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A royal early morning treat

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Posted: Friday, April 29, 2011 10:41 am | Updated: 6:02 pm, Fri Apr 29, 2011.

Prince William and Catherine Middleton were married on the other side of the pond before most people in the West Valley woke up this morning.

But, for a few former Britons, cutting their sleep short to watch the nuptials was worth it.

“I’ve watched all of the royal weddings since I was a child,” said Sheila Espinoza, a Westbrook Village resident. “I think it’s exciting.”

Espinoza grew up in Birmingham, the second-largest city in England, but has been here for 30 years with her husband, who is an Arizona native.

Both of them planned to watch the wedding, along with their son, this morning, Espinoza said.

Sun Citian Janine Heisel was undecided earlier this week about whether she would get up to watch the wedding.

“I may get up for a few minutes, but I haven’t decided,” Heisel said earlier this week.

Heisel, who lived in the English countryside near Colchester for 12 years, said she remembers watching Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles, but this ceremony may be just too early for her to wake up, even though she is excited about it.

“I’m sure the wedding is going to be very, very formal,” Heisel said.

Pre-ceremony coverage started at 1 a.m. Arizona time, and the wedding started at 3.

Dawn Goodall, who owns Green Park Gallery in Glendale’s Downtown Historic district, was tuned in despite the hour.

“I’m a night owl anyway,” Goodall said.

A former Londoner, Goodall said she grew up watching the royal family; her mother even worked at the high-end department store Harrod’s, where the Queen would shop.

“The royal family means a great deal to most of the British,” Goodall said.

Goodall said the newlyweds will breathe new life into the monarchy.

“It will be something new for the British people to focus on,” Goodall said, especially after many people were disappointed in the behavior of William’s father, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla, with whom he was having an affair while still married to Princess Diana. “We were terribly disappointed in the way Diana was treated.”

But Goodall doesn’t think ‘C and C’ as she calls Charles and Camilla will take the throne, and Charles will instead abdicate in favor of his son William.

“We’re really happy for them, extremely happy,” Goodall said of the new royal couple. “We wish them joy.”

Espinoza agrees, adding that she thinks Kate Middleton, a commoner herself, is someone the British people can relate to.

“She is from very humble beginnings,” Espinoza said. “I think she’s like a breath of fresh air.”

William and Kate are a “pretty unconventional couple,” Espinoza said, as they have been together for eight years and even live together in Wales, making them much more modern.

“She seems to be more interested in a more simple life,” Heisel said of Kate.

Both Kate and William relate to the public well, a quality these three Arizonans think William and his brother Prince Harry inherited from their mother Diana.

“If you don’t have a linkage to the past, you don’t have a linkage to the future,” Espinoza said of the wedding’s significance.

Nora Avery-Page can be reached at 623-876-3691 or naverypage@yourwestvalley.com.

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