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Happy Tuesday everyone! I promised opinions on the weekend’s Big Wedding, and of course I have them (if I can remember what they are, after spending the weekend wearing tiaras, drinking tea, eating cake, and critiquing hats with like-minded friends! Why don’t we wear more hats over here anyway???). But here is basic outline of what I thought:

1) Kate looked like absolute perfection for the event. Regal, elegant, and classic. (I doubt anyone will look at these images in 20 or 30 years and say “what was she thinking??” like with Diana), but also young and beautiful. Just like a royal bride should look.

2) I seriously, seriously covet Pippa Middleton’s bridesmaid dress (which also comes in red!). If you have an extra one of these just lying around the atelier, House of McQueen, send it my way pretty please?

3) And those children are the absolute definition of total adorable-ness. Makes me want to get married just to have a passel of attendants just like them. Plus a dress like Pippa’s. And a carriage to ride around in. And a chance to make all my friends wear hats.

4) Amid all this elegant appropriateness, someone needs to bring the Crazy. So thank you, princesses of York! We can always count on you.

And thank you, Victoria Beckham, for showing us the latest in maternity wear–8 inch heels for the 7 months pregnant lady. (She looks fab as always, though. Definitely the most glamorous one there next to the bridal party…)

And can I just say how disappointed I was in the American news coverage?? I don’t get BBC America on my TV or I would have watched them. I did get to watch ITV until they got cut off, and I loved their snarky comments on all the arrivals. The American newscasters didn’t even know or care who anyone was, and had no snark in them at all. Ah well. I still had fun.

Speaking of dating and romance and all those fun things–I thought I would turn to the Arbiter of All Things, Jane Austen herself, to see what her view of these events would be. If I lived in JA’s time, of course, I would be firmly on the shelf and gathering dust, no wedding in my future, but honestly I think I would have quite liked that. Better than having 20 kids and a passel of unruly servants to oversee. Now–well, who knows? Let’s ask Aunt Jane.

“This sensation of listlessness, weariness, stupidity, this disinclination to sit down and employ myself, this feeling of everything’s being dull and insipid about the house! I must be in love” –Emma

“I am always in love with every handsome man in the world” –Juvenilia

“There was a scarcity of men in general, and a still greater scarcity of any that were good for much” –Letter to Cassandra

“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom can I really love. I require so much!” –Sense and Sensibility

“I think I could like any good-humored man with a comfortable income” –The Watsons”

“But there are certainly not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them” –Mansfield Park

“Is not general incivility the very essence of love?” –Pride and Prejudice

Also, this weekend I will be headed to Kansas City to see the Princess Diana exhibit (which includes her wedding gown! Wish they could fly in Kate’s to display right next to it)–more info and pics to come next week. And my novella, “Snowbound & Seduced” in Regency Christmas Proposals is nominated for a Readers Crown award! Let me know if you’re planning to be at RomCon in Denver this August and look for me there.

What is your own favorite Austen quote on love and marriage? What did you like best (and least) about the royal wedding? And what kind of hat would you wear to my wedding???

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Happy royal wedding week, everyone! I had planned on pulling together a post about royal wedding traditions, but caught a sore throat this weekend and writing two WIPs on cold medicine is, frankly, kicking my butt over here. Who knows how these chapters will read once my head has cleared???

But I am definitely excited for this Friday! Some of my friends are having a wedding party, complete with cake, champagne, and (possibly) large hats, and you can be sure I will have opinions next Tuesday. In the meantime, let’s look at some pretty dresses. Here are a few royal brides, both of recent and vintage varieties (and I am sure I am missing some good ones, but these are the ones I have pics of that are ready to go!). Which are your favorites? What do you predict for Kate’s dress? Which tiara will she wear? Do you have your wedding party planned?

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Are you anticipating the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton? I am. I think they are such an appealing couple; I’m really hoping they achieve a happily ever after.

To celebrate the Royal Wedding this April 29, Harlequin Historical had this really creative idea—short stories set during real historical royal weddings!

Here is what Senior Editor Linda Fildew said about them:

“These seven short stories brilliantly capture the drama, pomp and ceremony and high passion of real-life royal weddings. From Eleanor of Aquitaine to Queen Victoria, these royal romances through the ages bring history vividly to life.”

As you might imagine, the authors had only a short time to research and write these stories. It was up to each of them to decide to use the royal couple as the hero and heroine or to choose other characters.

The books are available now at (scroll down), (scroll down), Amazon, and other email vendors.

Here are the stories and the royal couples the story celebrates:

Terri Brisbin’s WHAT THE DUCHESS WANTS (Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine and Henry of Anjou, the future Henry II, 1152)

–As one of Europe’s most powerful women, Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, has a chance most can only dream of—to choose her own husband! One glance at the young, forceful Henry of Anjou and her choice is made. Able to match her wit for wit, Henry’s a true warrior and not afraid to disobey a royal command… But his love of life—and the bedroom—promises Eleanor a brand-new world of excitement!

Michelle Willingham’s LIONHEART’S BRIDE (King Richard and Princess Berengaria, 1191)

–Princess Berengaria’s lady-in-waiting, Adriana, takes her duty to the future Queen of England seriously—she will defend her to the death! When their sea voyage to the Holy Land ends up in shipwreck and capture Adriana knows her only hope lies with the mysterious Irishman, Liam MacEgan. Liam escapes to reach Richard the Lionheart and together they plan a rescue mission. Nothing will stop these warriors from succeeding—their future brides are captive on Cyprus and they’ll raise hell to claim them!

Bronwyn Scott’s PRINCE CHARMING IN DISGUISE (Prince George and Caroline of Ansbach, 1704)

–He might be the future King of England, but Prince George seeks a marriage that’s more than a mere political alliance. Masquerading as a lowly nobleman, George heads to the court of Ansbach to woo the renowned beauty, Caroline! Caroline has no knowledge that he’s the most sought-after bachelor in Europe. But however much she’s charmed by the mysterious gentleman, her duty is to accept a blue-blooded proposal… Still, she cannot deny she’s wickedly tempted by his red-hot proposition!

Elizabeth Rolls’ A PRINCELY DILEMMA (George, Prince of Wales—future George IV—and Princess Caroline of Brunswick 1795)

–George, Prince of Wales, with his mistress in tow, only lays eyes on Princess Caroline of Brunswick three days before their wedding, and his resentment is palpable. Christopher, Duke of Severn, knows all about arranged marriages—his new wife’s fortune is the reason plain Linnet is wearing his ring! Severn and Linnet must persuade the spoilt princeling and his soon-to-be bride that a paper marriage can become something more. But in trying to convince the royal couple, a tantalizing spark ignites between the duke and his convenient duchess…

Ann Lethbridge’s PRINCESS CHARLOTTE’S CHOICE (Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold, 1816)

–As Princess Charlotte prepares to marry Prince Leopold, her most trusted lady, Isabelle Fenwick, must remain chaste and beyond scandal. Yet she has never forgotten darkly handsome Count Nikkolae Grazinsky and the kiss he stole…She later discovered the Russian had only used her for a wager, so why does he still seek her company? And why does the air tingle with anticipation when they are together? Surely this rake cannot be thinking of following Prince Leopold’s example and making a love-match?

Mary Nichols’ WITH VICTORIA’S BLESSING (Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 1840)

–Preparations for the young Queen Victoria’s wedding have thrown all of London into a frenzy—but for Lady Emily Sumner, her own marital dilemmas eclipse all the excitement! Forbidden to marry her beloved Lieutenant Richard Lawrence by her strict, status-conscious mama, Emily’s chance at wedded bliss seems out of reach… But as Maid of Honour to the Queen, Emily discovers she has a secret weapon—royal approval! And with Queen Victoria’s blessing, surely Emily’s happy ending can’t be too far behind…?

Lucy Ashford’s THE PROBLEM WITH JOSEPHINE (Emperor Napoleon and Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, 1810)

–It’s springtime in Paris and Emperor Napoleon is about to marry Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria. All around the city Napoleon’s courtiers are preparing for the spectacularly lavish wedding. Everything must be just right…Ordered to remove all portraits of Josephine, the Emperor’s first wife, seamstress Sophie has to track down a talented artist called Jacques. He promises to carry out the commission, but only in return for a kiss for every hour he works…

The stories are specially priced at $1.99 each, discounted to $1.79 at eHarlequin.
This should be the perfect way to prepare for “our” Royal Wedding!
What’s your favorite royal wedding? Will you be watching the wedding on April 29? How else are people celebrating the wedding?
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I have a terrible confession to make. I am Amanda, and I am an avid royal watcher. Yes, there it is, terrible but true. I think it all started when I was a preschooler, and got up in the middle of the night to sit on the couch with my mother and watch Princess Diana’s wedding. I insisted on wearing my ballet recital tiara and a bedsheet tied around my waist for a train for days after, and I guess I never totally got over it. The best Christmas gift I ever received came that year, when my aunt bought me a porcelain Diana doll complete with massive train (which I still have). I buy British tabloids whenever possible just to read about them. And the thought of a royal wedding coming up soon fills me with guilty glee, and I have a secret longing to go to London this spring just to sit on the sidewalk with thousands of other people and watch the procession go by. (See “Kate Middleton will be sixth Queen Katherine”)

Now you know my secret. So I thought we could take a brief look at some of those other Queen Katherines and their weddings (and a few Charlottes and Victorias as well…)

Catherine of Aragon married Prince Arthur of England on November 14, 1501 (having been already married by proxy in 1499!). This was a sort of affirmation for those upstart Tudors, landing a Spanish infanta for a bride, and they did it up big-time for the 15-year-old couple. The wedding was at St. Paul’s Cathedral, presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury and witnessed by dozens of courtiers (and hundreds of commoners lined up on the procession route outside). The bride wore a white gown embroidered with silver thread, pearls, and diamonds, with her auburn hair loose to her knees and a Spanish lace veil. She was escorted up the aisle by her 10-year-old brother-in-law Henry. The celebrations went on for two weeks of jousting, balls, and masques, and then the couple (consumated or not? Who knows…) were packed off to damp Wales. Arthur died 6 months later. When Catherine went on to marry Henry, it was a quiet and private affair. In fact, all Henry’s weddings were quiet–some were even totally secret.

Catherine’s daughter Mary I married Philip of Spain in another lavish ceremony, this one at Winchester Cathedral on July 25, 1554. There were thousands of guests packed into the church to witness the ceremony, conducted by Bishop of Winchester Stephen Gardiner. The cathedral was hung with gold and crimson cloth, and everyone was dressed in their most lavish fashions despite the rain outside. Philip wore white and gold; Mary wore a purple and gold gown, “rich tissue with a border and wide sleeves, embroidered upon purple satin, set with pearls.” An immense banquet followed at the Bishop’s palace. (Here is a reproduction of her gown, as well as the chair she used for the ceremony, both seen at Winchester Cathedral. I actually quite like that dress!):

Charles II married Catherine of Braganza three times. The first was by proxy in April 1662, followed on her arrival at Portsmouth by a secret Catholic ceremony and a public Protestant one, presided over by the Bishop of London on May 21. It was a cozy affair, with a few privileged courtiers to witness it. The bride wore a rose-pink gown sewn with blue love knots, which were then cut off and passed out as favors. She was deemed quite dowdy by the fancy Court ladies, but the groom wrote to his sister, “I think myself very happy, for I am confident our two humors will agree very well together.” This is a medal struck for the occasion of their marriage:

George III married Queen Charlotte only a few hours after her arrival in England, when she was bundled into a lavish white and gold Court gown and mounds of jewels and carted off to the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace for the wedding on September 8, 1761. Despite this abrupt beginning, the marriage was a harmonious one (despite the madness and all that). The same could not be said of their son, George, the Prince Regent.

His wedding to Caroline of Brunswick on April 8, 1795 was famous for the deep inebriation of the groom. Like his parents, the wedding was at the Chapel Royal. It was attended by dozens of snickering courtiers, presided over by the (presumably taken aback) Archbishop of Canterbury, and the bride wore a gown of silver tissue and lace with a train of ermine-lined velvet so heavy she could hardly walk. Somehow they managed to beget a child within the next few days, and that was the end of that.

That unfortunate child, Princess Charlotte, grew up to marry Prince Leopold on May 2, 1816 at Carlton House in front of 50 guests. Despite the small size of the wedding, it was a lavish one. The bride’s dress of silver lame on net embroidered with silver shells and flowers and trimmed with Brussels lace, was said to cost 10,000 pounds! It still exists today.

Princess Charlotte’s Wedding Page

Regency Weddings

Queen Victoria was really the one who started all the stuff we consider to be “wedding-y” today. White dresses, veils, flowers, bridesmaids, etc. She married Prince Albert at the Chapel Royal on a rainy February 10, 1840, with crowds of people lining the route to see the royal procession. She had 12 bridesmaids to carry her train, and a gown of white satin trimmed with lace, a lace veil held by a wreath of orange blossoms, satin slippers, and a sapphire brooch given to her by her groom. (the lace was said to have cost over 1000 pounds! The veil was later worn by her youngest daughter Princess Beatrice, and Queen Victoria was buried in it). The wedding breakfast was at Buckingham Palace, after which the couple dashed off to honeymoon at Windsor. The honeymoon must have been a great success, for Princess Vicky came along 9 months later! Her wedding to the Crown Prince of Germany was also hugely lavish…

And that’s only a tiny taste of royal weddings! What is your favorite historical wedding? Are you looking forward to the next royal wedding like I am??

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