A Toast to Will and Kate

A Toast to Will and Kate – Celebrating the Royal Wedding California-Style


The excitement surrounding Prince William and the former Catherine Middleton started well before their honeymoon trip to Southern California. As the wedding just happened to take place during L.A.’s annual BritWeek, the local British community turned BritWeek’s kickoff party into a celebration of the Royal Wedding, centered around a toast to Will and Kate.  

At the Apr. 26 soiree, Great Britain’s Consul General Dame Barbara Hay welcomed guests to her Hancock Park residence, where British fashion designer Bruce Oldfeld’s classically romantic wedding dresses stood in the entry, setting the party tone. Lord Frederick Windsor – one of Prince William’s relatives – proposed the official toast before leaving for London to attend the marriage ceremony himself.

BritWeek board members Bob Peirce, Paul Wright and “American Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe were also on hand, along with many California residents of British origin. (BritWeek is a celebration of Great Britain’s business and cultural ties to the U.S.) 

Among others were Bruno Tonioli of “Dancing With the Stars,” Sir Ben Kingsley, Jacqueline Bisset, Eric Idle of the Monty Python troupe, astronaut Dave Scott and Mag Black-Scott, photographer Pat York and Michael York of “Cabaret,” Julian Sands of “Leaving Las Vegas” and Evgenia Citkowitz, Julia Ormond of “Sabrina,” Matthew Rhys of “Brother & Sisters,” Jared Harris of “Resident Evil,” Doris Roberts and Patricia Heaton of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Daniel Bedingfield, Heidi Neitert, president of LA’s British American Business Council; and iconic fashion designer Zandra Rhodes.

As opposed to the traditional wedding looks on display, Rhodes predicted that Middleton would opt for a sleek, contemporary frock by Alexander McQueen.  

“She won’t wear strapless, like every other girl who gets marred today,” said Rhodes. “But she’ll wear something modern and hard-edged, rather than a romantic gown like his mother did.”

 Rhodes turned out to be quite correct about the design house, even if the bride stuck with a more traditional look by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. Pippa Middleton, as we now know, wore the sleek Alexander McQueen number Rhodes may have been thinking about.

In the backyard, where royal purple streamers and crystal chandeliers hung from the trees, more guests were Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Councilman Tom LaBonge.  More BritWeek board members were Michael Krycler, Peter Asher, Fiona Francois, Sharon Harroun Peirce, John Martens, Neil Stiles and Simon Wright with major BritWeek sponsors including Jaguar, Variety, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, UK Trade and Investment and Cunard.

Click here to read my Los Angeles Times story about the subsquent BritWeek Gala, which honored Tim Leiweke of AEG, featured a dynamic performance by recording star Seal, and attracted Alex Hyde White, Ross King, Heidi Klum, Michael Keaton, Patricia Heaton and Tia Carrere as guests.

Photos from top: Bruce Oldfeld’s wedding gowns in the entry setting the party tone; Dame Barbara Hay welcoming guests; BritWeek board chair Bob Peirce with Bruno Tonioli of “Dancing With the Stars”

In addition to pictures taken at the British residence party, where the British community had a toast to Will and Kate, the gallery below also includes photos of the BritWeek Gala.



The Colleagues Honor Nancy Reagan at an Oscar de la Renta Fashion Show

Los Angeles Philharmonic Gala: Rhapsody in Blue

Los Angeles Ballet Gala: A Glorious Giselle and a Dream Dinner

Breathtaking Theatrical Fashions: Il Teatro alla Moda in Beverly Hills with LACMA’s Costume Council

Perhaps LUCK Helped Draw the Big Crowds to Santa Anita Opening Day – Many Dressed for the Occasion

Christoph Bull Rocks the Organ in New Album Launch at Historic Villa Aurora


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A Toast to Will and Kate

Published Dec. 30, 2011 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA