I love birthdays.
I love wishing facebook friends and acquaintances Happy Birthday. Even people I’ve never met, I like to wish them happy birthday. I love singing happy birthday for strangers in restaurants. (I love singing). In fact, I just got back from singing “God Save the Queen” along with a largely British commonwealth crowd. In England. At Windsor castle. At Her Royal Majesty’s 90th birthday celebration! It was epic. Gosh darn, I even teared up whilst singing.
I just love that song. It’s the first song I ever learned in grade school in Vancouver. It’s short and to the point. It has enough high notes for this soprano to get real pleasure in hitting them with brute (roll the r) force and warbling gusto.
I did not meet the Queen or even see her. But I did see Princess Anne (the “Princess Royal” aka the Queen’s daughter) who met my Uncle Godfrey in 1971 when one of his abstract carvings was formally presented to her. At the “Spectacular Spectacular,” Princess Anne was seated a few rows below and to my right. I could see the back of her head and her profile when she turned to talk to the gentleman (Duke? Dude? Knight?) beside her. Sorry ye royal buffs, I am not an expert…
Getting on to the fashion now… What on Earth would I wear to a Queen’s 90th Birthday celebration? With some valuable feedback from fashionista friends (grazie Sophie, Rhea, Andra, Jyoti, Rimps et Cathy…), a great dress from Tina and Flora, and borrowed accessories (thanks Mom), it all pulled-together last minute.
The dress is from Tina Songergard (www.tinasondergaard.com), a Roman-based designer who made the dress – with Flora – in her charming shop in the happening Monti area of Roma. A black and white version of the dress was on a red carpet this last season!
The back of Tina’s shop:
The front of Tina’s shop with Tina on the left, Flora on the right:
Here is the outfit just before I got into the car for Windsor:
Apologies for the lighting but above is the only photo I have that gets (almost, alas not all) the shebang. Shoes miu miu made and bought in Italy. The buckles just felt so right, although Sophie lobbied hard for a more feminine shoe (thinner higher heel, more of a ballet-like front). Sophie was probably right, but the buckle undid me. They felt 18th Century which seemed an overriding enough reason to wear them to a royal birthday celebration. The clutch (pochette they call them in Italia) is a wee Fendi made and bought in Italy many years ago. The earrings, made and bought in India were a happy loan from mamma along with ‘il’ clutch.
For those of you who asked about hats – since it was an evening event, no hats were in evidence…. (I know I know such a pity.)
Below is the photo I like the best (not posed). It looks like a selfie! In fact I was grabbing for the phone to dash to the car. (Thanks Pops for da pics!)
I’m glad I got these photos before I left. Not only was my car late arriving, but then I got stuck for 2 hours in hideous traffic. And although I lived for 4 years in London, I forgot. And missed the first part of the evening. O horror. All the pics I took of the event are only suitable for ‘memories’ (not blog posts) since the lighting wasn’t my friend.
It was indeed a spectacular event with horse whisperers, horse acrobats, cannon fire, salutes, famous actors and singers. There were even a handful of beautiful rare-breed cows, dogs and a frisky little goat mascot! Drumming, marching bands and flag waving, including quite a lot of our Canadian maple leaf… In sum it was royal pomp and circumstance benefitting… a Queen!
Our culture, history and folklore of the princess and the ball and the dress and the queen and her loyal subjects (and the handsome soldiers and beautiful singers and marching bands and bagpipes – I think I could go on) appealed deeply to my not-so-latent chivalrous and blushingly romantic notions.
On that note, gentle readers, let me sing hip hip hooray to your health, happiness and your birthdays too.
(For balance – and for the record – I am reading a fun book called Princesses Behaving Badly: Real stories from history without the fairy-tale endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie)