As they go about their business this morning, the Blairs and the Browns may be feeling a little bit dejected. Not being invited to a wedding can be a cruel snub, even if you didn’t want to go in the first place. But they should take heart – it doesn’t look like the day is going to be much fun. Based on the list of confirmed attendees from the official Royal Wedding website, it’s not clear where the craic is going to come from.
William and Catherine should have added a few ‘wildcards’ to the wedding guest list. ‘Someone’s Cousin’ could have been just the man for the job. ‘Someone’s Cousin’ is a staple guest found at all good Irish weddings. This guest may not even be an actual cousin. It’s unclear to all the other guests what his connection is to the couple but everyone will remember him and assume that maybe he is…well..someone’s cousin.
This is a man who makes his presence felt early in the proceedings and would have had a starring role at the Royal wedding even before the ceremony. The TV crews on the ground and the helicopters overhead, primed to spot any activity in the vicinity of Westminster Abbey would have focused on SC and his wife Joanie scuttling up towards Great West Doors ‘mad late’. With Catherine Middleton only seconds away, Someone’s Cousin would be seen fishing in his pockets. “Go on away in Joanie, I’ll have a quick fag here”.
Inside, when Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso and Princess Mabereng Seeiso of Lesotho turned around upon hearing the commotion at the door they would glimpse Joanie asking an usher “Which side of the church for the bride again? Hup, here’s himself now” and her husband shuffling in shortly after, blowing the last cloud of incinerated Carrolls Number 5 into the high vaulted arches of the Abbey.
The Governor-General of Papua New Guinea would smile grimly and look straight ahead as Someone’s Cousin squeezed in beside him in the pew and told him the story. “We were nearly in after the bride. Feck sake. Sure we went to the wrong church first. There we were, happy out, in our seats and the bride comes in. And she Chinese! Well says I to Joanie, what’ll the Queen make of that craic?But we looked around and we couldn’t recognise anyone. Says Joanie: ‘Patsy, we’re at the wrong bleddy church!’ ”
Despite the military precision of the wedding planning, whether WillsnKate like it or not, everything will not go to plan. At some stage during the service, there will be confusion about when to stand or sit or kneel. With the guests in various stages of uprightness some tension may spread in that august gathering. At such times, Someone’s Cousin would be a safety valve, whispering to a rabbi:“It’s been a while since a lot of these fellas were at mass I’d say”and having a bit of a giggle.
Like an Irish funeral, the Royal Wedding is a three-stage affair. 1900 guests are going to Westminster. Then there is a lunchtime reception for 650 and finally 300 guests are being entertained at a private dinner that night. Someone’s Cousin would have had a part to play in all of these.
Without him, who will lead the guests to the nearest shebeen for a quick couple of pints during the interminable wait before the lunchtime reception? “What’ll you have Duke? Hah? Arra you might as well. They’ll be all day taking photos.”
The Royal Couple will also have found, when doing out their table plans, that some tables will simply not work without the presence of some sort of ‘character’ to provide the social glue that binds people together. From the moment when the group of eight or ten are sitting tentatively down to dinner: “Go on away in on the inside Viscountess, we’ll fill it back to front, like a silage pit” to sustaining conversation among the manifold nationalities around the table.
“Where are you from yourself Sultan?”
“Oh right. Cmere, did I ever tell you how Dubai got it’s name. There was this fella from Cork went over building a hotel and they were very grateful so the mayor said if he liked, they’d name the town after him. ‘Do biy’ he says. Do Biy Isn’t that a good one?…”
“….Bulgaria? I never knew they had a king. A friend of mine have an apartment in Sofia alright. Worth nothing now of course”
As the long day draws to a close, some guests will make their excuses. The music will be too much for aunties and nans. But Someone’s Cousin will be in his element. Tie around the head, moshing to The Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’, a Lord Admiral’s wife gripped slightly innappropriately around the waist.
Taking a breather, he would be the perfect conversation companion of a tipsy Prince Philip as they expounded on various subjects.
“Twenty of them with the one taxi plate. None of them insured, Prince. And if you crashed into one of them you wouldn’t get a bob”
And at six in the morning who else is going to vigorously defend the right of guests to continue drinking when tired and grumpy staff try to close the residents bar?
Weeks later when William and Catherine are sending out their cards they would glance at the mantlepiece clock in the shape of a dog and think of Someone’s Cousin. Thanks for everything they would write. And mean it.