Like everyone else in the world with British roots, today will be spent watching the Royal Wedding – we can’t help it, its in our DNA. Our Harry is not impressed.
‘Mom, what do you think you’re doing? It’s not as if these people are family or you actually know them.’
No, I don’t, but there’s something rather special about watching two people publicly pledge a life together. This is also a family like no other anywhere on the globe. I have tried to explain the importance of monarchy to Harry, its position as a check on the activities of the British Parliament – the armed forces are under the control of the Monarch.
Which is why there hasn’t been a civil war since the unfortunate national glitch in the 1600s. At that time Charles II was getting a little out of hand and did need reining in, but unfortunately, as happens in these situations, the pendulum swung rather too far the other way and it did take a while to get the nation back on track.
In today’s world I have a great deal of respect for a monarch who is the greatest international statesman alive. This was not a career choice for her. She has watched parliaments come and go, politicians rise and fall on the tide of popularity and had to deal with her own dysfunctional family, in public. And not once has she faltered. The first Prime Minister she worked with was Sir Winston Churchill which says it all.
Perhaps she’s not made the best choices when it came to public opinion (aka the debacle after the death of Princess Diana), but overall every decision she has made has been made for the right reasons. How many politicians have done the same?
Todays Royal Wedding is momentous historically and socially. Westminster Abbey has existed in some form since 624AD (no, I didn’t miss out a digit). Kings have been crowned there, royal marriage ceremonies performed. Read the history books and this place was walked in by the great and the mighty – the walls breathe the lives of those who have gone before, their presence felt still in the stone and wood of that glorious building.
For this wedding there is also the back story. The ghost of the wedding thirty years ago which haunts a family still. A marriage entered into by a man who forgot to mention to his wife that he wasn’t really in love with her. ‘whatever that means’.
Look at the footage of the young Lady Diana spencer walking down the aisle at St Paul’s Cathedral and at one point see the look of fear in her eyes. A lamb to the slaughter – believing she’d married her Prince only to discover she’d ended up with the frog.
What Diana did, as so many women do who find themselves in that situation, was pass her hopes and love on to her children. What she seems to have achieved’ where so many mothers fail, was to find a balance between guidance and smothering.
How effective she was as a mother has been seen in the behaviour of William over the last few months. No-one can be in any doubt he loves his bride, wants to spend his life with her at his side. Despite the sniping in the press Kate obviously loves the man, not his position. Look at photographs of the two of them catching each other’s eye and the love, respect and joy they share is obvious.
They have been living quietly in Anglesey – enough to make any woman run a mile if she was only around for the glamour. Kate hasn’t had a ‘proper job’ – please define proper job for someone with her background. I’d be worried if she was a career women – she’s going to have a full-time job-for-life from today onwards, one she won’t have too much say in, can’t run away from and will live surrounded by a family world-renowned for being difficult.
Today, as the two of them walk up the aisle their lives ahead of them, the history books will close on thirty years of a family torn apart. It won’t close on Diana – she will be there in the Abbey hopefully at peace, knowing her son has absorbed the lessons she taught him. It’s fitting Kate wears her ring, that William instinctively understands the emotional symbolism. He is his mother’s son and she would be proud.
Todays occasion is an historic one, but more importantly it’s a story of happiness after tragedy, of finding a soul mate, of finding love. William’s father ‘messed up’ but in William there is a something deep and tangible. He knows who he is and where he’s going, is not defined by the position he’s been born into. He gives hope of goodness in a crazy world.
He’s not just his mother’s son, he is his Grandmother too. Both women have hung their hopes on William the man becoming a great King.
I don’t want to hear the muttering of ‘bah humbug’ – the negative comments of the cynics. Watch the people on the streets of London today, the roar of the crowd when the couple walk on the balcony, the street parties around the country and tell me the monarchy is no longer important to the nation.
Call it what you will I won’t be missing it for the world.