Why mums can relate to Duchess Kate's fears about sister Pippa's wedding
OPINION: I have a young son who is only three months older than Prince George. The thought of taking him to a wedding fills me with dread as I think about the utter chaos he could potentially unleash at just the wrong moment.
So I read with complete understanding of the fears of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, about her two very young children at the wedding of her sister Pippa Middleton to James Matthews this weekend. For this is not just a hypothetical wedding or just any wedding: this is pretty much the wedding of the year, and it's on the world stage.
The event has already received a huge amount of media attention, with the arrival in London of key guests chronicled by the hour this week. During the lead-up, Kate has revealed she's feeling all of the nerves about George, who turns 4 in July, and his little sister Charlotte, 2, misbehaving.
The Duchess was speaking to a staff member on Tuesday, at the Queen's first garden party of the season at Buckingham Palace, when she reportedly aired her concerns.
"She said they were all really looking forward to her sister's wedding at the weekend, but she was a bit worried about how her children might behave," said Andrew Bates, who manages the sound for the Queen's speech. "She said she was hopeful that they would be good, but you never know at that age."
Kate and Wills are proving to be the most relatable royals ever as they navigate the same pitfalls of parenthood the rest of us experience - albeit with teams of help in tow if they so choose. But many a wedding has been punctuated with the antics of children, including royal ones. Who could forget the adorable Grace Van Cutsem at the Duke and Duchess' own wedding in 2011?
The real star of the royal wedding... Grace van Cutsem. REUTERS
I asked some of my friends to share their stories, and among lots of wonderful anecdotes about kids taking part in important family rituals, there were these:
"My son was the ring boy at my brothers wedding. After the ceremony he was really upset and crying. Turned out he thought he could keep the ring and didn't want to give it away!"
"My daughter, who was my flower girl, started screaming "I WANT BOOBAS PLEEEAAAASE!" at the top of her lungs halfway through the ceremony, and kept that up until my mum took her away."
"My son had just turned 2. My husband was a groomsman. My son was deeply unimpressed at having to stay still in my arms during the ceremony (in a waterfront park, near a playground) and screamed the whole time. It didn't matter how far or near I stood to the wedding party; he was determined to make his displeasure known. I should have just taken him to the playground and missed the whole thing."
"Our daughter felt very overwhelmed at our wedding and cried during our vows. I had to keep leaning down to cuddle her and she wanted to be picked up."
"My absolute favourite photo from my wedding is when one of my flower girls (who was about 6) walked over and sat on the train of my dress after it had been spread out behind me for a formal photo."
"One of my best friends got married and her 4-year-old was very tired after the wedding ceremony and all the shenanigans. They brought him in with much fanfare and a public introduction at the dinner. He refused at first. Then his aunty went and picked him up and brought him in. Everyone was clapping and screaming to welcome him into the room. In response he swung back and threw a huge punch at his aunt's jaw. She nearly dropped him - it was a hard punch!"
Something tells me Kate's fears are well founded - but the rest of us can only hope the littlest royals dish up some hilarity on the day.