Federal Way women attend their second royal wedding | Slideshow

Not once, but twice, a Federal Way mother and daughter joined the festivities in London for royal weddings.

In 1981, Janice Burgess with her then 14-year-old daughter, Janell, spent three weeks in England. Among the many places they visited was Althorp, home of Lady Diana Spencer, prior to her wedding day to Prince Charles at St. Paul’s Cathedral on July 29. While there, they watched as her father and his wife, just a few feet away from them, departed for London in their Daimler several days before the wedding. The evening of July 28, they were among the crowds in Hyde Park viewing the fireworks to honor Prince Charles. The wedding morning found Janice and Janell on the street before 6:30 a.m. The front row on Aldwych Street, a narrow road, gave them a close viewing of the procession of royal carriages on their way to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

When Lady Diana with her father passed by, they made a quick stroll to the hotel to watch the wedding on the TV. As the newlyweds were walking down the aisle, Janice and Janell quickly returned to the street, no longer a front row view, but they could see the tops of the beautiful carriages and join in the cheers of the crowd. A walk to Buckingham Palace brought them to the kiss on the balcony. At 4 p.m., they were at St. Paul’s where the cathedral was open to the public for an hour. The memory of the occasion and all the memorabilia brought home would perhaps be a once in a lifetime experience.

Then in 2010, Prince William, first son of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, became engaged to Catherine Elizabeth Middleton. As soon as the date was announced for the wedding, Janice and Janell were making plans to return to London, this time with Janell’s 15-year-old daughter, Emma.

They arrived in London on April 23 to spend a week prior to the wedding on Friday, April 29. On Easter Sunday, they attended the service at Westminster Abbey, and in the afternoon attended an organ recital of Easter music at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The following days were spent seeing sites of London, including the Mews where the royal carriages can be seen. After viewing the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, the three girls could be seen in the TV coverage on the Today Show.

The morning of the wedding, the wake-up time was 5 a.m. Hats had been purchased for the day! The Underground subway brought them to St. James Park where they walked to The Mall. Crowds were gathering and many had spent the night camped along the road. Fortunately, a spot was found where young children were in the front rows. As the cars came by with the wedding attendees, the royal family and finally Catherine with her father, they realized they had a perfect viewing area. The wedding program was available for purchase, loud speakers broadcasted the ceremony from the Abbey, and everyone participated in the singing of hymns and recitations.

Cheers of the crowd were loud when Prince William and Catherine were pronounced man and wife. When the carriages returned after the wedding, they again had a close view. Janice’s photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shows the happy couple looking in their direction with a wave from Prince William. The Abbey bells rang for three hours.

Yes, this was another once in a lifetime journey for the three generations of Burgess girls!


Janice Burgess is a Federal Way resident and chairwoman of the Federal Way Symphony Garden Tour. Send comments to


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