News of Pippa Middleton’s engagement to James Matthews came as a surprise to many. (For what it’s worth, he seems to be a very solid, high quality chap. Almost like an expensive piece of wooden furniture made in, I don’t know, Chelsea..?) Anyway, today, Right Royal Mother imagines the conversation behind the walls at Kensington Apt. 1A as Pippa’s sister and brother-in-law prepare to host an engagement garden party fit for a lady. (I know, I know, obviously this post’s title was MEANT to conjure up all sorts of images. So let’s see what we can do… )
Pippa is sitting at her sister’s London kitchen table with her fiance, James, measuring her new engagement ring in millimetres with a small ruler she has found on the floor. James is doing up the drawstring on his Lycra shorts and punching numbers into his iPhone ‘for work’. They are also discussing next week, when a number of guests will be arriving at Kate & Wills’ to celebrate their engagement. The temperature outside has soared and everyone is looking extremely hot.
Pippa puts George Down…
… (sorry – that was a really terrible extended pun)… and turns to James. “You’re not going to wear that to the party next week, are you? I mean, you’ll change out of that long distance running gear before people arrive, won’t you?”
“No. Spencer’s bringing the gang from MiC. Talk about demanding environments. I need to be more prepared for endurance than I was for the Marathon des Sables. What if Louise cries?”
Kate enters the kitchen from outside. She is dripping wet as she has been teaching George how to jump in at the deep end of the enormous outdoor pool they share with Harry. She drapes Shouty’s swimming costume over the head of a stone corgi to dry and picks up her small pot of Duchy Organic vodka and slimline tonic ice cream.
“Phew. About time the sun got his hat on… it’s scorching out there!”
Maria, who is hovering with the swimming nappies, takes offence. “I definitely tied George’s Boden on. Double bow and everything.”
William puts his secateurs down and places a reassuring hand on Maria’s arm. “Don’t worry. Kate’s just referring to the weather. It is HOT. He turns to Pippa, who is now flicking through a buttock-enhancing wedding lingerie catalogue and says worriedly, “Pip-Pip, whilst we’re delighted at your news, do you think having a pool party here is really such a good idea? I’m especially rather twitched about Spencer and Harry being naughty together.”
His sister-in-law throws him a look. “Honestly,” she trills. “I’m getting a bit sick of all this male angst. I wonder if we shouldn’t just hold a ‘ladies only’ do instead?” Her eyes widen.
“But I’m a Duchess, not a Lady…” chirps Kate indignantly.
The pitch of the Middleton sisters’ voices is high enough to make the usually impassive Maria wince. The boys seize their chance. “Come on Will,” says James chummily. “Get your secateurs. I’ve got a hedge that needs pruning back at home. Could do with your help.”
“Don’t take too much off,” warns Pippa. “We’ve got a wedding to pay for as well as an engagement party, after all.”
James stops, annoyed. “Hedge, not hedge fund.” He hesitates. “But I thought your parents were footing the wedding bill?”
“Why would you think that?”
“Because, well…” James clears his throat. “It’s tradition. Though a bit of an – admittedly gorgeous – ” he pats Pippa’s derriere, “bummer for your folks,” he shrugs.
Pippa and Kate exchange glances. Kate looks at the floor and Will puts a reassuring hand on her arm. “Don’t worry. James is just referring to a tether. It is NOT,” he continues, “binding. Obviously my father and grandmother felt they should foot the bill for our wedding and for that we’re very grateful. It’s something you will have to sort out yourselves,” he says kindly.
Pippa looks worried. “I’m not sure Party Pieces has that sort of cash in the bank. We might have to raise some more as a family.” She starts to look really frightened. “Sales of Celebrate are right down. Perhaps we could…” a thought strikes here. “Sell pictures from the pool party?!”
“No,” Will, Kate, James and Maria say at the same time.
George, who has been playing at the edge of the rug with Lupo, says something in a small voice.
“What, angel?” says Kate, scraping the last of her ice-cream out with Charlotte’s silver spoon.
“You can be photographed on my mahogany rocking horse, Dobby, if you like, Auntie Pippa? Gan-Gan and that man liked it and they’re really nice.”
“That’s kind of you,” says Pippa, laughing at her nephew. “But I hate lengthy reins.”
George looks sad. Will places a reassuring hand on his arm. “Don’t worry,” he says. “Pippa was just referring to Dobby’s leather. It is ROT,” he continues, looking crossly at his sister-in-law, “that Gan-Gan, Daddy, I or you will reign for too long.” Now visibly upset, he continues. “Kate, will you be ok without, um, the men? And do you want me to look after your sparkler?” he adds thoughtfully, realising that all eyes should be on Pippa’s rock.
Kate looks at Pippa, before glancing down at her sapphire dazzler. She sighs.
“Yes please.” She places a reassuring hand on her sister’s arm. “Don’t worry about the money. Perhaps pictures are a good idea. A lady garden pool party with the MiC lot and Pippa in swimwear, flashing her ring will be quite enough to keep the tabloids happy.”
It’s time for the Mumsnet Blog Award nominations! And, if you like Right Royal Mother, I would love a nomination for Best Writer or Comedic Writer. Thank you thank you. Polly x