Wills and Kate madness spread across the pond and in the lead-up to Friday morning’s nuptials, this colony’s residents were on tenterhooks waiting for the wedding of the century to unfold.
Fashion fanatics, for example, couldn’t stop clucking about Kate Middleton’s sartorial take on matrimony, while others speculated about how this round would stack up to the 1981 nuptials of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Closer to home, genealogy clubs mapped Okanagan bloodlines to the commoner’s fairytale wedding, while look-alike cardboard cutouts and doilies were unfurled for teas.
The latter event, held at the Dorchester, may sound a bit stiff, but it drew a large number of local seniors dressed in their finest garb, willing to partake in a moment of Royal-inspired frivolity. For some, the Royal hubbub was less about Kate and William, than it was a catalyst for fond recollections.
“Every time I hear about Royalty, I think of my mother and father,” said Gwendolyn Boymer. “They were Irish, and they had gone to see the throne and my father said ‘I’m going to put my initials on there.’”
Her mother, naturally, started from the position of “don’t you dare” but was convinced in the end. It was the ’30s, so security was likely lighter and with nobody to stop him he went ahead, with his wife holding his feet to steady him as he leaned below the seat.
“Now when I think of Royalty, I can see my dad on the seat, dangling over the edge, carving the initials J.M.”
For Jim Hayes, the morning’s ritual will give him another chance to see a smile that impressed him so long ago.
“I was in the Air Force team when Her Majesty came to Kelowna in 1971,” he said. “She walked by and I was an escort and she gave me a beautiful, lovely smile—she really was a gracious lady.”
In some ways the crowd at the Dorchester are the expected audience for a Royal wedding, as they can remember days when the family was held in higher esteem, but it’s an event that’s caught the imaginations of the most unlikely Royalists.
Amid all the excitement is an unlikely collective of Kelowna artists who tentatively entered the fray with a catchy ode to William and Kate.
“We started writing a love song, and then we had this twist in the end that it was being filmed with cameras continually around them,” said songwriter Andrew Smith, who collaborated with fellow songwriters Norm Strauss, Ann Vriend and Zachari Smith to create the aptly named, William and Kate Love Song.
Through the lyrics, listeners get to see the couple meeting at their favourite café in Kensington, watching classic movies late at night and being followed by paparazzi, in a bit of fairy tale escapism.
But, it wasn’t always deigned that way.
“We didn’t discover it was about Will and Kate until the end of the song,” said Smith. “So that’s how the song led us to be Royal watchers.”
Watching, in fact, has led to being watched.
“We got a lot of buzz about it,” said producer, and local video artist Nico Boesten, who helped bring the visuals to the music when he recruited Cailas Wiebe to create an amazing quick-draw video to accompany it.
“We’ve been picked up on a lot of blogs, and BBC America even used it. The YouTube site has 14,000 (now 17,000) hits and we’re on the front page of Google when you type in William and Kate—it’s been a hit.”
It’s a hit that’s taught the newly formed Tribehouse collective the power of collaboration, as their website Roadmapmusic.com has seen a lot more hits since the video and song were uploaded.
And, though its reach is clearly widespread, there’s still one thing missing. “It would (have been) cool to get an invite,” joked singer, songwriter Strauss.
To hear the song and see the video go to williamandkatesong.com.