Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Waaaah! Why Do We Have to Have a Royal Wedding?!

What's all the fuss?!

Photo: George Pimentel, WireImage

Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was everything a royal bride should be: elegant, dignified, composed, confident, demure. For a commoner, she was surprisingly regal. Some people are born into royalty. Kate was obviously born with natural royalty.

As she walked down the aisle, having won the heart of her prince, her carriage, her poise, her confident air, proud but not haughty. William’s was beautiful, too, though, much younger. She looked like a fairy princess on her wedding day. Her daughter-in-law looked like a queen (with all due respect to Queen Elizabeth, and Camilla who are next in line). She looked exquisitely beautiful in her simple, but elegant gown and slim, white veil. She was perfection. When the couple came to the door, you just knew: here was a future Queen of England.

There were a couple of fun and funny moments during the wedding. Prince Harry could be counted on to save the ceremony from too much pomp. Then there was the moment when William struggled to get the ring on Kate’s finger. Well, what doesn’t slip on easily, won’t slip off easily, either.

The howler was the balcony kiss, though. As William and Kate kissed for the first time, the crowds in front of Buckingham Palace roared their approval and the RAF sent jets and planes overhead.

Three year-old bridesmaid Grace Van Cutsems was not amused. The little scene-stealer, William’s goddaughter, clamped her hands over hear ears just as the royal couple took a second kiss.

Finally, Kate and William, instead of leaving the palace in a limousine, departed in a convertible by themselves, like any normal couple. The car was festooned with ribbons and a license plate that said “Just Wed.” It was a smart, strategic move on their part, said to be William’s idea.

Across the pond, here in America, grumpy Americans were complaining about the extravagance and the hoopla. Why should we care about a royal wedding? Indeed, the two receptions are estimated to cost approximately $600,000. The wedding cakes cost $40,000 a piece. Kate had three dresses. The ceremony dress, hand embroidered and hand laced cost $41,000.

That’s to say nothing of the security, transportation, flowers, music, and the honeymoon. Why couldn’t they just get married like everyone else? Charles and Diana had an expensive wedding, and looked what happened there. What a waste that was. The only good things their union produced are William and Harry (and some people aren’t so sure about Harry. Some people just need to get a sense of humor.).

The contrast between their wedding and that of their older son is striking in everywhere. Kate and William were a love match. Diana was 20 when she married; Kate is 29. Diana came from a broken home. The Middletons appear to be happily married. Charles was in love with a woman he wasn’t permitted to marry because his grandmother objected. Some relative in Camilla’s distant past was the mistress of the king. They wanted to marry, but Camilla told him she just couldn’t wait around anymore for him to stand up for himself – she wanted to get married and have children - and she married someone else.

Reports are Queen Mother Elizabeth ruled with an iron glove. She finally suffered the divorce when it was clear poor Diana was so desperate to get out of the marriage, she would do just about anything, even damage the royal reputation, to break free. I lost sympathy for her, though, when she continued to pursue her course of vengeance after the divorce.

Once QME passed away, and then Diana died in the accident, Queen Elizabeth finally gave Charles and Camilla permission to marry. What a mess.

That’s not likely to happen in this case. The Bishop of London instructed the couple, and the congregation, to remember Chaucer’s admonition about mastery in marriage:

“Marriage,” he said, “should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,
Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”

That sermon alone was worth the $41,000 dress, the $40,000 cake, all the hoopla and media attention. If married couples have learned that lesson and taken it to heart, then it was worth every pound the British spent on this royal wedding.


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