It turns out England’s royal family really is just like any other family. When it comes to planning a wedding, everyone, including grandma, gets involved.
“I was given a categorical: ‘No, you’ll wear this!’ William said of the reaction from his grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who demanded that William wear the Irish Guards uniform the world would eventually see him don at the Buckingham Palace altar where he and Kate wed.
“So you don’t always get what you want, put it that way,” he says of the queen’s insistence. “I knew perfectly well that it was for the best. That ‘no’ is a very good ‘no.’ So you just do as you’re told!”
The behind-the-scenes details of the royal wedding of the century were revealed by William to royal biographer Robert Hardman for his new book, Our Queen. The book, portions of which were excerpted in the UK’s Daily Mail, will be published Oct. 6 in the U.K. and in the U.S. in the spring.
The Queen wasn’t all “grandmother-zilla” though when it came to planning William and Kate’s special day. Her majesty, William recalled, showed a softer side when it came to deciding who would get a coveted invitation to the lavish affair.
‘I came into the first meeting for the wedding, post-engagement, and I was given this official list of 777 names — dignitaries, governors, all sorts of people — and not one person I knew,’ William, 29, revealed of the initial wedding plans.
“They said: ‘These are the people we should invite.’ I looked at it in absolute horror and said, ‘I think we should start again.”‘
When William went to his grandmother for advice, she told him to “bin the list.”
“‘I rang her up the next day and said: ‘Do we need to be doing this?’ And she said: ‘No. Start with your friends first and then go from there.’ And she told me to bin the list,” he said.
“She made the point that there are certain times when you have to strike the right balance,” the prince told Hardman. “And it’s advice like that, which is really key, when you know that she’s seen and done it before.”
Despite the queen’s sound wedding advice, don’t look for her majesty to hand over her crown for a second career as a wedding planner anytime soon.
Even as the Queen prepares to celebrate her diamond jubilee marking 60 years at the head of the British throne, William reveals that his grandmother, 85, has no intentions of cutting back on her royal duties.
“We do hint at taking some things off her, but she won’t have anything of it,” he says. “She’ll want to hand over knowing she’s done everything she possibly could to help, and that she’s got no regrets and no unfinished business.”
At least one possible regret for the queen is captured in Our Queen. It’s a juicy tidbit for readers, but a memory the royal couple may have wanted to let pass.
In 1954, Hardman writes, a royal videographer filmed the Queen chasing her husband, Prince Philip, out of their villa while throwing tennis shoes and a tennis racquet at him.
While the story exists, the footage will never be seen. The cameraman who captured the action destroyed the film, and was rewarded by the royals with a sandwich and a beer.