On Sunday morning I was treated to my ultimate tabloid perve. A royal wedding.
This was quite unlike any other though. I wasn't bogged down by screeds of pictures of all the hangers-on, instead just two portraits of Princess Beatrice and her new husband, excitedly peeking out from a floral arch.
Given there were only 20 people in attendance, they had a small cortege of guests to peek out to and with social distancing, they were maybe trying to locate them all, but their undeniable happiness was evident for all to see.
Beatrice wore a vintage dress. How thoroughly modern and appropriate for the times. Granted, it belonged to her Grandmother, the actual Queen of England. I'd love to throw on a glamorous vintage dress and feel good about not contributing to the second largest polluting industry globally, but let's face it, I just don't have access to that kind of archive.
Although a childhood dress-up favourite, I haven't been able to zip up my Mum's wedding dress since I was about 12, thanks to me being a foot taller than her and my figure inspiring plenty of well-intentioned questions whether I was a swimmer or a rower.
What a message to send right now, in a time of people's economic hardship and a growing movement against material excess. Beatrice read the room perfectly, giving fellow royalists hope that this generation of Yorks will provide less fodder for the gossip magazines. As for the Queen loaning her the tiara she got married in? Favourite much?
You can stop visits to the pub, concerts, people attending the gym and going into their place of work, but you can't stop love. Since Covid restrictions have been in place, people all around the world have continued to get married, proving that the most important thing about a marriage is the two people in love, not the size of the guest list, the colour of the bows on the back of the chairs or DJ vs band for the reception.
As an old married person, it's easy for me to say that it's not about the dress, the venue, the everything, but when you are a first-time bride and you are in the thick of preparations, it's difficult to see the destination as more important than the journey.
While we had more guests in attendance than Beatrice, not everyone we'd have liked to share our day with was there. However, as the years have trickled by, I'm comforted in the learning that it's who you spend your lives with that matters, not just the people who are able to share one day with you.
I remember driving to the ceremony and having a flash of wondering why on earth all these people were here. What difference does it make to them I wondered if we get married? Why didn't we just have a small wedding, a few family members and close friends?
I was beside myself with nerves, having locked myself in the toilet only minutes earlier to get a little breathing space before timid raps on the door started from my girlfriends. Normally a very verbose individual, I shut down comms and my silence was eliciting worried glances between those near me. I think I emerged and started wiping down the kitchen benches. Vintage Nicola behaviour.
Even though Beatrice's ceremony had already been postponed thanks to the pandemic and then affected by the follies of her troublesome father, all she needed was a photographer to record her special day plus the most important ingredient in a successful marriage; the one she loves.