There was the pretty Queen, head held high to balance the weight of her magnificent shimmering crown, her 10-foot-long train a vision of sparkling crystals and sequins, carried behind her by two young attendants, as ladies-in-waiting and Duchesses lined the steps beside gigantic vases and urns, overflowing with pink and red and white roses, the royal court waited patiently for the jewel encrusted scepter to be handed over, marking the commencement of the coronation….
Coronation? Wait, wait, wait…. we’re in Tyler, Texas, what on earth is going on?
A few months ago I had been invited to speak to seven hundred ladies at the Texas Rose Festival, which had been established to bring attention to the rose growing industry of Tyler. The festival brings together generations of families to celebrate the tradition since it started in 1933, the idea being to encourage civic pride and honor the beauty and history of the rose, and since I had just launched my own English Rose collection of fragrances, I was all in.
What I had not really noted was that the trip would involve me speaking in the Baptist church, so large it reached across four city blocks….. FOUR CITY BLOCKS! And obviously this not only meant best behavior but also no swearing, which on occasion I have been known to do. A lot.
It also meant attending a coronation. “My grandson is a royal page this year and my granddaughter a train bearer,” said our hostess as David and I arrived. “Never did I think this could happen. It really is a dream come true.” David and I looked at each other nervously; we were not entirely sure how to respond. My mother had attended two coronations, the King’s and then the Queen’s, but not in Tyler, Texas; and I myself had had some experience with getting a 25-foot jeweled train out of golden horse-drawn carriage, but never did I expect to be close to such majestic action again.
But during our short trip to Tyler we began to learn that while this occasion might not be the coronation we are familiar with in England, it was much more than a festival or pageant. It was rich with heritage and the heart and soul of a community proud to host one of the Lone Star State’s most meaningful events of the year.