The royal wedding is a story of actress marries prince. But it is also, and perhaps more important, a story of American weds Briton. We asked American readers who are married to a Briton, and vice versa, to describe some of the charms and challenges of having a spouse from another continent.
Here are some of the responses we received, edited for length and clarity.
‘Girl from small town meets and marries sea captain’
I met my British husband in 1985. I was a nurse looking for a break from nursing. I got a job as a purser on a tall sailing ship in the Caribbean. Nigel was the captain. It had a very fairy tale feel: Girl from small town meets and marries sea captain. Wedding on the deck of a tall ship.
The challenges? Not all English is created equal. “No tipping” means no throwing garbage on the street. Aches and pains? Go to the “second hand bits shop” for a new knee, etc. It drives me crazy when he pronounces “aluminum.” He cheats at Scrabble and uses British words and fake words he knows I won’t know. Also: having to listen to Pink Floyd nonstop for 33 years.
The charms? The dry sense of humor. The impeccable manners. The ability to tolerate bad food. The perseverance no matter what the challenge. Before meeting my husband I expected to live my life in a small town in Michigan. Since meeting him I have traveled the world. We live on a 47-foot catamaran currently located in Grenada, West Indies.
— Mary Stuart-Peters
‘The charms? Too many to count’
Jennie had come to New York from London in 1964, when it was fashionable for U.S. firms to have English-accented secretaries. I had crash-landed in New York after abandoning careers as a newspaper reporter, Russian linguist in U.S. Army intelligence and foreign service officer in Moscow. Within a year we were married, within six years we had two dual-citizen children, and after nine years we had emigrated to Britain.
Two years ago we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in an English pub in deepest Wiltshire. I became a British citizen in 1992 and renounced my American citizenship last year — confirming what an American friend had said to me: “You have appeared to be thoroughly British for a very long time — not an American living in Great Britain but truly a Brit with very British children.”