your hat in the presence of royalty! Even if royalty was not standing in front of you in this case! And to think some of us today could have been watching Prince William's wedding in their underwear! Off with their heads!

I like Princess William's wedding gown but did not fall off my chair as I think it was pretty but not spectacular. Classy, elegant, lovely but too modest, simple and Victorian for my taste. It looked like what Princess Grace Kelly wore but that was in the Fifties! I prefer Princess Diana's gown with its voluminous sleeves that spawned a million knock-offs. Princess William's gown was too simple and did not have enough sequins, beads and embroidery for my liking. And can you believe it cost RM 200,000? Sure did not look it! Pippa the bridesmaid was half that at RM 100,000 and again it is grossly over-priced for what designer Sarah Burton stitched up.

Did you notice her jewels?

I didn't either!

The tiara was too small and delicate, better suited for private soirees for 190, not 1,900 in Westmisnter Abbey and 2.5 billion worldwide. She should have worn the Russian Fringe Tiara which was worn by Queen Elizabeth wife of King George VI and her daughter the current Queen Elizabeth II. Also known as George III Tiara, it was also worn by Princess Anne when she married Captain Mark Philips in 1973.

But the MOST suitable would have been a tiara named, would you believe, Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara! Considering they would be Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the romantically named Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara would have been perfect! Made in 1914 by Garrard and ordered by Queen Mary, it has 19 diamond frames, with a pearl dangling from each. Queen Mary left it to her granddaughter Elizabeth who gave it to Princess Diana as wedding present. It was Princess Diana's favourite tiara as she wore it often during her marriage. However upon her divorce, Princess Diana insisted on returning it to the Queen. So I think Prince William should have asked the Duchess of Cambridge to wear the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara in memory of his mother!

As it is, the Duchess of Cambridge wore the Cartier Halo Tiara circa 1936 made by none other than Cartier. Purchased by King George VI for the Queen Mother, it was given to Queen Elizabeth II on her 18th birthday.

I am also disappointed by her earrings which looked so bland and ordinary. If the Duchess of Cambridge did not have enough money to buy bigger diamonds, she could have borrowed Princess Dr Becky's 15-carat diamond studs with 19 mm pearls. Just as well I was griping about this to my learned and aristocratic friend Percival in London when he explained the earrings were a wedding gift by her parents Carole and Michael Middleton! OK, I retreat gracefully as personal gifts from daddy and mummy should not be linked to the price tag. By the way, the earrings were made by Robinson Pelham. It cost RM 75,000 which I think (again!) was scandalously over-priced! And from Robinson Pelham which few have heard of. If the earrings were from Garrard's the Crown Jewellers or Asprey or Graff I don't mind since these are top drawer names! But Robinson Pelhamster? Then again, I have not seen the bills and I got the prices from various sources so I am just harping based on the assumption these were the prices paid.

Still, I think she should have worn a necklace laden with dozens of huge diamonds worth RM 100 million. After all, the Crown Jewels are just sitting there collecting dust and no taxpayers' money would have been used to buy a new one. This will stun the patricians and bowl over the plebeians. Those who wish them well will love and adore her wearing fabulous jewels fit for a Queen. The accursed anti-monarchists who should be shot dead instantly and jealous buggers and the demented will hate her regardless of what she wore or who Prince William married.

If she had worn a secondhand RM 100 gown bought at a pasar malam, the anti-royals would only sneer and laugh. Had she worn a cheap, tattered gown to give the impression she was one of the people and could relate to them, the anti-monarchists would complain she stashed the money meant for a RM 30,000 or RM 100,000 gown! Or she was a hypocrite pretending to be modest and poor. Anyway if the royals had wanted a 'modest wedding' they might as well have done away with all these pomp and pageantry and gone to the council registry to sign in! You cannot please everyone all the time so the couple should please the 2.6 billion viewers including me who enjoyed the spectacle and love them!

Of the 1,900 guests, already 1,300 were upset and felt insulted they were second class citizens as only 600 were invited for lunch. Of the 600, half must have felt suicidal when only 300 were invited for dinner and dance! I think all 1,900 should have been invited for lunch at the very least. The top 600 could dine inside and the 1,300 in the courtyard or quadrangle. A buffet lunch would have suffice! How much could that have cost? At RM 200 per head it would cost only an extra RM 260,000! Loose change! Any caterer would have given an arm and leg to provide the food and any big corporation would have sponsored the entire lunch! I can easily get offhand at least 20 Malaysians who could write a cheque for RM 260,000 instantly and be part of history!

I think I have moaned enough considering she is not my wife and Prince William never asked my advice either.

BTW I fainted thrice over Victoria Beckham's dress! It was the UGLIEST ever and I was shocked she was allowed to enter Westminster Abbey. It looked like she took a black table cloth, cut a hole in the middle and poked her head through. With her customary sour, dour, milk-curdling expression, she looked like she was attending a funeral instead of a happy occasion.
I will never invite Posh Beckham to my funeral! She would only add more misery to an already sad occasion! I don't care if she was pregnant. If she could totter on spiky high heels which made her as tall as David Beckham, she could wear something bright and cheerful. The authorities should force her to wear flat shoes lest she tripped on the steps of Westminster Abbey and induced an abortion.

PRINCE WILLIAM'S WEDDING PARTY IN KUALA LUMPUR
Consisted mostly of British expats in KL, the party was a magnificent success under the jurisdiction of the British High Commissioner Mr Simon Featherstone and his wife Gail plus his team from the High Commission.
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YAM Tunku Dara, YM Tg Mudzaffar, His Excellency the British High Commissioner Mr Simon Featherstone and his wife Gail cutting the celebratory virtual wedding cake sponsored by Alice Smith School.
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Two swans representing the love birds Prince and Princess Willaim
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Looking like virgin bride, Princess Dr Becky Leogardo won Best Dressed as expected!
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The Best Dressed Lady and Best Dressed Children with Charlotte from British High Commission. Notice her polka dot dress matched the musical note holder perfectly!
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Worthy winners!
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This Scotsman won Best Dressed Man
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He gallantly said I deserved to win which was true of course but none could deny he looked great all ready for a highland jig and fling
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Her sequinned Union Jack bag deserved to win Bag of the Night award
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Taking photo with Prince and Princess Willaim
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Kee Hua Chee with Couple of the Century
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The Best Dressed winner received a beautiful commemorative jar
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TANGOO will be so proud their gown won Best Dressed
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The 3 Most Handsome Men with their mother Elizabeth. The guys from left; William, Charles and Andrew Lemay from London. Below are the genuine, original spurs worn by their father Colonel Jacques Lemay. Spurs worn by military men are now so rare and seldom seen.
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Watching the Wedding of the Century live
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The arrival of the bride
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The bride being escorted by her father
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All engrossed
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Speech by British High Commissioner
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Some patriotic guests stood to urge Prince and Princess William to kiss on the balcony.
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The dance floor was monopolised by children dancing to Sax Pistols music
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Glamorous quartet; Princess Dr Becky Leogardo, Kee Hua Chee, Mrs Elizabeth Lemay and Colonel Jacques Lemay.


Guests were personally welcomed by the couple and invited to sign on large cards made by children which would be sent to Buckingham Palace. He met Her Britannic Majesty 9 days ago at Windsor Castle. Beamed Simon Featherstone, "I told the Queen about the celebration tonight and she was delighted and wished it every success.

"Her Majesty also asked if Manchester United was still as popular in Malaysia as when she had last visited. We assured her it was and His Majesty the Yang diPertuan Agong was himself a keen Manchester United supporter. Her Majesty then said she was looking forward to meeting the Yang DiPertuan Agong and Permaisuri Agong at today's wedding."

Simon Featherstone was too modest but he will be leaving for London again next week, again to meet Queen Elizabeth II! Twice in as many weeks! This time, he will be there to receive the Order of St Michael and St George for his contribution towards Britain's great success at the recent Shanghai Expo last year where he was in charge! No wonder tonight's event flowed smooth as champagne!

The entire wedding was broadcast live on giant TV screens from 5 pm. Mr and Mrs Featherstone and his VIP guests of honour Tunku Dara Tunku Naquiah Tuanku Jaafar and her husband Tunku Muzadfar cut the celebratory cake on stage followed by music from the Sax Pistols band and dancing, followed by a charity raffle and finally carriages at 11pm.

His Excellency will be a Commander of St Michael and St George, awarded to men and women in high office or who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country. Congratulations Mr Simon Featherstone CMG! I predict he will be made a Governor General soon!

THE END