Oak Bay resident Jenni Hopkyns and Victoria resident Vivienne Phillips will show some true Canadian spirit among the crowds that gather in Windsor, England for the royal wedding. This is the second royal wedding they have crashed, the first – pictured here – was William and Kate’s in 2011. (Erin McCracken/Black Press)

Wedding crashers head to England for royal nuptials

B.C. friends head overseas for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding

While not everyone agrees with the monarchy, only a curmudgeon would pooh-pooh an international celebration in the name of love.

And while folks from B.C. to England and beyond will be celebrating the nuptials as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say ‘I do’ May 19, watching a live stream is simply not good enough for a pair of B.C. women.

Two friends who crashed their first royal wedding when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got hitched in 2011, leave for Windsor Tuesday to crash their second.

The friends are originally from the United Kingdom – Jenni Hopkyns was born in England and Vivienne Phillips is from South Wales – and decided to make royal weddings the centrepiece of their vacations.

“Nobody does pomp and ceremony like the Brits,” said Hopkyns, now an Oak Bay resident.

For the wedding of Will and Kate, the pair had entered Trafalgar Square decked out in red and white top hats and shirts, with temporary maple leaf tattoos on their cheeks, and proudly waving Canada flags. Their outfits drew a lot of attention both from the crowd and from media. Ben Mulroney, who was running eTalk from scaffolding in the square, sent a runner down to interview the pair.

“We went as very loud and proud Canadians,” said Hopkyns. “People kept saying ‘Hey Canada, can we buy a beer?’”

Programs were passed out as people entered the square to watch the wedding on big screens. The air was electric as everyone said the prayers and sang the hymns together.

“It was like you were in the front row of the church,” said Hopkyns.

As soon as Hopkyns and Phillips heard that Harry and Meghan had set a date, the duo immediately tried to find accommodation. But Windsor is a small village and the media were quick to scoop all that was available. So the pair are renting a little cottage about 12 miles west of Windsor for three or four nights.

“We are going to go into Windsor every day, because all kinds of things will be happening in the days before the wedding,” said Hopkyns. “We are busy making our fascinators now. They will be truly Canadian.”

RELATED: Canadian teen lands invite to Royal wedding

For those that can’t make it over to England, there are a few events planned around Victoria – though the timing of the events will separate the diehard fans from those with just an interest.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tie the knot inside the 15th-century St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The wedding is planned for noon local time, which means 4 a.m. in Victoria, B.C..

The Union Club in downtown Victoria is hosting a buffet breakfast from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. with a special dress code and big screens streaming the wedding.

“The dress code is wedding attire as if you were attending a wedding, but instead you are coming to eat breakfast at 3 o’clock in the morning,” said Jonathan Collard of the Union Club.

The all-you-can-eat buffet is $55 for members. Non-members looking to attend can book through the Royal Commonwealth Society at 778-679-9331 or online.

If breakfast in the middle of the night doesn’t tickle your fancy, the Fairmont Empress is running a special royal tea menu for the month of May and will be screening the royal wedding all day on May 19 in the Q Bar. They are also featuring some special cocktails during wedding week.

“We have a really cool cocktail menu right now and it is all of the royal’s favorites,” said Tracey Drake, director of public relations for Fairmont Empress.

To help stay up to date on the details of the wedding, Hopkyns and Phillips will be our Black Press foreign correspondents, reporting back on all the exciting happenings.

Stay tuned.

RELATED: Royals visit Cridge Centre to celebrate ‘overcomers’

Big wedding makes for small world

Jenni Hopkyns and Vivienne Phillips had a very small world experience while pressed shoulder-to-shoulder in the crowd for Will and Kate’s wedding.

Two women in front of them heard Vivienne say Jenni’s name. One turned and said her name was Jenny too, leading them to chat about where they were from. The women in front had come by train from a small town in England three hours away. With it being evident from their outfits that Hopkyns and Phillips were from Canada, one exclaimed that she had been in Canada once.

“Oh no, it’s going to be a ‘Do you know my cousin in Toronto thing?’” Hopkyns said she thought at the time.

But as it turned out the woman had gone to Edmonton where Hopkyns happened to be raised. When Hopkyns asked her where she worked when she was there, she was surprised when the answer was Alberta Motor Association.

”I said ‘Well, here is a long shot but my brother just retired after 37 years of working there. Would you happen to know him?’” said Hopkyns.

When she said her brother’s name, the woman screamed.

“Know him? I dated him!”

Amazed, Hopkyns took a photo of her and texted it to her brother. Though it was the middle of the night in Canada, he responded right away. The two caught up on the phone and the woman ended up going to Edmonton the next summer with her husband and kids to visit Hopkyn’s brother.

It really is a small world after all.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

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Oak Bay resident Jenni Hopkyns and Victoria resident Vivienne Phillips will show some true Canadian spirit among the crowds that gather in Windsor, England for the royal wedding. This is the second royal wedding they have crashed, the first – pictured here – was William and Kate’s in 2011. (Erin McCracken/Black Press)

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