A Royal Wedding
A ROYAL WEDDING
I – The Preparation
Ethel was ‘handy with a needle’. She’d always been able to make pretty things. Her speciality was recycling old clothes and turning them into something beautiful. Such talents are rare in these disposable times, but Ethel was proud of her skills. She would unpick the stitching, wash and press the fabric and spread it out on her sewing table to examine its potential. The Muse would descend on her and then her nimble fingers would fly around with scissors, needles, thread and finally her trusty sewing machine, until a brand new item lay before her, ready to be gift-wrapped and presented to the lucky recipient.
Over breakfast, one day in November, the newscaster informed her there was to be a royal wedding the following spring.
“How romantic!” she cried, scooping up another spoonful of porridge. “This calls for a celebration. I shall make a gift for the bride.”
Abandoning her meal, she went to the old chest where she stored her materials. After a good old rummage, she found nothing suitable to recycle into a gift fit for royalty so she pulled on her winter boots and parka and headed out to the Oxfam shop on the High Street. An hour later, she examined her purchases.
“Two quid for a few metres of old curtain! Daylight robbery! It’s a good job we don’t have royal weddings every year.”
Throughout the winter, Ethel worked on the gift, snipping and sewing away. Her sitting-room walls became a shrine to the bride-to-be as she covered them with newspaper cuttings and photographs about the impending nuptials. She spent another five pounds on buttons and embroidery silks.
“Thank the Lord I didn’t need to use all my winter fuel allowance this year,” she muttered as she sewed the last button in place and surveyed her handiwork with satisfaction. It was the first day of March and there were still several weeks to go before the wedding. Ethel folded and wrapped the gift with great care. At the post office, the clerk raised an eyebrow as he weighed the parcel and affixed the appropriate stamps.
“No post code, Madam?”
“I should think the Royal Mail will find Buckingham Palace without the aid of a post code, don’t you?”
“You’re probably right.” Suitably chastened, the clerk placed the package in the mail sack as Ethel turned away from the counter.
A week later, the letter arrived. The postman grinned as he handed it to her.
“Buckingham Palace, Mrs Cook? I didn’t know you had friends in high places.”
“You don’t know much of anything, do you?” Ethel closed the door and took the letter through to the kitchen where she stared at it for half-an-hour. Eventually, she sat at the table with a cup of tea and attended to her royal correspondence.
II – The Wedding Day.
(From the local paper)
A local woman, found dead in her kitchen last night has been identified as Mrs. Ethel Cook, aged 73. Early indications are that she suffered a heart attack sometime in the last week. Mystery still surrounds the fact that an invitation to today’s royal wedding took pride of place on the widow’s mantelpiece. Attempts by the “Chronicle” to establish how Mrs Cook came to receive such an invitation have so far proved fruitless as the Palace are clearly preoccupied with today’s events. We will endeavour to update our readers in the near future.
(From BBC news)
“It appears that no-one can obtain the name of the designer of the royal wedding dress which has taken the world by storm today. The bride dismissed her original designers six weeks ago and everyone at the Palace has remained tight-lipped about their replacement. An announcement was expected today, but has not been forthcoming. Whoever created it – the gown can only be described as exquisite, surely the most beautiful of all gowns...
III – The Wedding Night.
In the royal suite, the bride adjusted her negligee and sat before the mirror to remove her make –up. She smiled at her husband’s reflection as he placed his hands on her shoulders and kissed the top of her head.
“You looked beautiful today, darling. I hope the dressmaker enjoyed her day. It was right to invite her.”
“I wonder if she actually got there. I didn’t get a reply. Shall we have a drink sent up before we turn in?”
The butler brought a bottle of white wine, on a silver tray with two glasses. He placed the tray on a coffee table and handed the new princess an envelope.
“Begging your pardon, Madam, this arrived earlier. A country policeman brought it.”
“How strange, thank you, Jordan.”
The envelope contained two letters.
Your Royal Highness,
The enclosed note, addressed to you was found at the home of Mrs. Ethel Cook. It seems she passed away whilst writing it. I have therefore taken it upon myself to deliver it, in honour of an old lady’s last wishes.
The second letter was unsigned.
My Dear Lady,
Thank you so much for choosing to wear my gift on your special day. I am happy that it pleases you.
It is with regret, however, that I must decline your kind invitation to attend the celebrations. I could offer a barrage of insincere excuses, but the truth of it is I haven’t a thing to wear.
"Three apples fell from heaven, one for the storyteller, one for the reader, and one for the child who might someday read it in a book."