Saturday, April 30, 2011

What a fabulous wedding

Did you watch the royal wedding? I did and loved it. I was watching it on Sky (not on French tele) with some other Brits. Our lovely hostess had gone to town on Pimms, sandwiches - egg, smoked salmon, beef, cucumber - strawberries and cream, and of course, champagne. She had even strung up Union Jack bunting outside and strewn red, white, and blue balloons over the floor.

The BBC did us proud with tv coverage (although ITV had the cheerier reporting apparently), the Royal Family did us proud with ceremony, and the Middletons did us proud with their dignity and style. We cheered the appearance of Kate, admired her beautiful dress which reflected her radiance as a happy bride and were moved as she made her way up the aisle.

Her brother read the lesson with amazing professionalism especially when you consider he is only 23 and not used to such occasions, and the Bishop of London gave us a thoughtful sermon.

The crowds were simply spectacular. I was all the more impressed because I don't like crowds, and being in such a huge sea of people would have filled me with anxiety. As I'm small, I tend to get lost in lots of people, can see nothing, and my throat is at elbow level of many tall men. From experience, this is risky. So I looked at the mass of heads when the Royal party were on the balcony with awe. The noise must have been awesome too. No wonder Kate said 'Oh wow' when she came out.

I had to go back to work during the afternoon and it was strange how the atmosphere of the royal wedding lingered with me. I had various things to do but it was difficult concentrating. When I got home I put the television on to see if there was anything about it on. Sadly it had stopped and I had to wait until the 10 o'clock news before I got to see the bits I'd missed.

Reflecting on the meaning of it all, the royal couple represent every single Brit. They draw us together at moments like this bringing out our communal feelings of belonging to the nation. No politician can do that in a healthy way (thinking of the more extreme ones who overdid their nationalistic pulling together!). Our royal family is unique in the world for bringing people together.

William and Catherine have their work cut out as a newly wed royal couple, but as a nation we so want them to do well, to be happy and successful in their marriage. While many of us fail and get divorced, it seems important that the family that represents us does its best to be an example. We need good role models, and the Cambridges who obviously really love each other are dignified, restrained and dutiful. These are all traits which have sunk into unpopularity with much of the population because they involve self-denial, but the quality of people who are honourable shines out. We admire the dignified and dutiful, we don't admire the undignified amongst the royal entourage (yes I'm looking at you, Sarah F). If they want us to admire them, they have to behave accordingly. Respect is earned, and William and Catherine certainly set by a huge store of respect and goodwill yesterday.

Today I have devoured the papers looking at coverage of everything from the best and worst-dressed (those poor York girls!), the photos, the reports of every aspect of the wedding. Most have been full of admiration for the royal couple and the Middletons, especially Pippa whose bottom dress mesmerized the male population as she followed her sister up the aisle. One article by Dr David Starkey (advertising his book) was unnecessarily sneery and pointless (and attracted the following comment from one reader: "What an opportunistic, myopic, curmudgeonly old git. I can give Mr Starkey 6 years but I hope that I will never become such a sad old bugger."), and David Aaranovitch who doesn't understand the national feeling and tries to be cuttingly above it, but these were the only two that I read. It's been so quiet here with everyone away, I have been able to conjure up again the moments of the wedding and the feelings of hope tinged with a little worry for the royal couple.

I hope they make it, we all hope they make it - they enthralled us with an amazing start, I hope the rest of their lives lives up to that moment. Oh, and I hope they enjoy their honeymoon in peace. Having given of themselves so much yesterday, they deserve some privacy now to get over it!

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