Thursday, May 05, 2011

A Time for Celebrations by Rhyannon Byrd

This past weekend here in the UK was a wonderful time for celebrations, and my family and I had an absolute blast. As an American who now lives in England, I thoroughly enjoyed being caught up in all the excitement surrounding the Royal Wedding. But the fun for us didn’t stop there, because we also took part in the Shakespeare Birthday Celebration on Saturday in the beautiful town of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Like the rest of the country, we were all up early on Friday to watch Wills and Kate get married. In light of the special occasion, the day was declared a bank holiday, which meant we could all stay home and enjoy the party! All over our town, families were celebrating with street parties, but since my youngest wasn’t feeling well, we had a family celebration at home. My husband had us all out of bed bright and early for coffee and brioche as we settled in front of the telly to view the preparations for the big day. And there we stayed, glued to our sofas as we watched everything that was happening in London. As my husband knows better than to let me anywhere near a kitchen, he kept us well supplied with scrumptious treats and after the beautiful ceremony we had a lovely cream tea, complete with royal wedding decorations. LOL. We were definitely in the spirit of the occasion, and I love that my children were able to experience the atmosphere of joy and excitement that surrounded the wedding. My daughter’s favorite part was seeing Prince Harry in his uniform, while my son loved the Aston Martin that the newlyweds drove from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House. I thought the way Prince Harry had decorated the car was a riot, but my favorite part of the day was when the bride reached the altar and William looked at her and told her she was beautiful. The romantic in me just melted and I’m sure a lot of you felt the same.

Saturday turned out to be warm and sunny, which was perfect weather for the Shakespeare Birthday Celebration Parade that my son and daughter were taking part in. Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of Shakespeare, as well as the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and the newly renovated Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST), which sits right on the river Avon. Each year there are government officials from all over the world who take part in the festivities, and this year the American Ambassador was among those who participated. There are always acting troupes dressed in elaborate Elizabethan costumes, along with the very smartly dressed military bands that march from the center of town, near Shakespeare’s birthplace, to Holy Trinity Church, where he’s buried alongside several members of his family. But my favorite part of the parade is always the school children who carry colorful posies of flowers that they take into the church and lay on Shakespeare’s grave. This year my son was among those who carried flowers, while my daughter marched with her music group. My husband and I had very carefully planned out how we would take photographs and videos of them both taking part in the parade, only to be drafted in at the last minute as banner holders, which turned out to be a hilarious comedy of errors. We about died when we found ourselves leading the school section of the parade, which takes a different route through the town so that the kids don’t have as far to walk. Unfortunately, no one had told us what route they were meant to take and after embarrassingly turning down the wrong road, we then had to turn around and lead the long procession of schools back onto the right path again! We couldn’t stop laughing, but the newspaper photographers who were walking along with us and the police who were lining the streets thought it was funny too, so it all turned out okay. But I doubt they’ll be asking us to take part again anytime soon. ;)

Though I wasn’t able to take many pictures of the parade, since it was all I could do to keep the wind from ripping the banner out of my hands, I did walk around afterwards and snap some shots of the town for you. Stratford-upon-Avon is a truly beautiful place and if you ever have the chance to visit, I know you’ll enjoy it. The Queen visited the RST in March and Prince Charles is coming to see the RSC production of Macbeth later this month, so maybe Wills and Kate will come along soon for a visit. If they do, I’m sure the newlyweds will have a warm welcome and a wonderful time.



The Shakespeare Monument (top) and The River Avon with the RST on the right and Holy Trinity Church in the distance (bottom) 

Rhyannon is the author of the Primal Instincts series, and recently released book seven, RUSH OF DARKNESS, in March. To learn more about Rhyannon, visit

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Blogger Scooter Carlyle said...

Your lovely photos and descriptions make me jealous. Stop it already! :-)

Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 11:05:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Rhy Byrd said...

LOL. Sorry! :)

I do feel extremely lucky to live in such an amazing part of the country. Now if the sun would only come out more often...and I could find a decent Mexican restaurant. THEN it would be heaven! ;)

Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 11:21:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Wendy said...

Thank you for the story and photos....looks fun and maybe someday I'll visit....

Friday, May 6, 2011 at 7:28:00 AM EDT  

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