As the world’s media awaits the arrival of the latest royal baby, I had a reminder this week of what a huge event the arrival of that baby’s father was in my childhood. My mum is visiting, and brought with her a recently rediscovered component of my childhood obsession, much to the great amusement of the rest of my family. She’d unearthed my Lady Di jumper, whose complicated pattern she had painstakingly knitted at some point in the 80s after much begging and pleading on my part.
The knowledge of my childhood obsession with all things royal, and more specifically all things Charles and Diana, is not new to my family. My 19 (yes you did read that right, 19) scrapbooks documenting Charles and Di’s engagement, wedding and the births of Wills and Harry provide a great source of amusement when they are rediscovered each time we move house, the carefully drawn Texta borders and cover pages possibly providing some insight into the genetic source of Sascha’s more modern passion for the same.
The laughter these provoke though pales into insignificance when I reveal the piéce de resistance of my collection and its associated story, the LP soundtrack of the royal wedding, which I begged mum to have the Easter Bunny deliver in lieu of chocolate one year (WHAT WAS I THINKING???), and even worse, can remember actually playing more than once!
There was no stone left unturned when hunting down a highly-prized item to add to my collection; this commemorative matchbox cover fell victim to my grandmother’s poorly placed cigarette, but that wasn’t enough to stop it from being carefully cut out and saved (stored where else but in my royal wedding commemorative shortbread tin where it still lives today).
As I grew older and my scrapbook and collecting obsession waned, so too did the marriage and I couldn’t help tucking the newspapers announcing their divorce into the box where my collection lived, I’ve always been a stickler for seeing a job through till the end!
In honour of my childhood obsession, Stuart took me to London when William and Kate got married, and with the absolute treasure trove of royal wedding merchandise on offer, it’s a miracle that I didn’t kick off a brand new collection then and there (I did bring a few choice pieces home like this Will-featured cereal box in the hope that I could get Sascha to make it a family tradition, but she wasn’t having a bar of it).
So thanks for saving my jumper all of these years Mum, and more particularly thank you for all the hours you spent knitting what surely counts as one of the Womens Weekly‘s most complicated ever patterns, for accommodating my crazy obsession without ever making fun of it, and for letting me devote a ridiculous amount of my pocket money to all manner of obscure magazines from all over the globe just because they happened to mention Diana. And if you happen to stumble across the scrapbook from the obsession that predated Charles and Di, the Moscow Olympics featuring Nadia Comenici and Mischa the bear, send that one my way too.
I may not have ended up as a princess or a gymnast, but thanks for letting me believe that both were possible xxxx