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A royal affair in Tully

Group watches Prince Harry-Meghan Markle wedding

Photos by Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Royal wedding viewing party host Anne Padget, left, talks with her friend Susan Kilburn, of Falconer, while drinking tea and eating pastries Saturday in Tully. A group of 30 women gathered to watch the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

TULLY — Maybe it was the thought of spending time with a group of friends. Or maybe it was the tradition of a wedding. Or maybe it could have just been the pomp and circumstance. Whichever way, 30 women gathered early Saturday morning at a home in Tully to watch as Prince Harry, duke of Sussex, married American actress Meghan Markle.

It was the fourth time Anne Padget hosted a royal wedding viewing party, she said Saturday. The first was when Prince Harry’s parents, Charles and Diana, were married in 1981. The next came when Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson five years later.

Then there was a gap until 2011, when Harry’s brother, Prince William, duke of Cambridge, married Catherine Middleton.

“I’m not a Brit at all,” Padget said. “It’s just a fun thing.”

Padget said she had only two rules for her guests Saturday — they had to wear a hat and they had to wear gloves.

As her guests gathered in the living room, where two televisions aired the wedding, a smaller group sat off in another room around another TV.

In the center of the main living room sat a unique guest — Queen Elizabeth II. Or at least a woman portraying her.

“I really get a kick out of it,” said Gisela White of Tully. White started portraying the queen at the viewing party for William and Catherine’s wedding. “She has a certain presentation,” White said.

Bringing two cultures together through the marriage was something White liked, she said. She also thinks people are interested in the royal weddings because they like the pomp and circumstance.

And the hats, which is what drew Sarah Cates of Marietta to accompany her mother-in-law, Georgia Cates, to Padget’s party for the first time. “I wanted to see everyone’s hats,” Sarah Cates said.

Georgia Cates of Preble was attending her fourth party at Padget’s. “I’ve been to all four,” she said Saturday. “I enjoy it very much.”

Georgia Cates said she was up at 4 a.m. to prepare for the party.

Sarah Cates, of Otisco Valley, applauds as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchange vows Saturday during their wedding ceremony.

Sarah Cates said people are already fascinated with the royals. “But it (Harry marrying Meghan) adds another level,” she said, because Markle is an American.

Mary Fenlon of Tully didn’t plan to watch the royal wedding, she said. But when Padget invited her to the party that changed. “I had a very good time,” she said.

Katherine Pfiester of Tully stood out from the crowd as she wore a red kimono, which her husband, Walter, had gotten her while he was stationed in Korea in 1966. Pfiester said she enjoyed the music. “The music was extraordinary,” she said.

Pfiester thinks people are drawn to the royal wedding because of the tradition. “They see something wonderful in the world,” she said.

Some of the women in attendance wondered when the two would share their first kiss. It came as the two made their way out of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and stood on the front steps, where they were named the duke and duchess of Sussex. Some of the women cheered.

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