Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Right Royal Fuss


It's impossible to ignore. Flags are appearing hither and thither, wedding themed displays are going up in shops and the media is bracing itself for the oncoming publicity frenzy. The most talked about thing in the country at the moment is easily the royal wedding, especially today on the eve of the event.

The royal wedding either enthralls you with its chest thumping patriotic glee/ romantic fairytale connotations, or gives you that sinking feeling of being an outsider who doesn’t really get what’s going on. After all when you look at the wedding in the cold light of day it really is just about two aristocrats being wed to each other. Do you pay this much attention to the wedding of someone you don’t know (celebrities aside)?

In the scheme of things the hoopla and analysis that has gone into this wedding – including fun little side-quests like betting on what colour hat the Queen will be wearing on Friday – is a little bit weird when you really think about it. If anyone spent this much time critiquing your wedding you’d probably turn into a gibbering wreck, muttering about how many tiers there should be on the golden disco wedding cake. Still at least the celebrity wedding analysts have yet another outlet for their otherwise useless vocation.

The public obsession with celebrity weddings highlights how boring weddings are unless you know the couple involved or have an invite of your own. After all, many people simply attend a wedding as a sign of familial or friendly support and to abuse the open bar. An OK Magazine-style wedding or definitely doesn’t allocate its readers bar privileges and neither does the Royal wedding. To attend you either arrived in this world wrapped in a shroud of Windsor placenta or be a friend of someone who was once wrapped in a shroud of Windsor placenta. Failing that you’re relegated to the sidelines amongst the flag waving royal fan club members.

The most notable feature of this event is the sudden rolling out of nationalistic regalia and the repeated bleating that people, “think it is a good thing”. Being British is quite a reserved identity on the whole, as we are not very in your face about our national pride – something that the far right parties like the NF and BNP are often blamed for. I for one actually find this restraint ok as I don’t see what is endearing about blind faith in one’s own country. Sure I’m happy to live here and be British but I find the idea of flying the flag a little jingoistic and a little grotesque. I don’t really like this idea that to prove you love your country that you have to resort to such a narrow stereotype. Sure go out on Friday and celebrate your Britishness with everyone else and enjoy it, but let’s not retreat into a full-blown small minded national bubble.

Despite my protestations of our distance from the actual wedding, I genuinely wish both William and Kate (not Catherine as the media and the royals seem to have re-branded her) the best on their special day. They both seem like nice people who probably just want to be together without all the bother and attention. As irony would have it that is the one thing will probably never attain despite all their money and influence.

Also on the positive side of things, at least we get an extra bank holiday despite the moanings of small business owners up and down the country who can’t switch off for just one extra day. Killjoys.

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