It is 10 years since the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Or, as ITV would have it, The Day Will and Kate Got Married. No standing on ceremony here, we’re on first name terms.
The big name in the credits was Gary Goldsmith. Uncle Gary: brother of Carole Middleton, former owner of Ibiza’s Maison de Bang Bang, and family black sheep. If the programme-makers had any scruples about hiring a man whose last media outing was a court appearance for punching his wife to the floor as she got out of a taxi (£5,000 fine, 12-month community order), they were quickly swept away by the thrill of signing up an actual relative.
You could almost hear the exhalations of relief from Bucklebury as Uncle Gary made it to the end of the hour without saying anything embarrassing. Although he did cheerily admit that, after receiving a call from his sister urging him not to discuss the fact that Kate had begun dating Prince William, he put the phone down and immediately bragged to his work colleagues: “I think I’m going to be uncle to the future Queen!”
Luckily, others were more discreet. Gemma Murray spent months embroidering the lace for the veil, keeping the job so secret that she only told her own fiancé on the day itself.
The producers coaxed lovely anecdotes from some of the “ordinary” wedding guests – the Middletons’ local pub landlord and butchers, the royal protection officer who had watched over the princes since they were small, the cake maker whose creation was so big that it required a door to be taken off its hinges at Buckingham Palace.
No one had a more nerve-jangling job on that day than the Scotland Yard commander charged with seeing the event through while guarding against potential threats from anarchists, al-Qaeda and one National Lampoon’s-level tourist who managed to drive right through the Met’s ring of steel and park up outside the Goring Hotel, where the Duchess was getting ready.
Mostly, the programme was an enjoyable look back at a happy day. But the odd sour note crept into the voice-over. Teenage Kate had been accepted to Edinburgh University rather than St Andrews “but for unknown reasons she had a sudden change of plan” (subtext: she’s a royal gold-digger). It was a day that united a family “unaware of the future discord that would divide them” (enjoy it while it lasts, kids – Harry and Meghan are going to ruin everything). Come on, ITV, nobody likes a bitchy wedding guest.