British ex-pats Maureen Wilkinson, Florence Smith and Iris Simpson (left to right), look forward to another royal wedding. Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle on May 19. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Red Deer royalists gearing up for Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle

They tie the knot on May 19

They left their native land – but not their queen or allegiance to Britain’s Royal family.

English ex-pats Florence Smith, Iris Simpson and Maureen Wilkinson of Red Deer are among the millions of people from around the world who are planning turn on their TVs to watch as Prince Harry marries American actress Meghan Markle Saturday (the wedding will be aired live at 5 a.m. MT).

“I love Harry. I can still picture him as a little boy, walking in his mother’s funeral procession,” said Wilkinson, who hopes Markle will make him happy.

Prince Harry’s fiancée is being praised for her warmth with the public and her youthful, up-to-date style, which has invigorated the typically staid royal wardrobe.

Although there are plenty of Meghan fans in England (and especially in the U.S., where this royal wedding has extra cache because Americans have a stake in it), the jury is still out on the Suits actress, as far as these three Red Deer women are concerned.

They noted there are many ‘firsts’ around this Windsor marriage: Markle is not English and has a pre-existing public profile as a television actress. She’s also a divorced former Roman Catholic, who has siblings that have publicly dished about family rifts.

“I hope she makes him a good wife, but it’s a bit iffy…” said Simpson.

Wilkinson wonders if Markle is “a bit bossy” — after all, she put Harry on a diet and hasn’t allowed him to go fox hunting.

“I think she’ll have to grow on us a bit,” added the diplomatic Smith. “The Royal family might have to get used to her.”

At age 90, Smith is Queen Elizabeth’s contemporary and continues to have great admiration for the monarch and her family.

Like the then-princess Elizabeth, Smith joined the women’s “Territorial Army” during the Second World War, learning to repair tanks and other military equipment. She emigrated with her whole family to Canada in 1974 after her husband landed a job here, moving around the province before settling in Red Deer in about 1980.

Simpson, 92, came to Canada as a war bride in 1946. It was a rude awakening, she admitted, to arrive in Salmon Arm, B.C. and discover there was no running water, electricity, or indoor toilets. Initially, there also wasn’t a lot of camaraderie with local women who felt “we had taken the best of their best (men).”

She’s since come to love Canada, adapting to our more informal ways. Although the Royal family continues to remind her of her heritage, the Royals have change too, Simpson said — from the stuffy George V and Queen Mary to the “people’s princes.”

“William and Harry are just the greatest. I hope (William) will be King one day.”

Wilkinson, who moved to Alberta after her husband accepted a teaching job in Rimbey in 1968, has left her heart in England, where most of her family still lives. Like the two other Red Deer women, Wilkinson continues to be a big fan of the late Princess Diana “for raising her boys right.”

She credits Prince Harry for leaving his wild ways behind. He’s now a spokesperson for mental illness after opening up after his own emotional turmoil after his mother’s death in 1997.

“Harry is such a lovely boy. His mother would be so proud of him.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Royal fans wait to watch a rehearsal of the royal wedding in Windsor, England, Thursday. Preparations are being made in the town ahead of the wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that will take place in Windsor Saturday.

Just Posted

Shipping oil by rail questioned

Red Deer-area mayors respond

Country star Gord Bamford and The Reclaws perform free Games concert Friday

Show starts at 6:30 p.m. in heated dome off Celebration Plaza in downtown Red Deer

Survey looks at social isolation among older men

Partnership between Red Deer College and Golden Circle Resource Centre

Peruvian brothers travel nearly 8,000 km to volunteer at Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Italo and Mirko Del Castillo say Canadian warmth contrasts with twinter cold

Pride Days celebrated for first time at Canada Winter Games on Feb. 21 and 28

Pride Days are another first for Red Deer’s 2019 Canada Winter Games.… Continue reading

Gardening: What are you planting in 2019?

What’s new in plants for 2019? Checking catalogues, greenhouses and stores will… Continue reading

Opinion: I spy another energy hypocrite

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. The mittens provided to… Continue reading

Canada’s bobsleigh team races World Cup on Calgary home track facing closure

CALGARY — Canada’s skeleton and bobsled teams will race a World Cup… Continue reading

Italy becomes ninth international football league to join forces with CFL

TORONTO — Add Italy to the growing list of international football federations… Continue reading

Toronto Defiant Overwatch academy team to be known as the Montreal Rebellion

MONTREAL — The Toronto Defiant’s Overwatch academy team will be known as… Continue reading

Canadian fashion and design insiders recall Karl Lagerfeld’s charm, ingenuity

TORONTO — Several Canadian fashion and design experts who knew couture icon… Continue reading

Millennial Money: Make your funds move at the speed of life

Change is constant — especially when you’re young. Chances are you’ll cycle… Continue reading

TSB says improved tankers involved in Manitoba derailment that spilled crude

ST. LAZARE, Man. — Federal investigators say CN rail cars that spilled… Continue reading

Most Read