Daytonians greeting the royal wedding with excitement (or a shrug)

6 Dayton area connections to Britain and the royal family

The mayor

Although born in McKeesport, Pa., Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell’s mother is British. He moved to Chippenham, England, in 1970 and attended public grammar school. Leitzell graduated from the University of London with a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1982.

High tea

Basically British Tea Room, 502 E. Third St., Dayton, and Central Perc European Cafe, at 2315 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood, are among the places in the Miami Valley to have high tea.

Basically British changed its April menu to include foods related to Prince William and his future bride. The menu served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday includes eats like woodland fairy acres jasmine scones, Smoked Salmon, Branston cheddar sandwiches, symbols of the British Isles orange blossom cookies, Eton Mess and Cottage Pie, a favorite of Prince William. Call (937) 222-1488 for reservations.

Central Perc, owned by Mike and Rose Morgan originally of North England, will swap out its normal menu Friday for authentic old British dishes such as apple and cheddar soup, and sticky toffee pudding. The royal wedding will be broadcast at the cafe beginning at 6 a.m.

The would- be lady

Former WDTN news anchor Coleen Sullivan briefly dated the Earl Charles Spencer, the brother of Princess Diana. They reportedly met in February 2006 while Sullivan was in England covering a news story about an exhibit on Diana’s dresses at the Dayton Art Institute.

Spencer is currently engaged to Canadian charity worker Karen Gordon.

Sullivan worked as a weekend anchor and a field reporter at KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara after leaving Dayton. She apparently recently left the station.

English grocery

Wise Choice British Gifts, Foods and Candies, 6171 Brandt Pike, Huber Heights, has what you’ll need for a proper English party from commemorative royal wedding china to foods like Borders Butterscotch Crunch Biscuit, Thursday Cottage Damson Plum Preserve and Walkers Prawn Cocktail flavored crisps.

The pubs

There are several places to grab a pint in the Miami Valley.

One is hosting a special early morning event beginning at 6 a.m. Friday to honor the royal couple and to raise money for St. Vincent de Paul Community Food Pantry.

The Pub, 39 Greene Blvd., at The Greene in Beavercreek will have live coverage of the wedding and give out complimentary champagne and wedding cake following the ceremony. The restaurant’s weekend brunch menu will be offered from 6 to 11 a.m. William and Kate have requested charitable contribution be made in their name in lieu of gifts. In that light, the Pub will collect canned goods or boxed food donations for St. Vincent de Paul Community Food Pantry through May 1.

Large art

The Dayton Art Institute’s collection of eighteenth-century European art is relatively small in number, but one particular portrait is undeniable large in size.

Henry, Eighth Lord Arundell of Wardour, c. 1764-67, by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92) in the Gray Gallery of 18th Century European Art is nearly eight feet tall by five feet wide.

Even more...

In today's Life section, brush up on your wedding etiquette when there are future kings involved with some Do's and Don't's from the experts.

Millions worldwide gathered around TV screens to watch Prince Charles marry Diana Spencer in 1981.

Gary Leitzell wasn’t one of them.

“I was out in the middle of nowhere in a tent,” said Leitzell, now Dayton’s mayor.

Leitzell said he wouldn’t have watched the wedding even if his geology studies at the University of London didn’t require him to be on a mountain in the Lake District of North West England.

Leitzell was partly raised in England and his mother is British, but he said he couldn’t care less about the royals.

Leitzell said he’s not interested in Friday’s wedding of Diana and Charles’ son Prince William to Kate Middleton, either.

“I have an 8-year-old kid. I am not allowed to watch TV unless it’s PBS or something,” Leitzell said. “I heard they were getting married, but I didn’t know when.”

Harry Caswell, owner of Wise Choice British Foods, Gifts and Candies in Huber Heights, said Leitzell is in the minority.

There is much interest in the royal wedding on this side of the pond and the other because of Diana. William’s upcoming wedding has even more legitimacy in the public’s mind, Caswell said.

“(Charlie) had to marry Diana. She was chosen for him,” the Welshman said. “William made his own choice. He wants to marry this girl.”

That might be, but British-born Wright State political science professor Liam Anderson isn’t jumping up and down with excitement over this one.

“My wife is going to kill me for this, but I really don’t care. I won’t be getting up to see it but my wife will,” he said. “Frankly, I’ve got better things to do at 4 o’clock in the morning (the time American broadcasts of the wedding are set to begin).”

Anderson said he understands why so many Americans are interested in the glitz and glamour that comes along with the royal wedding. He also gets why Americans are interested in England and its history and culture.

But Anderson said things are a lot more interesting here.

“American TV has always had exciting things. Americans seemed to have everything. All the gadgets were always American,” he said “It was where the action happened. Britain seemed very boring and, stayed and unchanged.”

The royals and their weddings still dazzle Margie Hicks of Riverside.

It is all part of the fairy tale American girls fall in love with, she said while having a special royal wedding theme tea at Basically British tea Room in downtown Dayton with friends Rosemary Kruger of Bellbrook and Denise Johnson and Rita Brown, both of Beavercreek.

Vicki Morris, who owns Basically British with her British-born partner Terry Ronald, said women in particular have been excited about the upcoming wedding.

“Women of a certain age are really caught up in this. It’s almost as if their own daughter was the one,” she said. “I think Kate in her own way will be another Diana. Diana certainly was a down-to-Earth person.”

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