Much Ado About a Wedding

What was it that was happening on the 29th of April again? Ah yes, my daughter’s birthday. No, that’s not it – I seem to remember it being something a trifle less important.

I jest, of course. It is, depending on who you speak to, the most important event to take place in Britain for the last 20 years, or a complete waste of time and taxpayer money, providing an offering of bread and circuses to the plebeian hordes who have nothing better to do than dote over the offspring of a tired old hag whose time in the sun should have ended decades ago.

Either way, there’s enough hooha being strewn hither and thither to carpet bomb a small continent (Australia would have done nicely, thanks, if India hadn’t got there first), and a sufficient supply of trinkety memorabilia to kick-start the Great British Economic Recovery. From books to mugs to plates, you can have it all. And while the kitchen sink is probably not on the list, you can keep your Royal Wedding Cheese nice and fresh in your Royal Wedding Fridge.

Personally, I’ve never understood the appeal of the Royal family. Sure, Diana was a pretty little thing, who came, saw, and gave a sincere wave. But she had more troubles than her old kitbag could cope with and once the seams split, it all started going south a little while later. At about 105 km/h, apparently. (Hmmm… did that cross a line somewhere?) As for the rest of them, the less said the better.

But try telling that to the tabloid press. The reams of mawkishly devoted tripe that gets published about Mum & Co is thoroughly out of touch. In my mind, it’s distressingly similar to what a dictator would produce if he took control of the Press. Although, to be fair, they do print their fair share of scathing rebukes every time one of the Naughty Ones does something wrong. But who is it that reads this rubbish, or buys this bunk? I have yet to find anyone who is genuinely looking forward to the wedding, or is enthralled by the royals, or is happy about their taxes going to pay for their upkeep. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, talking to the wrong sorts of people, or am too tainted by my own preconceptions to see the stars in their eyes.

But about 70% of the population want to keep the monarchy (even if 70% of those think the queen needs to get with the programme a bit), so there must be a substantial market for this stuff. And so we get bombarded with it. Every newspaper and magazine, every shop, every infomercial. There’s even a competition at my office – design a commemorative plate and win a prize! (The prize being that they’ll print your design on a plate for you to keep…. at least they had the decency to add ‘cynical’ to the list of possible design approaches you could take.)

I’m just thankful that I’ve managed to survive the period from the engagement to the wedding. The fuss about the ring, about the blue dress, about the location, about every little detail of what the day will potentially be like. And it’s only intensifying as the date draws near. So wish me luck while I try keep my eyes and ears closed for the next 5 and a half weeks until the wonderful day when the wedding is over, and we can start being told about the honeymoon, and then the first few weeks, and then the puppy they’ll no doubt procure, and then the numerous Royal Engagements they’ll go to, and…

If only they had the sheer entertainment value of politicians, it might just be a little bit more bearable.


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2 Responses to Much Ado About a Wedding

  1. Brad Nixon says:

    I know something about that sort of hoo-hah. I happened to be in Merrie Olde during the Jubilee Days for Ms. Windsor’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. On the Big Day, I was in a little Welsh village, where the local schoolchildren turned out and cheered as the band of the Royal Welsh Grenadiers played patriotic songs. Some cousin-or-other of the Queen made a presentation of medals to the children. Yes, there was a lot of silliness then: the same commemorative crockery and casual wear.
    Since I was the outsider, they made certain that I came away with one of those Jubilee medallions, but more precious to me is the replica of the emblem of the Grenadiers they also gave me. They are a unit that for more than 300 years has served in the most horrific and trying battles to have cursed the planet, from Bosworth to Passchendaele, all the while marking both their Welsh national heritage and their role as a not-quite sovereign nation within Britain. Some of them even then were facing deployment to the “troubles” across the Irish Sea.
    Fret not, my friend. The shows themselves are silly, but underneath the quackery lies the heart of a great nation, aching to unite in the the sense of oneness they have felt as bombs fell on Hull and Coventry and London, . Those same Grenadiers fought in your native land, as they did in mine, at Bunker Hill. The Grenadiers’ own Robert Graves and Ford Madox Ford wrote “Goodbye to All That” and “Parade’s End” in words that will outlive the commemorative mugs and plates.
    Let us say, as would my grandmother — were she here — who waited out the zeppelin attacks on Hull in 1914, “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau,” “Old land of my fathers.”

    • ntickner says:

      Thanks – food for thought this is, hmmm. There is certainly some of that old spirit still around (shortly after we arrived there was a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain), but I fear it’s been severely diluted in the last 33 years. The sense of community and solidarity forced on the people by the war has not had any significant top-ups since then, and events such as the forming of the EU and Iraq seem to have only created a myriad factions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ on each issue. Pro/anti-Europe, Pro/anti-Euro, pro/anti war, etc.
      That said, I’m certain that the situation in Wales and Scotland would be better – the sense of separate nationhood comes through quite strongly. In Wales, it’s evidenced in a revival of the language, in Scotland, the partial self-rule. And also, those closely connected to long-standing historical institutions would gain a lot from that. Steam railways, old buses, as examples.
      So I’m not fretting, but thus far that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Then again, I’m living in rather a transient community where there isn’t a large longstanding stable population.
      I intend to do a bit more research on this.

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