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Palm Coast Saturday, May 19, 2018 1 year ago

Grand Haven friends celebrate royal wedding with watch party at Hilton Garden Inn Palm Coast

These Palm Coast residents continued their tradition of watching the British royal wedding together with the union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
by: Paige Wilson Community Editor

At 4 a.m. Saturday, May 19, four friends woke up to watch the live broadcast of the British royal wedding at the Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom.

Grand Haven residents Marilyn Gingles, Sue Freytag, Sandy Haines and Nan Reid donned caftans and fascinators, popped champagne, and ate scones and pastries in a room in the Hilton Garden Inn Palm Coast to celebrate the union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in holy matrimony to become the duke and duchess of Sussex.

“It’s like an adult sleepover,” Freytag said.

She said the group rented a suite and adjoining room for the festivities.

“We bring in our royal food,” Freytag said with a laugh.

“And we’ll order things from the hotel to be brought up,” Gingles added.

But this wasn’t their first royal celebration. In 2011, the group came up with the idea to go all out to watch the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. The group says Reid’s fascination with the royal family launched their plans.

“We were all in a dinner club together, and I think just one night at dinner club we got to talking about it and our husbands said, ‘Oh my god, you are not going to do that at our house,’ so we got the idea to come to the Hilton and rent the rooms and run up and down the hall,” Reid said.

Reid’s interest in the royal family goes back to her witnessing the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

“I was at the coronation of the queen,” Reid said. “That was many years ago. I was an exchange student at the University of Edinburgh and was able to because of a friend whose father was with the American Consulate. I did stay an extra six months to be able to attend it.”

With over 12 years of friendship, the girl gang enjoys its traditions together.

“We’ve been to France together, we play golf, we have a dinner group, we belong to the club at Grand Haven,” Freytag said.

To add to the celebration, the four went out to dinner Friday night with their husbands and then returned to the Hilton for some quick shut eye before the royal wake-up call.

“She is an American,” Reid said of Meghan Markle. “She’s known as a commoner marrying into the royal family, and I think it’s wonderful at this time and age that this has happened.”

“Plus, she’s biracial,” Gingles said. “And she’s accepted, so I think that’s wonderful. We all do.”

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