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Local couple tour London for royal wedding

This is the view that Cathryn Rhoades and Fred DiAntonio saw from Trafalgar Square in London when they joined in the celebration of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.  (Photo submitted)This is the view that Cathryn Rhoades and Fred DiAntonio saw from Trafalgar Square in London when they joined in the celebration of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.

Cathryn Rhoades planned on taking a trip to see part of London in early April.

Then she figured she and her fiancé, Fred DiAntonio of Wildwood, would instead make the voyage coincide with the April 29 royal wedding.

While they weren’t on Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding guest list, maybe they would experience something spectacular.

Indeed they did.

“It (the trip) was historically magical,” Rhoades said. “I just felt very blessed.”

After taking a shower at The Waldorf Hilton hotel, they arrived at London Mayor Boris Johnson’s party just in time. The celebration at Trafalgar Square included champagne and cake. Thousands of people filled the square.

“Every single person was a part of that day,” Rhoades, of Cape May Court House, said.

Dressed in a black and white blazer with a crest and blue jeans, Rhoades even got a chance to shake the mayor’s hand.

“Even the fact he shook my hand I was surprised,” she said.

Rhoades and DiAntonio also watched the hundreds of guests walk into the Westminster Abbey, the church for the wedding.

So close, Rhoades said, she could also have felt the vehicles, including black Range Rovers and Mercedes, as they went past.

Some streets were barricaded to prevent people from entering, she said.

Rhoades also got interviewed by a news station at the Square. She was asked, among other questions, to give a reflection of the wedding.

In an interview Tuesday, Rhoades said the wedding was perfect.

“It was not stuffy,” she said. “It was very normal, very natural.”

On Sunday, May 1, Rhoades and DiAntonio attended an evening prayer service in the church in which the wedding took place.

DiAntonio said the trip made him a better American.

“I think the people really loved their country,” he said.

Spending time in England was not just for the royal wedding, though.

Taking a gamble, Rhoades phoned the people she lived with when she was an exchange student nearly 13 years ago. She took part in the Middle Township High School student exchange program when she was in her teens.

“I always told them I’d be back,” she said. She also said, “I always felt welcome there.”

She said she drank tea with them.

They went sightseeing, too. Rhoades and DiAntonio visited St. Paul’s Cathedral, where there was an American tribute behind the altar.

Also in the building is the whispering wall. Both were amazed that – with being a football field a part – they could still hear each other’s whispers, even with other people doing the same thing.

“It was really, really out there,” DiAntonio said.

They also toured the Tower of London, where they looked at crown jewels; and Scotland Yard. DiAntonio said he was in his glory over the architecture while boating on the River Thames.

Rhoades and DiAntonio also bought back some souvenirs. Those include a flag with Prince William and Kate Middleton’s picture, newspapers and wedding programs.

And Rhoades shot more than 300 pictures during the week, April 29-May 6, of everything from the party to sight-seeing.

When eating in Philadelphia on the return trip, a waitress probed Rhoades about her London experiences.

“There are a lot of Americans that are hot on this stuff,” DiAntonio said.

Rhoades and DiAntonio plan on making a return trip to England next year. On their agenda: attending the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Ascot horse racing.

DiAntonio also said he wishes to take a trip to Stonehenge. He also said he would “go back for masonry symbols and historical significance.”

  Cathryn Rhoades and Fred DiAntonio look at a program from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. Although they did not get a chance to see the wedding up close, they celebrated with thousands of others at Trafalgar Square.  (Alex Davis) Cathryn Rhoades and Fred DiAntonio look at a program from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. Although they did not get a chance to see the wedding up close, they celebrated with thousands of others at Trafalgar Square.


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