My Cousin Princess Diana

As I lay in bed one morning at 8:46, I determined that my kids have 36 second cousins. The child of your parent’s sibling is your first cousin. If your first cousin has children and you have children, these children are second cousins to each other.

If you really want to know, here’s the deal with the “once removed” thing. If my cousin has a child, the child and I are first cousins once removed. We are one generation removed from each other. The once or twice or three times . . . a lady . . . whoops, that’s a Commodores song. But whether it’s once removed, twice removed, or fourteen times removed, you are not in the same generation with that person.

Get this. Princess Diana was my twenty second cousin. We share a great- to the 22nd power grandparent. That’s so far back, I suspect everyone in the U.K. and U.S. is twenty second cousins with Diana, so I can’t get on my high horse about it.

Diana’s wedding dress inspired me to buy mine. Sometimes I bow my head in embarrassment now about my gown, but my mom reminds me, “Wendy, ALL the gowns were that way in 1993.” Big sleeves, bows, and lace. Maybe we have Diana to thank. Her dress was HUGE. A whole lotta sleeves and ruffles goin’ on. It was a satin and silk meringue. I was twelve years old when Diana married. The wedding was live on TV at 6 am Eastern Time because we were 6 hours behind England. All of us twelve-year-old girls were in love with Diana and in love with that dress.

I have a love/hate relationship with my wedding dress now. It had poufy sleeves and a butterfly bustle which is several layers of fabric that lay flat like butterfly wings in the back. (It’s not as weird as it sounds.) Some days I look at the gown and say it’s beautiful. Next day I think it was over the top. But that’s okay. Buy the dress you want, ladies, and don’t let anyone make you feel less-than. Gentlemen, you wear the tux you want, and . . .  wait. If you’re the groom, just do what the bride tells you. But if she’s selected Pepto Bismol pink bridesmaids’ dresses like the ones from “Steel Magnolias,” and if she wants you to wear a pink cummerbund to match, you gotta draw the line. Unless you happen to like that.

And who made the rule that you need a passel of bridesmaids? Princess Diana NEEDED those bridesmaids to help her climb into that dress and haul it around. But what do typical bridesmaids DO these days? Nothing. So just have one attendant to help you. Invite your other friends to the wedding and don’t make them buy the matchy-matchy dress and shoes. I have some ideas about weddings and what should and should not be done. My son and daughter sit through my diatribes. Neither of them is getting married soon, so this is a good time to air my views. When the time comes, I’ll bite my tongue and let my daughter have what she wants. And when I’m Mother of the Groom, I know my job is to Wear Beige and Shut Up.

If you’re made of money, invite those distant cousins to the wedding. Prince Harry is my twenty second cousin once removed, so I’ll invite him and Meghan Markle to my child’s wedding. The internet says they’re in L.A., so it’s a hop, skip, and a jump for his Royal Airlines jet to fly to my local airport.

They’d bring a nice gift, don’t you think? Maybe a little something for the Mother of the Groom, too.

Please tell me your funniest wedding tale. Weirdest gift, bridesmaid horror story. Whatever ya got.

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