Beyond Words

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A Wedding Fit For A Duchess May 20, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 7:45 pm

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I’m sitting here on a rainy day feeling totally rested after a long night. No, I wasn’t out dancing the night away; I was up all night in anticipation of…wait for it…The Royal Wedding! Yes, I’m that crazy. Some longtime girlfriends and I had a sleepover Friday night complete with crowns, Union Jacks, tea and scones, and Elderflower. We knew full well we’d have to get up bright and early to watch American Meghan Markle become an official member of Britain’s royal family as she married Prince Harry so we dutifully set our alarms for 4 a.m. because we wanted to watch it all live. Me? I didn’t sleep a wink, choosing instead to catch up with and visit the night away with one of the fellow crazy ladies.


But enough about me, let’s get on with the wedding!



The Dress

First things first: the dress. In a word: perfection. I loved it. I loved its simplicity, its elegance, and its tailoring. It’s almost as though each of the subsequent royal brides have tapered their gowns more and more. It all started (in my mind at least) with young Diana Spencer’s ginormous “all about the ‘80s” voluminous gown. As much as I hate to say it, I didn’t personally love it, but I do love all it stood for and that Di chose then somewhat unknown designers to create it. It was fairy tale and it was a gown only a princess could wear. Then came Kate Middleton and her lovely lace Alexander McQueen gown. So pretty. So feminine. So romantic. Fast forward to yesterday and we have Markle’s very leek boatneck gown by Claire Waight Keller for the House of Givenchy. The gown was stunning in its simplicity. It was constructed from double-bonded silk with a matte finish that added just a bit of flash to its otherwise low-key silhouette.



Entrance good

Some reviews have come in saying it was too plain and even me, a “Say Yes to the Dress” devoted watcher, thought for just a hot minute, “maybe it could use a rhinestone belt or a strand of pearls.” But then I thought “NO!” It was flawless as is. I also thought back to the time when a young Carla was shopping for wedding dresses with her mom. I tried on dress after dress that incorporated lace, sequins, pearls, every kind of adornment and volume you could find. Nothing clicked though so I asked the attendant if she had any dresses that were sparkle and shine free. She looked at me funny and said there was one but she didn’t think I would like it. I tried it on, fell in love, and would choose it again today. Much like Meghan’s, it was simple and adornment free.


What mine didn’t have was Meghan’s gorgeous and oh-so-long veil along with a royal tiara….Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara to be exact. Even though I was hoping she’d wear the Spencer tiara I loved it all and say “Bravo Meghan!”



Commentary has also poured in about Meghan’s hair. She had a piece up top that kept falling and the back could have maybe used a few more bobby pins, but it all made her just a little bit real. Lastly, I’ve heard she could have used a bit more lip color. I loved her natural freckled face and full lips. She’s a natural stunner so why cover it all up?





The Groom

Who doesn’t love Prince Harry? Even before Prince William lost his hair, Harry was always considered the “hot” one by my daughter. I didn’t see it right away, but I certainly did as the years passed. He is most definitely his mother’s son and he looked so happy and in love at the wedding. I loved watching him and Wills arrive together in their military best and seeing him gaze adoringly at his lovely bride. When he told Meghan “You look amazing” as she joined him at the altar, hearts broke near and far. He is smitten and love looks good on him and so does a wedding band, which he is choosing to wear; another break from tradition.




The Ceremony

Nearly 2 billion people are said to have watched the event and how glorious was the weather and the bride and groom’s choice of tons of natural flowers adorning the chapel? Meghan continued to break tradition in that she entered the church alone, attended only by two young boys carrying her veil train. It was magical and brave at the same time. About halfway up the aisle, Harry’s dad Prince Charles joined her and presented her to his son. I’m not a Prince Charles fan, but it was moving.



The wedding was also  a bit untraditional in that it took place at Windsor Castle. Even though Windsor is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, most royal weddings and affairs take place at either Saint Paul’s Cathedral or Westminster Abbey, both in London. I kinda like that they chose the small and quaint streets of Windsor to greet the crowds in the historic open aired Ascot Landau carriage. Say what you will, but no one does it like the Brits. No one.


No review can be done without mentioning Bishop Michael Bruce Curry’s sermon about love that mentioned, among other things, slavery and Martin Luther King, Jr. I was skeptical about it while watching it as shot after shot of uncomfortable Brits in the audience either squirmed or laughed, but in watching it again later, it was actually a great little message. Maybe a bit too long and long on posturing, but the intent was good. Still, the reaction of Harry’s cousin Zara Phillips is sure to go down in meme history. Then there was the gospel choir singing “Stand By Me.” Beautifully done but non-traditional for sure.



With mom

Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, is also trending, partly because she was the only family member invited to the wedding and partly because of her nose ring. To be sure, it was a simple diamond stud on her right nostril, but something probably never seen on an MOTB at a royal wedding. I thought she looked gorgeous albeit lonely as she sat in the wedding of her only child alone, but beautiful.


Mom watches

I really, really liked her pistachio green Oscar de la Renta coat and dress and couldn’t help but think about all that was going on in her head as she rode in a royal carriage with her daughter and watched as she married a real life prince.  A multitude of memories surely filled her proud and grateful heart and warms mine.


The part I enjoyed most about the ceremony was just watching Meghan and Harry. The two are clearly in love and are soul mates. I read something that said “find a girl or guy who looks at you the way Meghan and Harry do.” Amen.



And speaking of amen, how cool was it that “This Little Light of Mine” and its celebratory “amens” was played outside as the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex exited the chapel?


Lastly, the ties to Di cannot go unnoticed. Much has been written that two of the diamond’s in Meghan’s ring were formerly Diana’s, but did you know her bouquet contained Forget-Me-Knots, which were Princess Di’s favorite? In addition, rumors have swirled that the empty chair next to William in the chapel was “for” his and Harry’s momma, Di’s sister Lady Jane Fellowes did one of the readings, the Welsh hymm “Guide Me O Thy Great Redeemer” was also sung at Diana’s funeral, and the aquamarine ring Meghan wore later in the evening was a gift from Harry and was his mom’s. I die.



The Guests and The Fashion

Another somewhat break in tradition, the ceremony wasn’t an official state affair and was attended “only” by an intimate (on royal scale) 600 guests, including 30 royals and heads and no true heads of state per se. Instead, guests included many of Meghan’s “Suits” costars and other commoners. Common or not, the fashion was not. Here is my recap:


Amal Clooney

Hands down the best dressed guest. Her marigold yellow Stella McCartney sheath with cap sleeves and a to die for small train was the best of the best, as was the matching netted hat and neutral pumps. My friends and I swooned and never wavered that she won the day.


Dame Major good

Dame Norma Major

The wife of former British Prime Minister John Major, Dame Norma lived up to her title in a pale yellow suit that was tailored to perfection and age appropriate. She looked elegant and relaxed and proved you don’t have to go overboard to look good.


Karen Spencer

Karen Spencer

Call me crazy but I liked Countess Spencer’s custom Pamella Rowland violet caplet dress and matching fascinator. The wife of Diana’s brother Charles, the countess was every bit royal and stunning and his tie matched her dress!


Lady Kitty Spencer

Lady Kitty Spencer

Diana’s niece through her brother and close cousin of Harry, the Dolce and Gabbana model did them proud in a green and floral dress and fascinator with matching shoes and bag. She is stunning!



Sarah Ferguson

Not only was I so happy to see Fergie on the invite list (she’ll forever be a favorite of mine), I thought she looked great. She’s always had some of the best legs in London, and she didn’t disappoint in a navy dress and matching jacket with white piping by Emma Louise Design. She flawlessly accessorized her look with a matching pillbox hat with embellished navy netting.


Sarah Rafferty

Sarah Rafferty

I had never heard of Rafferty, but apparently she is an actress and friend of the bride and she looked amazing in a navy dress with on-trend bell and embellished sleeves and matching fascinator.



Jessica Mulroney

I wasn’t familiar with Ms. Mulroney either but I certainly am now. Her royal blue custom tea-length fit and flare with cap sleeves by Di Carlo Couture was stand-out chic and I love that she kept her shoes neutral. She is one of Meghan’s BFFs and her twin boys carried her veil train.



Kate Middleton

What doesn’t the Duchess of Cambridge wear that I don’t love? She stunned in a prim and proper primrose yellow wool silk tailored Alexander McQueen (who also designed her wedding dress) coat and dress along with a perfect Philip Treacy hat and her signature pumps, this time courtesy Jimmy Choo. How cute was Princess Charlotte too?



Sophie, Countess of Wessex

I’ve always liked Sophie, wife of Harry’s uncle Prince Edward. She’s very low key, doesn’t get a lot of press, but she killed it in a periwinkle blue ankle-dusting skirt and matching beaded top by Suzannah with a coordinated Jane Taylor feathery fascinator.



The Queen

Never too shy to wear a little color, Queen Elizabeth looked fabulous in a lime-colored silk tweed coat and floral dress by Stewart Parvin. I loved it the instant I saw it and loved the pop of purple in her Angela Kelly hat. Fun fact: the Queen often chooses bright and stand out colors because she wants people (who often stand 10 deep) to be able to see her in a crowd.


And now, the biggest disappointment of the day: Pippa Middleton. Ugh.


Pippa and can

Remember how Kate’s sister stole the show at her wedding to Prince William? Well, she’s trending again, but not in a good way. In a true “what was she thinking” moment, Pippa was one of the first televised to arrive and upon seeing her mint green and floral dress, one of my girlfriends immediately dubbed it an “Old Navy dress.” Don’t get me wrong, I love Old Navy, but for a royal wedding?  NO way!


We weren’t alone in our disappointment, as the internet has exploded and is comparing her dress to a can of Arizona green tea. Never a good thing to be compared to a can of anything but what great publicity for the tea!


Honorable mentions: I thought Serena Williams looked good but hated her necklace; Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice stepped up their game and also looked good, especially Eugenie and her Jackie O vibe; I liked Oprah’s pale pink Stella McCartney dress and her shoe choice but thought her hat was too big but hats off to her for making a last minute fashion change because she thought her first choice was too white; and Victoria Beckham stayed true to her frozen B face and unmemorable dress.



Meghan Markle’s wedding dress will undoubtedly remain memorable for years to come, as will the stunning high neck halter top white dress by Stella McCartney she wore as she and Harry departed a post-wedding reception. And how handsome does he look in a “simple” tux?!



It’s no secret that Meghan Markle is breaking British royalty barriers, being not only American but also older than Harry, divorced, and biracial. If the wedding proved anything though, it’s that true love is a powerful thing and is what really matters. As the choir sang, “I won’t be afraid, just as long as you stand by me.” Here’s hoping love stands the test of time for Harry and Meghan and that he stands by her and she by him.






Royally American May 15, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 1:57 am




Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with British royalty…particularly Princess Diana. My daughter of course knows this and said she loves me more than I love Princess Di on her Mother’s Day social media post. My friend Shirley knows this; she sent me a Meghan and Harry tea cup for my birthday. Considering this, you can imagine how excited I am about this Saturday’s Royal Wedding. So excited, that some girlfriends and I are having a sleepover Friday night and waking up bright and early to watch the festivities live in our jammies with jam and scones.


Quick backstory. One of the ladies and I have a sad royal connection. I was at her house the night Diana died in that tragic car crash in Paris. I will never, ever forget where I was and as fate would have it, she’s hosting the slumber party. We’ve all known each other for more years than I care to say and have all written for a living at one time or another, so one of them shared a funny video of British talk show hosts making fun of American English.


It’s All Rubbish…or Garbage?

Jokes were on us as they made fun of Americans complicating English, claiming we have changed it to help us “understand it better.” They also teased us for needing a bit more explanation than Brits do. We’ve made a simple “bin” a “waste paper basket,” “horse riding” “horseback riding,” “squash” “racquet ball,” and “glasses” “eye glasses.” Funny blokes, right?


There’s an old saying that America and Britain are two great countries divided by a common language and if you ask a Brit’s opinion, they’ll likely say “You don’t speak English, you speak American.” Off with their heads!



But, with American Meghan Marckle marrying Prince Harry this Saturday, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at the two countries and their versions of the same language. First though, can we just talk about a British accent?


I die. I die to hear someone speak with a British accent. They could tell me to F off and I’d probably say “thank you.” It is so proper. So pure. So aristocratic and Downton Abbeyish. I love how they say “nay-buh” not neigh-brrrr and “gare-raj” not “guh-raj.” On the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” Lisa Vanderpump can say the exact same thing in her British accent that American Lisa Rinna says but it will feel oh-so different.


UK or GB?

Let’s first get something else out of the way: the difference between England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom. In short, England is a country, this we know. Great Britain consists of the countries England, Scotland, and Wales and is merely a geographical term regarding the land mass those three encompass.


The United Kingdom is what we Americans might call the “big dog” and its full name is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It consists of all of Great Britain plus Northern Ireland and it is a sovereign state represented by one central government. The four are considered separate in the minds of locals and sporting events, but all powers come from the UK. It’s kinda like the 50 states being separate states but “ruled” by a nation of laws. They all have their own flags, and did you know Britain’s “Union Jack” combines aspects of all three? It consists of the red cross of England’s Saint George, the white saltire diagonal cross of Scotland’s Saint Andrew, and the red saltire of Ireland’s beloved Saint Patrick.


To be sure and as is the case in the U.S., there are many different English accents in the U.K. Comparing an Irish accent to a Scottish accent is like comparing a Boston accent with a Bama one and even parts of London speak differently. When in doubt, revisit “My Fair Lady.”


As for the people, anyone from the UK can call themselves British, although Scots prefer Scottish and those from Wales prefer Welsh. It gets a little more complicated in Northern Ireland where Protestants often consider themselves British but most Catholics consider themselves Irish.


As for the law of the land and where the Royal Family comes into play, the UK is a monarchy and its Monarch and Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II. Since the monarchy is constitutional, the Queen is limited to non-partisan functions but she does appoint the Prime Minister, is Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces, and is the Head of the Church of England. (The Church of England is the state church of England. A schism with the Papacy occurred in 1534 when Henry VIII was denied an annulment and he declared himself the supreme head of the Church of England.)


English Speakers

Okay, back to English. How did our two countries get in this “he said, she said” battle between the language we both speak? Well, let’s give credit where credit is due and tip our bowlers to the Brits as they were speaking English long before “new” England and the rest of the U.S. was even around.


Let’s start first with vocabulary. We both use the same word for many things, but in England “toilet” is “loo,” you “queue up” not stand in line, an elevator is a “lift,” you live in a “flat” not an apartment, you go on “holiday” not a vacation, and you “flick” channels not change them on a TV. Heard of fish and chips? Well, those chips aren’t really the “chips” Americans think of but rather French fries. Funny thing is that Brits traditionally call all vacuums “Hoovers,” which is an American company. I guess you could say we’re both a little crazy…or looney.


Then there’s that little thing where a Brit says they’re going to university or hospital, not THE university or THE hospital. They also spell things differently, but for that, we have someone named Webster to thank.


Spellcheck It

Noah Webster was an American lexicographer who took it upon himself to reform English spelling in the late 1700s, just in time for America to claim its independence from England. Webster wanted all words to be spelled how they sound so he changed words like “colour” to “color” and “realise” to “realize.” (My spellcheck immediately corrected the former, but if I was in England, that wouldn’t be the case.) Some in Britain call this “Spelling Imperialism,” but in true American fashion, we still use advertise and merchandise and although it might still polarize some, it is a compromise.


Brits tend to use “shall” a wee bit more than we Americans in that they would ask, “Shall we eat,” rather than “Should we eat?” They also refrain from using “do not,” saying “You needn’t get so angry” rather than “You don’t have to get so angry.” Something else the Brits do that I love is how they turn statements into questions without using the preverbial tag. In the States we’d ask, “You don’t really care, do you?” In Britain, the statement becomes a question merely by asking it as one through voice inflection and by leaving off the “do you?”


Whatever the case, we English speaking country cousins still have a mutual respect for each another and we are allies through thick and thin. Or so I think. Americans admire British rock and royalty and they appreciate our confidence and capitalism. Best of all perhaps, is that we both say “cheers” when toasting.


So cheers to Meghan and Harry. May our American duchess-to-be-bring a whole lot of stars and stripes to the UK and mix it with just a wee bit of Union Jack. She may not be Di or Kate, but one thing’s for sure; Meghan Marckle is going to bloody sparkle! Here here!