Royal wedding: Shân Legge-Bourke on page's preparations
- 26 April 2011
- From the section Wales
Any mother of an eight-year-old son chosen to be a pageboy at a wedding can be excused for having a touch of the butterflies before the big day arrives.
Will he get bored during the service and start to mess about? Might he forget where he is and start nattering to one of the bridesmaids, maybe even pull on a pigtail while the bride and groom are saying their vows?
It's a common-enough parental dilemma in the run-up to any marriage ceremony, but spare a thought for Tiggy Pettifer.
On Friday her young son Tom is going to be one of two pageboys in the highest profile wedding to take place for 30 years.
A global audience of an estimated two billion are expected to tune in to watch Prince William, Tom's godfather, wed Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.
Mrs Pettifer, nee Legge-Bourke, whose role as nanny to the young princes in the 1990s forged a close bond, will be seated among the hundreds in the congregation, as will her husband Charles, a former Coldstream Guards officer.
And according to her mother, Shân Legge-Bourke, she is quite likely to be feeling "a little apprehension, like all mothers".
Mrs Legge-Bourke, Lord Lieutenant of Powys, owner of the Glanusk Estate near Crickhowell in Powys, and lady-in-waiting to Princess Anne, explained: "I read a good piece in a newspaper the other day about the mothers of young pages and bridesmaids at any wedding.
"You always pray they are not going to squawk right in the middle of the service or join in with the minister."
There is, however, no hiding the sheer pride that the Legge-Bourke family has in the young man who will be representing them, and Wales, on the big day.
And from what the matriarch of the family has to say about him it seems highly unlikely that they need worry.
"He has done extremely well," says Mrs Legge-Bourke of the way Tom has already discharged his responsibility in keeping any hint of the royal wedding hush-hush until it was officially announced.
"He has kept the secret from school friends when his godfather and Kate asked him to be their pageboy. Full marks, ten out of ten for keeping the secret until it was announced publicly.
"A lot of people have asked whether he is excited. There's a certain hesitation. You think of a normal wedding and what it's like for a boy sitting in a church for an hour.
"But it will be very different on the day. He enjoys a party. Once it all begins to take off and sees flags waving, I can can guarantee he will wave back."
'Safety in numbers'
But might not any boy his age be nervous at such a daunting prospect?
"Luckily he will be alongside the other pageboy Billy, aged 10, and the bridesmaids," says Mrs Legge-Bourke, referring to William Lowther-Pinkerton, the son of Prince William's private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton.
"There will be safety in numbers."
She adds that the family were delighted that Tom had been asked to take part in the ceremony.
"It's very touching and sweet of William and Kate to ask Tom, who is William's godson," she added. "The link between the two families is still close.
"He's been up to London once or twice for fittings. We've asked him what he will be wearing but he says it's a secret. He's kept his secrets very well."
Proudly Welsh, Mrs Legge-Bourke says it is "very special" that William and Kate will be starting their married life in Wales on Anglesey.
"They have been left alone there," she says, "which is lovely, and how it should be for any young couple who have got married."
Having met the bride-to-be, she describes her as "charming".
"Both she and Prince William have got an enormous sense of humour and are great fun to be with. But on the other hand they know where they are going," she said.
"They're a very well-grounded couple who have done the normal things - school, university, gap year, jobs.
"They know exactly what's going on around them. They are well-informed. And all that will stand them in great stead in the future.
"It's a good match. They are deliciously in love with each other."
She says the family are looking forward earnestly to attending the wedding.
"It will be great fun, quite a few members of the family are going. We shall have a right good knees-up. We are all very good at parties.
"It's nice just sometimes for everybody to feel happiness and love instead of doom and gloom and all the nasty things going on in the world. It's a good thing. It gives everybody a smile on their face.
"As a nation, both throughout Wales and the UK we are very good as a nation at celebrating. Any excuse to go for it, getting the bunting out and having a pint of beer. We don't need a lot of encouragement."
Have there been any pre-wedding hiccups?
"I'm having trouble finding red, white and blue fairycakes," says Mrs Legge-Bourke.
"I'm certain Tom will be wanting a little something to eat after it all. I shall certainly want a cup of tea."