You don’t need BoomerCafé to tell you about the royal wedding last month in England. But this is the only place where you can learn about another wedding that took place on the very same date … although decades earlier. But as she watched the royal wedding, Lucy Iscaro of White Plains, New York, was mindful of that earlier wedding too. And writes her Tale of Two Weddings.
Meghan and Harry’s wedding in Windsor last month brought out the romantic in millions. My eight-year-old granddaughter and her little brother cuddled up on my couch early that morning in their pajamas to watch.
I caffeinated myself awake and told them that this was an important day in their family history too. Because their great-grandparents, my mom and dad, were married on the same day eighty-one years ago.
It was May 19, 1937. Twenty-year-old Gladys Hilda Wang of Brooklyn married into a less than royal family and became Mrs. Sidney Lederman. Unlike Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, she did not wear a white silk gown from the house of Givenchy. There was no hand-embroidered sixteen-and-a-half-foot silk tulle veil with flowers representing all 53 countries of the Commonwealth. The patterned dress Mom wore may have been silk, but I suspect it was made of a more affordable choice such as rayon. The bride in England borrowed a diamond tiara from her grandmother-in-law. The bride in Brooklyn’s grandmother-in-law had escaped from Russia with little more than her life and her children. There were no tiaras.
Harry, sixth in the line of succession, was handsome in his elegantly tailored uniform. Sidney wore his only suit, but royalty was represented anyway by his neckwear tied in a Windsor knot.
The royal groom lost his mother, the glamorous Princess Diana, when he was only twelve. Dad was a toddler when his mother died in the flu epidemic. Like Harry’s father, Prince Charles, Sidney’s father married again.
The royal couple had many who thought they should not marry, and my parents had to withstand objections as well.
Dad wrote in his memoir, “Our families, especially Gladys’s, were mostly against our involvement. They said we were too young. We tried to separate, but it did not work. And so on May 19, 1937, we were married. Gladys and I were together, AT LAST.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are reportedly planning to have a belated honeymoon in Africa as soon as their royal commitments allow. Mr. and Mrs. Lederman of Brooklyn spent their short honeymoon in the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan.
Dad wrote, “I chose this hotel because I had read about its luxury, even to the inclusion of a swimming pool. It was blissful to be in each other’s arms all night. Everything was a wonder in our eyes. We were so much in love.”
It was pleasant for me to escape the hard news stories and watch a real-life Cinderella marry a charming prince. For that I thank the royals. I wish Meghan and Harry the same happiness my parents shared for more than 70 years.
Harry and Meghan’s future family will inherit titles and the security of great wealth. Sidney and Gladys’s family, those little people on my couch included, inherited a history of love that continues to sustain four generations. For that I thank Sidney and Gladys.