Planning the perfect royal honeymoon

It can be a long walk to the water at Wells-Next-The-Sea but it's worth it. Picture: PAUL REYNOLDS

It can be a long walk to the water at Wells-Next-The-Sea but it's worth it. Picture: PAUL REYNOLDS - Credit:

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not yet headed off on honeymoon, so if they haven’t booked year, why not come to East Anglia

Framlingham Castle - where Mary Tudor (Mary I) triumphed. Picture: ALEX ROOD

Framlingham Castle - where Mary Tudor (Mary I) triumphed. Picture: ALEX ROOD - Credit: Archant

Now The Wedding is over, we can but speculate about the honeymoon arrangements of their royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Is it in the diary or are the couple still looking for a destination? If so, where better than East Anglia in summer?

Yes, I know, the wedding is barely over, we’ve only just assimilated the revelations about the dress, the bouquet, the service and so forth and already we have something else upon which to muse.

Instead of immediately jetting off to some sun-soaked, drone-free, paparazzi-cleared island, the Sussexes head straight back to work this week, carrying out their first official engagements as husband and wife.

A country lane lined with Cow Parsley. Picture: PETER BASH

A country lane lined with Cow Parsley. Picture: PETER BASH - Credit:

The couple, who exchanged vows in a ceremony watched by millions across the world on Saturday, were due to attend a Buckingham Palace garden party, yesterday, as part of the Prince of Wales’s 70th birthday celebrations.

Also circled on the Calendar is a visit to Australia for the 2018 Invictus Games in October.

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There are, we understand, other official royal duties pencilled in... one hopes they will be able to grab a few days to themselves at some point. Not that travelling to a honeymoon paradise will be a matter of saving up to pay for it, however.

World-wide, the most popular destinations seem to be (depending on which website you look at)

You get first sight of sunrise at Lowestoft. Picture: PHILIP CHIPPERFIELD

You get first sight of sunrise at Lowestoft. Picture: PHILIP CHIPPERFIELD - Credit: philip chipperfield

Italy, South Africa, Belize, Mexico, French Polynesia and then we have:

? California wine country (as this is the duchess’s home state, she may prefer somewhere else)

? Greece (but then that old Elgin Marbles row rumbles on)

? Switzerland (a chance to see how you can be European without being in the EU)

The noble Suffolk horse. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The noble Suffolk horse. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

? Florida (a chance to meet Disney royalty - Princess Aurora, Prince Charming etc)

But is there nowhere lovelier than East Anglia.

We have vineyards, we have beaches – some of them featuring miles of pale golden sands, ruffled only by the tides. We have ancient sites to wonder at – Sutton Hoo, for example. I accept it is maybe 800 years younger than the Parthenon but it is still a marvel.

But what about the white-washed buildings and unrelenting sunshine of, for example, Santorini, a beautiful, quiet Mediterranean island – the sort of place you can get up at 6am and practice Tai Chi on a roof?

Yes, it is unique but so is Southwold (if you want sand); so is Dunwich (if you’re not that bothered about sand), so is West Mersea, if you like oysters, so is the North Norfolk coast – though you may need a crash course in the pronunciation of town and village names.

For a new British Citizen, what could be better than exploring a part of England that hides its historical significance behind glorious, verdant pastures, meadows of wildflowers and a self-deprecating manner. Native East Anglians often find it difficult to “big up” where they live but, even though I’m half-Norfolk and half Suffolk, I’ll have a go.

We have country roads with verges abundant in wildflowers. Currently, the cow parsley fringes the hawthorn blossom and the hedgerows are twittering with fledglings. At the end of many of these roads are country pubs with excellent menus and beer.

As a new British citizen, the Duchess of Sussex will, I imagine, be keen to try real ale.

We have some very fine castles and stately homes... although, of course, so do the royal couple. We also have strong connections to the kings and queens of England. The proximity of East Anglia to London encouraged many monarchs to visit the region (in ye olden days it was a nifty wheeze for cash-pressed royal treasuries).

When Mary I (Bloody Mary) seized power from the supporters of Lady Jane Grey after the death of King Edward VI, she made her stand at Framlingham Castle. Devout kings and queens visited the shrines of Our Lady of Walsingham and Our Lady of Ipswich.

The history of Britain aside, there are so many national pastimes that East Anglia can offer. Horse racing at Newmarket; fish and chips eaten on a promenade from a cardboard tray with a wooden fork; watching Suffolk horses plough; a ride on a steam train (various locations); see the sun rise first at Ness point, in Lowestoft, the most easterly point in the country... but best of all, meet people who will tell it like it is - these are East Anglians.

What you get from East Anglians

• The East Anglian sense of humour - that’s the one encapsulated in the motorist stopping in a village to ask directions of a local and the local shaking his head and tutting before replying: “Well if I wanted to go there, I wun’t start from here.”

• East Anglian neighbourliness. It may take up to 20 years to be fully accepted if you move into a small community from a long way away (more than 10 miles) but you will quickly be embraced by the full warmth of your neighbours who will happily volunteer you to organise the Christmas raffle.

• Cuttings from their garden

• The offer of a cup of tea - you probably won’t get a choice of blend. It will be brown.

• Co-op culture - East Anglians love their Co-op stores. In Ipswich most people (over a certain age) can still reel off their family’s dividend number.

• Useful words and sayings eg “On the huh,” “great lummox,” “Larose and medlars,”

• Honesty: “You’re not going out in that, are you?”

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