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Friday 29 April 2011

The Royal Wedding!

Well...what can be said beyond: What a perfect day!

“Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this....” lovely wedding. It’s so much more than a day’s celebration. Like the Abbey, it’s a thousand years in the making: the perfect blending of royalty with the people.

There was a time when people blamed their kings and queens for all their ills. There was a time when kings and queens viewed their people with disdain. It has taken centuries for the two to come together and every step along the way has led to the lovely blend of dignity, pageant and respect with the fun and sense of camaraderie that we have seen today. Alongside all the implications for the nation, we shared the joy of two lovely people who are so perfectly suited and who are both fun-loving and dignified - what a perfect combination! I hope they are having a really happy party this evening in the palace!

God bless all of the many, many people behind the scenes who rehearsed in the early hours for months in advance to make this day so lovely for our country!

And every blessing upon Prince William and Princess Catherine! May they always be as beautiful and happy as they are today!

And thank heavens for the survival of the monarchy!!


Anonymous said...

I think the wedding was very sober and dignified. Maybe not as impressive as one is used from the UK, but it seems both the Prince and Catherine wanted a more quiet and sober ceremony that suited their character better (and also the fact that the prince is not the heir to the throne, but the eldest son of the heir).
I was yesterday wondering why the British monarchy is different from the rest of the monarchies of Europe. I'm no expert at all, but I have a theory. First, the UK is an island, and that gives a special feeling in the people's mind, of being different and at the same time very protective of their own identity. I know it because my country is almost like an island (in the north we have a desert, in the south we have fiords, non-inhabited islands and a lot of sea; in the east we have an endless chain of mountains; and in the west we have an ocean). Also, at the time when continental monarchies were gradually becoming less pompous and more "common" (abolishing the coronation ceremony like the Scandinavian monarchies or the Dutch Queen riding bicycles to move from her palace to her office, etc) the British monarchy was expanding its empire, thus becoming the only element that could keep all those different territories, cultures, religions and traditions together. Without all the symbolic pomp and pageantry, the ceremonies, the coronation, the titles, ranks, etc, that impressed (and continues to impress) the world, it would have been impossible to keep the empire together. To dominate a country, you need to create a powerful impression on its people, show them your power (the Delhi Durbar in India was a way of doing this). They have, of course, evolved since the times of Queen Victoria, but in such a masterful way that it seems to us as if they've always been the same, when they really haven't. They have been the only ones who have been able to keep their identity while still evolving at their own pace.
And another element is that by becoming the largest empire on Earth and thus exporting their language, the British monarchy became extremely important. Who cares about a Danish or Dutch monarch that we cannot understand when he's talking? On the other hand, when Elizabeth II talks, we can understand her. I think it's a very simple yet powerful element, the language.
Maybe I'm just writing nonsense, but I think some of this is true. What do you think, Christina?


Christina said...

What a really interesting comment, Jorge – thank you! – with so much food for thought! There is so much to think about from your comment and, as it is getting late in England, I don’t want to write a rushed response, so please may I reply tomorrow? Thank you so much for inspiring so many thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Of course, no problem. Thanks to you, as your posts are very inspiring!


Christina said...

Thank you :-)

These are just my thoughts, Jorge. I thought the ceremony suited the Prince and new Princess perfectly – a combination of tradition and dignity with a common touch. Due to the alleged recession, I think they felt obliged, too, to tone it down a little.
Re. the UK monarchy. Yes, I agree about the island aspect – which makes us so insular - and also about the language (the latter being particularly important) but I believe the main reason for the appeal comes from the tradition and pageantry. Buckingham Palace’s location helps, too – right in the centre of London where anyone can approach the gates – and the continual visible Changing of the Guard, and the presence of the Horse Guards in their ceremonial uniforms. Together with the Yeoman (Beefeater) uniforms, and those of pages etc. the spectacle is visible every day of the year.
Another factor I think is that in the past 200 years we have had two Queens, the length of whose reigns has made them almost legendary. In the days before TV, Queen Victoria game her name to so many places throughout the Empire, and throughout the 59 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, there has been widespread media coverage so she has become very familiar to people. Perhaps it helped, too, that our Royal Family were so visible during the war, remaining in Buckingham Palace even when it was being bombed and so they came to characterise the nation.
Within the UK itself, I think the continued success of the monarchy is due to the tireless work of the Queen, who has remained dignified and committed to her duties throughout the vicissitudes of her reign. The monarchy has moved with the times – Prince William’s upbringing was so different from that of his father – but has managed to do so without compromising tradition. There is also the long history of being a constitutional monarchy (our only brush with a president-equivalent – Cromwell – turned out to be a disaster!!) so that both the monarchy and Parliament maintain a balance, neither letting the other become too powerful.
I am filled with admiration for the Queen who at 85 years old must be one of the hardest-working people in her age group! I admire her ability to reflect the mood of the people – and this is really obvious because on the one occasion in all these years when she appeared to fail to do that (immediately following the death of Princess Diana) there was quite an outcry. In spite of that, though, the first time she appeared in public again, she was warmly and affectionately greeted...people who come into her presence always say they feel a sese of awe...you just can’t help but love her – that’s the mystique of royalty, I suppose! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Christina.

Very true, royalty have a mystique, but to keep it you have to keep a distance, as Her Majesty does. When monarchies become too common, as I see in some European countries, they begin to lose their appeal. I hope that the British monarchy will continue as it is.