NAPLES — Here in Naples, jubilant pub owner Derek Bennett pulled off a nuptial coup Friday morning in hosting 100 early risers who gathered beginning at 5 a.m. at his 38-year old original English Pub in Naples to down champagne, Bloody Marys, mimosas and full English breakfasts as the London ceremonies played out on large screen TVs.
Redolent of typical British public houses, the furnishings, lighting, and solicitous manner of the serving staff made for a perfect backdrop for the happy revelers.
Wearing either white black top hats – Gary Harris showed up in a fetching velvet, union flag number ala Mad Hatter - some male celebrants were dressed to the nines in formal wear while a few looked like they were headed for the beach.
Behatted, many ladies including a Texas contingent part of Mancunian Bernie East’s 30-person entourage, had created their own chapeaux over cocktails Thursday night from materials purchased at Michael’s Arts & Crafts. Many of the hats rivaled those seen during the actual wedding ceremony.
While acknowledging huzzahs and waving of flags often precluded conversation, the crowd repeatedly applauded the queen, resplendent in bright yellow that matched clerical vestments at Wesminster Abbey, other royals as they appeared on screen and also prominent guests such as the Beckhams and Elton John.
Top-hatted Naples resident Travis Jenner, who hails from Adelaide, Australia, a self-proclaimed royalist “who wouldn’t have missed this for the world” shed his too-hot jacket for a loosely draped union flag. Ellie Loving’s T-shirt proclaiming her “Royal Highness, the Princess, soon to be Queen” was complimented by her pearl and feather “fascinator” head piece.
Iris Horsfall, also coming from Manchester nearly 40 years ago, and dressed in black with a white and ivory bodice, also selected a petite flowery fascinator.
Finally, Bernie East took a timeout for a phone interview with BBC radio before departing the pub scene in his white, ribbon-bedecked auto trailing several Coke tins and deck shoes.
According to “Lady” Susan Mainwaring, who also contributed to this reportage, in addition to the foregoing two other events for a select few invitees, others also took place at area private homes. “Lady” Dolores MacLean welcomed devoted royal watcher and Anglophiles beginning at 4 a.m. As the invitation said, “PJs are fine but pearls and bling are de rigueur!
Hats, tiaras, pearls and diamonds, too! Scones, crumpets, clotted cream, jam and Prince William’s favorite chocolate cookies cake. With six viewing stations, not a moment was missed wherever one was in the home.
“Lady” Dolores also served up Kate and William’s favored little chicken salad sandwiches with chopped walnuts and sliced green grapes on raisin bread.
While watching the arrivals of the royals and the rich and famous, commentary was varied. On the daughters of Prince Andrew: “OMG! What were they thinking?” Then, “Camilla looks so elegant.” On the bridesmaids and pages: “Aren’t they precious?” And on the bride: “Perfect for her – sophisticated, elegant and regal.”
Another royal party was hosted by the “Ladies” Mary Cooper and Patricia Frey. The latter had also celebrated Princess Diana’s wedding in similar fashion followed by a baby shower for William several years later.