Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tuning in at dawn to pomp and circumstance

By Lee Ballantyne

BARRIE - I hadn't planned to tune in to the mislabelled “wedding of the century” on Friday, but I have changed my mind.

As I will be up anyway, dressed in my ratty robe, sipping a coffee, I might just as well turn on the telly and watch a bit of the pomp and circumstance as Prince William and Kate Middleton get hitched.

My bedmate declined my invitation to wake her early so she could share in the experience. I think her disdain for anything monarchist may be rooted in her pride of French ancestor Louis Hébert, an apothecary who was the first settler in Quebec in 1617.

My ancestors didn't show up for another 200 years or so, and since our origins are from Celts defending the highlands of Scotland, we tend to have a lot of reasons for keeping a wary eye on the royals.

I also have a selfish reason for watching the nuptials. I'm hoping to get a glimpse of an extremely distant cousin.

You may be surprised to learn there will be a Ballantyne among the wedding guests. I certainly was.

Sir Frederick Ballantyne, the governor general of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, will be sitting down to some bubble and squeak with 1,900 other swells. St. Vincent is located between Grenada and St. Lucia, west of Barbados. Discovering that someone who may be a 15th cousin thrice removed is a Head of State makes me wonder if I would be welcome to drop in for a visit. Wouldn't hurt to ask.

One could certainly expect that Sir Fred, if he's given the chance, will invite the newlyweds to stop by if they're in the neighbourhood.

Kate is a commoner which seems to have encouraged ethnic ancestry researchers to find some historic family links, including being a distant cousin of George Washington. Sure she is. It wouldn't be as interesting if it turned out she were related to Millard Fillmore.

I have been wondering what the lovebirds call each other behind closed palace doors.

Catherine Elizabeth goes by Kate. It's unlikely anybody calls the groom Willy or Bill. His official title is His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales. Kate will take the title of Her Royal Highness Princess William of Wales after she says I do.

I would like to think they affectionately call each other Cuddle Bear and Sugar Britches, but chances are it's something as simple as Prince and Princess.

If you haven't made any other plans, and that irritating mourning dove coos you awake just before dawn Friday, you might as well grab the remote. Most coverage begins at 4 a.m.

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