April 27, 2011 | Back to: Columns

County Brits sound off on royal wedding

Though it's vows to be exchanged in May that have had her full attention in recent weeks, Susannah Jones says she'll set aside her duties as her daughter's wedding planner early Friday morning to join an expected 2 billion people watching the British royal wedding.

In fact, Prince William and Kate Middleton's matrimony could become the all-time, most-watched TV show by Americans, surpassing February's Super Bowl that drew 111 million viewers.

And Jones is one several Brits living in Nevada County who plans to join them.

"I'm super excited," Jones said. "I'll be getting up to watch it. Actually, I'm not going to get up. I'll stay in bed and watch it with some hot chocolate.

"I once met Diana (Princess of Wales) and I met her mother. I worked at a sporting goods store in England and her mum used to come in. I met Diana once at a church's cancer benefit. ... When your amongst people in the royal family, or other dignitaries for that matter, there's definitely a different vibe with them. They definitely have a presence."

Peter Lockyer, who lives in Penn Valley, said he's been taken aback a bit by the media coverage, including TV commercials tying jewelry sales to the royal wedding with commentators using obviously fake British accents.

"I get wry amusement out of seeing how it's in all the tabloid newspapers," said Lockyer, who moved to Nevada County from London in 1998 when his wife, Juliet Erickson, sought to return to her California roots.

Lockyer said a running joke in England is that one of the London newspaper's 1973 coverage of Princess Anne's wedding showed how much many Britons followed royal weddings.

"The Financial Times downplays it the most," he said. "They ran a small story about how there was traffic chaos caused by the wedding of Princess Anne.

"I think the reaction in the UK is that Good Friday was a holiday and the Monday after Easter was a holiday. This Friday is a public holiday and the first of Monday in May is a holiday. So they will have had four holidays out of the past 11 days. That's how the UK would view it."

Steve Matthews, owner of Ironworks Athletic Club, is among those from the UK who don't take even a passing interest in wedding. Over breakfast with his father, who is visiting from England, a waitress struck up a conversation about Friday's big day.

But it wasn't exactly the small talk they were looking for.

"My dad is here on vacation and he's sick and tired of hearing about it," said Matthews, who has lived in Grass Valley since 1998, when he opened a GNC vitamin and supplement store. "I don't care about it. I've noticed more Americans are into it than the Brits I know in this town.

"The truth of the matter is there are very few Royalists anymore. The biggest thing in England is that Camilla (Prince Charles' wife) could become the queen. That's the biggest thing right now, because she's not liked."

For Jones, who hails from Cornwall, England - from where many of the gold miners who helped build Grass Valley came more than a century ago - Friday's wedding is a can't-miss event. Along with celebrating her British heritage, she said she will enjoy watching the traditional royal wedding, where customary practices are so prevalent.

Jones brought her then 6-year-old daughter, Kristina, to the United States as a single mother without much more than a suitcase between them. After working as an assets manager for a Dallas real estate firm, her family moved to the Rough and Ready home where they'll host a traditional wedding of their own on May 14.

"The traditions will be in place," Jones said. "Having those customs and things really does make things go smoothly, because there's no confusion about who does what. It's good to have that so everyone knows their place.

"And they're going to see a most beautiful bride."

The occasion of Alex Elliott and Kristina Jones exchanging vows will have an international feel all its own, as Alastair Clark, the father of the bride and a Scottish colonial who will travel from Kenya, will be donning a Scottish kilt, Jones said.

As she headed off to check the alterations of her daughter's wedding dress Wednesday afternoon, Jones said she's ready to relax and revel in the regal moment in the early hours of Friday morning.

"I'm looking forward to it," Jones said. "I want to see the dress ... to see if it's a splendid one like Kristina's."

To contact City Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail bhamilton@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4249.

Brian Hamilton
bhamilton@theunion.com

Follow Me

Explore Related Articles

The Union Updated Apr 28, 2011 05:04PM Published Apr 27, 2011 11:45PM Copyright 2011 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.