By Rebecca Rose
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS - King's T&U Tea Room officially opened its doors on Friday, with a special Royal Wedding Celebration in honor of newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton.
A crowd of 30 friends, family, patrons and well-wishers from civic groups gathered in the garden to hear musical performances and sample English Gehr's traditional English food.
Surrounded by friends and family who have supported her since she first started the café in October, Gehr cut the ribbon, aided by her daughter, Marie.
"I enjoy people," Gehr said. "Tea is a social tradition. The art of tea is lost. I want to bring it back. The tradition of ladies wearing hats, gentlemen pulling chairs out for ladies. That's why we're here."
The color of the day was red, as members of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, wearing their signature bright red jacket mingled with members of the Harker Heights Red Hat Society.
Hats, too, were a fixture among the crowd, as local women donned their favorite bonnets and "fascinators", in accordance with the English tradition of wearing bold, bright hats to weddings.
Judy Thompson, owner of Bygone Era Antiques in Belton, was on hand with a display of some of the merchandise in her store.
Among the vintage jewelry, hats and gowns, Muriel "Mother" Bell, 92, of Killeen, joked that she was "vintage woman."
The wedding was a topic of conversation, as Gehr displayed a wedding cake and groom's cake to honor the famous newlyweds.
"They seem so down to Earth," said Darlene Ellis, a friend of Gehr's. "It was like they were surprised to all these people coming out for them."
Her favorite part was when the couple kissed, she said. "He didn't go by the rules and give her one kiss. He took himself a second kiss."
Bernie Lowe, member of the Red Hat Society, said the wedding made her reminiscent. "I think of all of us as young girls, and how excited we were to get married back then."
The nuptials brought back memories of her own wedding, which didn't come close to the lavish preparations and spectacle of the future king and queen of England's. She was married by a Justice of the Peace, outside an Army camp in Arizona, days before her fiancé was set to deploy to Germany for World War II.
"I wore my Easter Dress. It was navy blue with white trim. But I forgot to take off my coat for the ceremony. Nobody reminded me to do that."
Sipping sparkling cider punch and toasting to the new couple, Lowe said she was "happy for them."
King's T&U is at 1608 E. Farm-to-Market 2410 in Harker Heights. For more information or to reserve a table, call (254) 813-3210.
Contact Rebecca Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7548. Follow her on Twitter at KDHheights.