British Royal Wedding Required Traditions


With all the buzz about England’s next Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle, Miss Meredith Sweetpea’s mind has turned to romance. There are so many things to consider when planning a wedding. Especially so when marrying into the royal family.

In British tradition, there are a number of age-old royal wedding requirements.

  • The monarch must permit the marriage in writing for the six heirs closest in line to the throne.
  • A formal engagement announcement must be made by Kensington Palace, followed by a public photo session and joint interview. Prince Harry and Ms. Markle posed for the press in the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace.
  • The king or queen is the Head of the Protestant Anglican Church of England, therefore they and anyone they marry must be a member of the Church of England or they will lose the right to the throne. Ms. Markle will be baptized into the Church of England prior to the wedding.
  • Royal brides must wear a white gown, and customary lace, ever since Queen Victoria wore a white gown at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840.
  • Royal grooms must wear a military uniform. Prince Albert was the one to start this trend.
  • In Queen Victoria’s bridal bouquet was a sprig of myrtle, expected to harbinger love and good fortune int he marriage. Victoria received the myrtle bush from Albert’s grandmother and planted it on the Isle of Wight. Sprigs of myrtle have been provided from this bush for royal weddings ever since.
  • The bride must wear a tiara. Princess Diana wore a Spencer family tiara for her wedding to Prince Charles. Catherine Middleton borrowed the Cartier “Halo” tiara that was originally given by King George VI to his wife, Queen Elizabeth, then given to Princess Elizabeth on her 18th birthday.
  • The bride’s wedding band must be made from the gold taken from a specific mine in Wales.
  • The bride must lay her wedding bouquet at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior after the ceremony. Every royal bride has done so since the former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon following her wedding to Prince Albert.
  • There are generally two receptions: one between 11 am and noon with a lunch or brunch, and another in the evening with dinner and dancing.
  • No shellfish can be served at a royal wedding. Or garlic.
  • The wedding cakes must include a fruitcake.

–Excerpted from The Knot, “Will Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Break Any of These Royal Wedding Traditions?” by Maggie Seaver.

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Wedding Omens and Predictions


Queenb-Victoria-Orange-BlossomsFor centuries, people declared that there were omens that could predict weddings and happy marriages. Here are some of the ones the Victorians believed, and some we still believe today:

You (or someone you know) will be married soon when:

  • A chicken enters your house with a straw in i ts mouth, which it leaves behind.
  • A mockingbird flies over your house.
  • A white dove comes near your house.
  • A spider descends from the ceiling and “dances” up and down.
  • A cow moos at night.

Your marriage will be happy if:

  • You feed a cat at of one of your old shoes just before you marry.
  • A cat sneezes in front of the (or your) bride on the day before the wedding.
  • Either party dreams about the wedding day.
  • You marry in June.
  • Your wedding ceremony lasts between a half hour and an hour (the rising hand of the clock denotes rising fortune.)
  • You marry in the afternoon.
  • You marry on a beautiful day.
  • A ray of sunshine falls on you as you leave the church.
  • It snows on your wedding day.
  • You see a lamb or dove on the way to the church.
  • A flock of white birds flies directly over you on the way to the wedding.
  • You carry bread in your pocket and throw it away on your wedding day.
  • A spider crawls on the wedding dress just before the ceremony.
  • The bride wears earrings during the ceremony.
  • The bridge has her hair done and veil put on by a happily-married woman.
  • A new dime is placed in the bride’s left shoe just before she walks down the aisle.
  • Orange blossoms are used in the wedding decorations.
  • You carry a pinch of salt to the church.
  • The bridegroom carries a horseshoe in his pocket during the ceremony.
  • The bride cries on her wedding day.
  • You both step into, and out of, the church on your right foot first.

There are also don’ts that you should heed:

  • Don’t get married to someone born in the same month as you.
  • Dont’t get married on your birthday.
  • Don’t get married during Lent.
  • Don’t postpone your wedding.
  • Don’t let the groom see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony.
  • Don’t let the bride wear pearls (each pearl represents a tear).
  • Don’t get married in a church with bats (if it flies over you, it will bring bad luck.)
  • Finally, don’t believe everything you read!

Whew, with all of these things to worry about, it’s a wonder people get married at all!

–Excerpted from “Everything Romantic: A Book for Lovers” by Michael Newman

Cooking From Scratch is an Art Form


bacon-and-cheddar-savory-scones

Savory Scones

When I tell people I cook everything from scratch, I get one of three responses: “Good for you,” “I don’t cook,” and “Why?”

Which begs me to think, “Have we truly lost the art form of creating a delicious meal?”

“Cooking can be an act of love and delight, or it can be yet another exercise in racing through life on automatic pilot–never stopping for a moment to notice, feel, or taste. Cooking performed as an act of love brings us renewed energy and vigor-cooking performed on auto pilot is draining.

When we dook in a hands-on, no-rush style, we are forced to stop, taste, feel, smell, see, and experience our food. Isn’t this what life is all about? Isn’t this what is missing from a harried life?”     –excerpted from The Simple Living Guide, by Janet Luhrs

Cooking meals, and living simply, can take some planning ahead. But all you need are simple ingredients stored in your pantry. Friends of mine enjoy it when we get hungry and I announce that we are going to play “Refrigerator Roulette.” We open the pantry wide and see what ingredients we have and put together the most scrumptious meal! They can’t believe it. We might have crepes with strawberries and chocolate syrup, green beans with toasted almonds, or tuna salad at a moment’s notice. With the addition of fresh ingredients, there is a plethora of possibilities from the most basic of pantry-stocked essentials.

Contrast this with pulling out a cardboard-like toaster pizza or microwaving a canned soup. Meredith Sweetpea believes there is no comparison.

Eating well, especially with natural foods may also take a bit of adjustment. The flavors can be much more subdued, and there is a noticeable lack of salt found in processed foods. On the other hand, you will enjoy the delectable aromas that arise from natural cooking, and as your taste buds adjust, you will begin to notice that processed foods just don’t taste good. You will start to appreciate the aromas, tastes and colors of chemical- and preservative-free food and drinks.

Make your own salad dressings; it only takes a minute. Squeeze lemons for lemonade. Prep a chicken dish for tossing into the oven before dinnertime. Serve a lovely meats and cheese platter. Grow your own herbs and vegetables. The possibilities are endless, and the health benefits are plentiful.

What fun it is to get into the kitchen and use cooking as an expression of both art and love. And what can be more romantic than cooking together? Or more rewarding than involving the kids?

Good Manners and Emotions | Meredith Sweetpea | Manners Quotes


cup-of-tea

“Good manners have much to do with the emotions.
To make them ring true, one must feel them, not merely exhibit them.”

–Amy Vanderbilt

7 Ways to Decorate with Natural Elements


african-violetsThinking of decorating, one’s mind may jump immediately to fabrics and furniture. However, there are so many natural elements that can bring the outdoors indoors to create harmony.

1. Flowers

Cut flowers can brighten up any space, but don’t overlook the color and drama in flowering plants, such as orchids or African violets. Use your imagination when choosing a flowerpot; just about anything can be repurposed as a planter.

2. Plants

Add color and healthy elements to a room with plants. Group them together using a same-color or same-varietal theme for instant impact.

3. Seashells

Recall your summer vacation with a bowlful of seashells. But don’t stop there, use them to frame a mirror, set them in concrete, or accent a lamp with them. Repeat the theme in your table settings.

4. Food

Food items like a big jar of lemons or limes can serve as a colorful centerpiece. Try any colorful fruit or vegetable, like artichokes, red, yellow and green peppers, or oranges, perhaps.

5. Wood

Reclaim old wood and turn it into wonderful home features, furniture and accents. Driftwood and branches also add interesting architectural elements to your home decor.

6. Stone

stones-accenting-candlesMany homes are built of stone, or include stone fireplaces. Think of new ways to incorporate stone into your decorating as with a water features, a mosaic garden pathway or in vases to hold cut flowers. Polished stone can be used for countertops and furniture surfaces.

7. Found Objects

Nature provides us with a plethora of treasures that can add interest to our decorating. Collect bird nests or egg shells, line a planter with natural moss, arrange several sets of deer antlers, or incorporate pictures of nature in your artwork, pillows or fabrics.

 

 

Pinky Up or Pinky Down When Drinking Tea?


The Queen enjoys a good cup of tea.

Miss Meredith Sweetpea was invited to partake in a lovely tea last week where the subject arose of whether or not it is proper to raise the pinky when raising the teacup to one’s lips.

Heavens, do people still think that “pinky up” is the proper way to drink tea?

 

Those in attendance were divided as to the correct answer, with each believing their method to be right. This called for an exploration of how to properly drink tea.

The Proper Way to Hold a Teacup

pinky-up-tea-drinking

Pinky up? Wrong!

The proper etiquette for holding the teacup is to pinch the handle of the cup between the thumb and the index finger if the handle is small, or pinching the same two fingers together through the handle.  The finger should not hook through the handle to raise the cup.

The handle should rest on the third finger, using the pinky beneath the cup to stabilize it, or using the 3 open fingers under the handle pressed against the cup to balance it, with the fingers curving back toward the wrist. Never should the pinky be raised.

hooking-finger-through-teacup

Hooking through the handle? Wrong!

In fact, it is considered rude to stick out the pinky, in addition to looking ridiculous. The practice originated from those wishing to elevate their status, however, it is ultimately taken as a symbol of elitism. In social settings, lifting the pinky will surely identify you as unsophisticated rather than what you intended it to mean.

Adding Milk and Sugar to Tea

If you wish to add milk to your tea to lighten or cool it, add the milk after the tea is poured into the cup. If you add it before the tea, you will not be able to tell how much is needed.

When stirring tea, use a back and forth swish of the spoon rather than a circular motion. And never clink the spoon against the side of the teacup to shake off any remaining drops. Simply place the spoon on the saucer behind the teacup.

If you are standing and drinking tea, hold the saucer with one hand as you drink with the other. Look down at your cup while you drink, and not at the others in the room. This will help prevent you from spilling your tea down the front of your frock or necktie.

Need a New Royal Doulton Tea Set?

If you need a new tea set, consider the lovely Royal Albert New Country Roses tea service from Royal Doulton, and its matching cups and saucers.

Royal_Doulton_new_country_roses_cups_saucers

Am I the Granddaughter of King Henry VIII? | Meredith Sweetpea


Henry_Carey_King_Henry_VIII_comparison

L: Henry Carey; R: King Henry VIII; Middle: mashup of the two. The resemblance is uncanny. Could he be King Henry VIII’s son?

When Miss Meredith Sweetpea read the best-selling historical novel “The Other Boleyn Girl” she was captivated by the story, and read the entire book in one sitting. Have you read it?

The story, written by British historian Philippa Gregory, tells the tale of Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn’s older sister, who had a long-term affair with, and two children by, King Henry VIII prior to his meeting and subsequently marrying Anne. It is told from Mary’s point of view, beginning with Mary at the naive age of 14.

This book penetrated my mind, and for years, lingered with a familiarity unclaimed by any other novel.

Years later, I began to research my genealogy, and was shocked and pleasantly surprised to find out that I am the 18th great-granddaughter of Mary Boleyn through each of these two children supposedly conceived through King Henry VIII: Catherine and Henry Carey (Mary was married to William Carey).

Are these the children of King Henry VIII?

Although it has never been proven that these two are the children of King Henry VIII, nor were they ever acknowledged or legitimized by the regent, there are a number of indicators that they may be. For one, it is said that Henry closely resembled King Henry.

  • William Carey was given a number of royal grants between 1522 and 1526, which generally indicate a reward.
  • Henry claimed in 1533 that he was “Our Sovereign Lord the King’s Son.”
  • Anne Boleyn became Henry’s ward after the death of Mary’s husband William Carey.
  • Henry VIII admitted to his affair with Mary, which he probably would not have done had he not issued children with her.
  • Both children were born during the time of the affair.
  • Elizabeth I (Anne Boleyn’s daughter) loved the Carey children and bestowed favors upon them. Henry was knighted by her and made Bason Hunsdon. Elizabeth also visited him on his deathbed and gave him the patent and robes of the Earldom of Wiltshire. Henry’s son, Robert, received Queen Elizabeth I’s ring from her hand upon her death.
  • Catherine Carey was Queen Elizabeth I’s most senior lady-in-waiting, and was buried at Royal expense and given a prominent memorial when she died.

It is rumored that King Henry VIII may have acknowledged these children, but he had already taken in HenryFitzhugh as his legitimate child. He was the child of an affair with Bessie Blount.

The_Other_Boleyn_GirlIt is exciting to know that I am the descendant of this woman who so captivated me through her story, and believe that I am the 18th great-granddaughter of King Henry VIII. Perhaps there is something in our DNA that recognizes those who came and went long before us, and left their mark upon our futures.

–facts excerpted from The Anne Boleyn Files

 

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