The day before the wedding was hot and windy. I was standing in the doorway of our lounge and the patio doors were open. A gust of wind blew the door shut with my hand still on the jamb. I distinctly remember the pain and flicking my hand out, you know, the way you do when you’ve hurt your finger. But when I flicked, blood sprayed…
The next thing I remember is my dad holding the wound – thankfully only one finger had been squished – directly under a cold running tap. And then we went to hospital. My fingernail was gone – not broken off, gone. My mum – who’d been out when the accident happened – found it on the floor. I remember seeing it, but I don’t know why she saved it. Anyway, it was the first time I realised that there was more nail than you could actually see. In fact, it went down as far as the first knuckle (if that first bit is a knuckle… the first bend anyway).
Can we just take a moment to think about my mum? This was 1981 – no mobile phones. Mum was out and came home to find an empty house, blood sprayed up the living room wall and door, a note saying ‘Gone to hospital’ and a fingernail on the carpet.
I had six stitches right across my finger, about half a centimetre down. That night, I watched the fireworks, my bandaged finger resting on a cushion and throbbing.
The next day I watched the wedding and wished I was there, tragic finger and all, on The Mall watching the royals go past with a souvenir periscope. But it wasn’t to be.
It all makes me sad to think about now. Just that photo of Charles and Diana above makes me ache with nostalgia. For 10-year-old me with my scabby finger and my scrapbooks. For my mum and dad who, then, were not much older than I am now. For poor Diana and William and Harry. Not so much for Charles. He lost me when he asked his mother for permission to kiss his own bloody wife and things just went downhill from there.
I didn’t actually intend to write about this – I was just going to tell you that author Lucy Coats… actually, no. Just go and read her posts – Part 1 Part 2 and Part 3. Even now, knowing how it all turned out and not being a royalist at all, I’m still incredibly envious.
This was my favourite picture when I was 10. I was so jealous of those bridesmaids. Love the little duck face on the first girl on the left. (Is it India Hicks? How sad will it be if it turns out I’ve remembered that for 30 years?)