Eve of our Ruby Wedding

   8.09pm. 40 years ago [Saturday 20th June 1959] we were walking round Bowness-on-Windermere before returning to Rose Cottage to spend the first night of our married life together. Prince Edward and Sophie Rees-Jones were married at 5.18pm this afternoon, beginning their new life together as the Earl & Countess of Wessex. Sadly, Malcolm Bowran has just phoned to say that their son Robert’s marriage to Christina has broken up: Christina has taken their child Rebecca (4) away.

   I got up on the stroke of 4am and apart from a few minutes for breakfast in the conservatory I worked 8½ hours before lunch at 1pm. Freda posted a pile of letters when she went to town for her hair appointment at 9.45am.

   A pile of cards and letters came in again. The first one I opened was of Lambeth Palace, written (as was the envelope) by George. It was postmarked yesterday when he went to the requiem mass for Cardinal Hume; today George & Eileen were at Edward & Sophie’s wedding. We met Bishop Peter Nott at Walsingham when George took us on a pilgrimage.

   Another delight today was a warm letter and gift for the work from Pat & Marjorie Welch. Like Jos (and Roger Booth and Charles Shells and David Niblett et al) they can’t come tomorrow because of preaching engagements or other commitments. Several cards have been dropped through the letter box during the day, including one from Edward James, the new Mayor of Glastonbury, who also enclosed a letter on behalf of the town’s residents, “acknowledging the good work you have done in the local community and further afield.” Everyone is so kind.

   During the afternoon we watched (or I did: Freda was in the garden} the final from Eastbourne. After her 3½-hour match last evening Natasha Zvereva lost the first set to love, and was 0–3 down in the second. Natalie Tauziat looked certain to win and had two match points. Incredibly Natasha won that set 7-4 in the tie-break. There were five breaks of serve in the final set, which Natasha won 6-3 to take the championship.

   I had a bath mid-afternoon before watching the royal wedding from St George’s Chapel, Windsor. It was a relatively relaxed and informal occasion.

   Viola [Viola Nagel] delivered a card this evening. We also opened presents from Mary & Pete in Canada (red tray cloths and napkins), from Jenny Cox (a red bowl and candle) and from Mary Le Masson (a picture frame and picture). I washed up after tea. Since then we have been getting everything ready for tomorrow. Liz Affleck-Edwards has phoned to say she is having to go to hospital, but Flo Pugh and Sue Mawson will look after the refreshments. In the morning Philippa phoned to ask prayer for Christopher, a life-long friend, 43, father of three girls, and his wife expecting twins: he is seriously ill with a brain tumour.

   The weather has been miserable and overcast all day, so unlike our wedding day when the sun shone from a cloudless sky.

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webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30