Monday, 2 April 2018

The Windsor (not exactly overly happy) Easter


Well, that all went well. The last big Windsor celebration in Windsor before the first royal wedding of the year turned out to be a little grey and grumpy. There was a row about a protocol breach, Prince Philip's health gave cause for concern and over the course of three days, everyone looked ever so slightly down in the dumps. Presumably, the chocolate kicked in after Sunday lunch at the Castle and it was smiles all round. Here's how the Windsors spent their Easter.



The Queen traditionally holds her Easter court at Windsor and this year the traditional Maundy Thursday service also took place there. On March 29th, the Queen handed out purses of specially minted coins to 92 men and 92 women - the number of recipients always matches the Monarch's age at their next birthday. They get two purses and inside one this year were special coins commemorating the Suffragette movement.



The Queen was meant to be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh but he had to stay indoors at the last moment - it's understood he has a problem with one of his hips but he is reported to be in general good health. That didn't stop panic breaking out in some quarters as he had also missed a ceremony at St. George's Hall on March 22nd to mark the Duke of York taking over from him as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.



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That flurry of worry had just subsided when it was confirmed that Philip would be missing the Easter Sunday service at St. George's Chapel, too. The Queen set off by car alone while the rest of her family were meant to be waiting for her at the door of the church.



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There was a family debut as Jack Brooksbank, fiance of Princess Eugenie, attended the Windsor Easter celebrations for the first time. As he's getting married at St. George's in October, it was a handy chance to have a sneaky peak at the set up. He kept to the back of the throng, well behind his fiancee and her sister, Princess Beatrice, while the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal took centre stage.




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Zara Tindall was also there with her brother and sister in law, Peter and Autumn Phillips, and looking very well as she enters the later stages of her pregnancy. Her daughter, four year old Mia, stayed at home. Everyone looked very smiley if rather on edge and there was good reason.



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The Queen looked far from amused as she got out of her car and stopped, pointedly, at the door of the church to look to the distance. Everyone else's faces fell and even Princess Anne looked nervous. The reason became clear soon afterwards. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived shortly after the Queen which is strictly not done and which had clearly left the Monarch rather displeased.





The Dean of Windsor did the dutiful thing and came out to greet them but while the Cambridges displayed apparently no embarrassment at keeping the Head of State and the Supreme Head of the Church of England waiting, grinning and getting ready for a good old chat with the clergyman, he was rather adamant in his determination to usher them inside. Neither William nor Kate covered themselves in glory here and their childish giggling after the service as they stood behind the Queen was equally toe curling.




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The Queen did the only correct thing and ignored them as, apparently, did everyone else for while William and Kate stood around like a pair of teenagers waiting for their own car, the rest of the Royal Family accepted the gracious invitation of the clergy and went for a reception following the service. Which means we got the always welcome sight of the Windsors marching en masse up the streets of Windsor after another Easter celebration.




Harry and Meghan weren't there but then no one had expected them to be as the prince hasn't spent Easter at Windsor since 2001. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall traditionally spend this holiday in Scotland although Charles recorded a well received message in support of Christians persecuted for their faith which Clarence House released on Good Friday and which helped put a spotlight on a serious and sometimes overlooked issue.



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All in all, this was a bit of a squib of a Windsor celebration, almost like everyone was so keyed up for the wedding in May that they weren't sure how much gusto to give to their Easter holiday. The Queen, who has held a series of audiences and interviews at Windsor since arriving there, will continue with her agenda and we'll all continue to get excited about flowers and veils. And hope that next year, everyone is well and no one keeps the Queen waiting. That's the kind of faux pas you get to make once. Do it again, and there's definitely no Easter chocolate for you.

Photo credit: BBC news still

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