That royal wedding and a house divided
SO, are you still nursing a king-sized hangover? Not a real morning-after blinder caused by too many glasses of Dom P�rignon and several other drinks whose names you’ve forgotten but a rosy glow caused by the feelgood-factor afterburn of a fairy-tale wedding and a long weekend. After all, what else are royal nuptials for?
Friday’s was as close to a real-life Cinderella story as we could ever witness, without shipping in a pumpkin, glass slipper, a wand powerful enough to wipe away the national debt at a stroke and a couple of visually-offputting siblings. There’s something heartening in knowing this is really for love and not a handy union of aristocratic families – Kate’s ancestors including a coal miner and a Victorian resident of Holloway Prison, and good on them.
The Darcy household ran the full spectrum (nearly) from Union Flag-totting monarchism (well, James just likes waving flags) to lukewarm republicanism. The cats had the casting vote but weren’t saying – engrossed in keeping watch lest an ornate carriage really did turn back into a rodent.
Swept away by the romance and spectacle, Jane was most avidly glued to the TV – keen to catch the first glimpse of dress, hair and make-up. Earlier in the week, as the hype rose to X Factor levels, Emma had asked loudly: “What’s the point of it?” She softened on the day, if only to try to spot celebrities before her brother did. James, meanwhile, simply couldn’t get his head round the line of succession. He also revealed a worrying view that we need a king, because men rule better than women. A gallop through his Horrible Histories books soon found enough male-inspired bloodshed and ill-management of the nation to demolish that juvenile misconception.
Me, I could take it or leave it. I’d rather spend the money on schools and hospitals, though I acknowledge the stabilising influence of this Elizabethan era and its benefits for tourism. I abhor the institutional bias against Catholics and the sexism of succession, but I very much like William and Kate (born in the year I started work!), who appear grounded, humorous and happy. I’m sure they will become king and queen, and “rule” in a way fitting for the 21st Century. I missed the wedding of William’s parents; I was on holiday in Detroit and it was all over by the time I woke up. “Do you know Lady Di?” several Americans asked. “Of course. I go to the palace every Tuesday afternoon for Earl Grey and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off by a starch-collared butler.” They loved that.