Spectating At The Royal Wedding Steve Inskeep speaks with Linda Holmes, who writes for NPR's pop culture and entertainment blog, Monkey See. She's in London and watched the royal wedding with crowds about a block from Westminster Abbey.

Spectating At The Royal Wedding

Spectating At The Royal Wedding

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Steve Inskeep speaks with Linda Holmes, who writes for NPR's pop culture and entertainment blog, Monkey See. She's in London and watched the royal wedding with crowds about a block from Westminster Abbey.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. One of the television images from London this morning captured none of the pomp, none of the elaborate backdrop of Westminster Abbey, no horses, no carriage, no kings or queens or expectant crowds. The image simply showed a ring being placed on Kate Middleton's finger.

Archbishop ROWAN WILLIAMS (The Archbishop of Canterbury): I William Philip Arthur Louis...

PRINCE WILLIAM: I William Philip Arthur Louis...

Archbishop WILLIAMS: ...take thee Catherine Elizabeth...

PRINCE WILLIAM: ...take thee Catherine Elizabeth...

Archbishop WILLIAMS: ...to my wedded wife...

PRINCE WILLIAM: ...to my wedded wife...

Archbishop WILLIAMS: ...to have and to hold from this day forward...

PRINCE WILLIAM: ...to have and to hold from this day forward...

Archbishop WILLIAMS: ...in sickness and in health...

Ms. CATHERINE MIDDLETON: ...in sickness and in health...

Archbishop WILLIAMS: ...to love and to cherish...

Ms. MIDDLETON: ...to love and to cherish...

Archbishop WILLIAMS: ...till death us do part.

Ms. MIDDLETON: ...till death us do part.

Archbishop WILLIAMS: According to God's holy law...

I pronounce that they be man and wife together, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

(Soundbite of processional music)

INSKEEP: A simple and straight forward ceremony at the heart of it, but, of course, everything was fancy outside of that. And we're going now to NPR's Linda Holmes who's in London. She writes our pop culture and entertainment blog Monkey See, and what she's been seeing is the crowds outside the royal wedding. Hi, Linda.


INSKEEP: What kind of view did you have? Where were you exactly?

HOLMES: I had a very good view. I got out there at about 7 o'clock this morning London time and that was still in plenty of time to get a good spot along Whitehall, which is - I was about two blocks from Westminster Abbey. So, close to the Abbey end of the processional.

INSKEEP: You got within two blocks of the wedding, having traveled to London.

HOLMES: That's exactly right. That's exactly right. Me and a lot of other people.

INSKEEP: And so when the carriage went by with Kate and William doing the royal wave, you know, the low hand waves, so that they don't obscure their face or anything, or show the underarm. You were close enough to see that?

HOLMES: Oh, I very much saw them. They came right by. They were probably within, I would say, 20 feet of me. They sort of came down our side of the street and I was close enough. It is a very strange feeling when there's been so much run-up and you've seen them on television so much, to sort of see them roll by in a carriage. There they were.

INSKEEP: How did the crowds respond?

HOLMES: Oh, the crowds were extremely excited. People who are going to bother to come something like this and stand around for six or so hours to be where I was are generally people who are excited to see William, they're excited to see the dress, they're excited to see the uniforms and the horses and all of that. They had a wonderful time, I think, the people who were there.

INSKEEP: You know, I have to ask, Linda, I know you're a pro, you'll go wherever we send you; any kind of story, anywhere in the world, I have no doubt. Any culture story anywhere, you're on top of it. But on some level were you kind of excited yourself to be there?

HOLMES: You know, I have to say I was. You get a little bit swept up in it, and the first time that you're standing there, it's partly the delirium that sets in after you've been on your feet in the same spot for four and a half hours waiting for something to occur.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLMES: But when you first see people, all of a sudden you see a car go by and you look in and you think, oh, that's someone I recognize, that's a person in (unintelligible). And (unintelligible) person in extremely fancy hats. So even if I don't recognize them, I'm sure that's a very important person. And you do get a little bit swept up in it.

INSKEEP: So that's part of the key here, is just keep people standing there for hours with nothing happening and when something finally does happen - a car goes by, people lose their minds.

HOLMES: They lose their minds. We cheered, and when say we, I mean the crowd; I'm not necessarily owning every one of these things myself...


HOLMES: I probably should. Cheered for everything. Cheered at the beginning. There was a man who kept peddling on a bicycle, up and down the street in front of us...


HOLMES: ...and every time he came by, he would do his royal wave...

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLMES: ...and nobody knows who he is, nobody knows what he'd doing. But everyone just cheered happily because something is happening when we're all standing around.

INSKEEP: Well since you did have a chance to look at the crowd, I'm curious, everyone talked about what the bride was wearing, what color the queen was going to wear, what other people who were in Westminster Abbey were wearing. What kinds of outfits did you see in the crowd?

HOLMES: Well, the most colorful outfit I saw was a woman right in front of me who had a sequined Union Jack cocktail dress on and flag scenes, I believe heart-shaped sunglasses, and a wedding flag. She had around her shoulders, like a cape, and high-heeled boots. So...

INSKEEP: I'm sorry, wedding flag. What's a wedding flag?

HOLMES: There in - oh, what is a wedding flag? A wedding flag, in addition to the ordinary Union Jack that you can see just anywhere, there are special flags that have been made to have a little photo. There just little souvenir flags.


HOLMES: Little photo of William and Kate. And they're being sold and carried everywhere around London right now.

INSKEEP: Linda, you've cut me to the quick, that I didn't know what a wedding flag was. But thanks for correcting me on that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

INSKEEP: What did you wear, by the way? Could I ask that?

HOLMES: You can certainly ask that. I wore my very best blue jeans, gray shirts and the most comfortable shoes that I own...

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLMES: ...which were the most important part of my ensemble. I was encouraged to wear a large hat but I did decline that, partly for the sake of the people behind me.

INSKEEP: Linda, thanks for your sacrifice.

HOLMES: You're so welcome.

INSKEEP: That's Linda Holmes, who writes Monkey See at NPR.org.

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