"It is dreadful," declared India Hicks, the model and former Top Design host, in a supremely proper English accent that made the phrase a symphony of syllables.
She was sitting in a room at the Mark hotel on the Upper East Side, gazing out her window at rain squalls. Just back from a weekend jaunt to London and en route to her home in the Bahamas, she was in New York to work on a jewellery line, promote Crabtree & Evelyn's latest fragrance collection and film a segment for Barbara Walters royal wedding special on ABC.
Hicks, one of Diana's five bridesmaids and a goddaughter to Prince Charles, has gradually emerged in the role of royal-wedding expert.
At Diana's 1981 wedding, Hicks was a 13-year-old tomboy. Now 43 and the mother of three sons and a daughter, she will clip on a microphone and play commentator for the much-anticipated April 29 nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
"It's a role that Hicks' mother, Pamela Hicks, a daughter of Countess Mountbatten of Burma and the last Viceroy of India and herself a bridesmaid to Queen Elizabeth, has perhaps surprisingly encouraged. "My mother reminds me, 'You are a part of history," said Hicks.
Though royal commentary is a field more often left to commoners, in Hicks' view, it's something of a feminist act to offer her input on an event she described as more typically covered by authoritative men in gray suits.