At the Royal Wedding
LONDON, ENGLAND — April 29, 2011 — 500 tweets are being made every second, and I am perhaps just one of thousands of bloggers who, quite understandably, decided to write on this trending topic.
Today was a big day for many: for the British Royal family because it was the first wedding after that of Prince Charles’; for William for he was to become Duke of Cambridge; for Kate Middleton who was to spend the last few minutes of her life as a commoner as she got out of her magnificent Rolls; for most people in the world who felt attached to the Royal family; for some others who felt inspired by it; for fashion designers owing to the bride’s dress; for car-fanatics to see gorgeous vehicles of the likes of Aston Martin, Rolls Royce and Bentley; and for people like a very respectable african citizen I happened to watch on BBC, who said he ‘didn’t get why so many people were watching this; but felt happy for the people of Britain; and felt the wedding was overrated.‘; also this other tweeter who said they spent $34 million on a wedding when people of his country (whichever that unfortunate one is) lived on less than $1 a day (no million is written after the one, mind you; that was his point as far as I could make out.)
Nonetheless, the wedding was important for everyone. And especially to the critics who criticise because they know nobody is doing anything to please them.
While the particulars of the wedding itself are all over the planet–and which is, at 2 billion viewers, the most watched phenomenon ever–there is hardly any need for me stress on the little details; so I decided to leave that to this little extract from The News:
Thousands of people from around the world were outside the abbey, many of them camping overnight for the best view of the future king and queen and fuelling the feel-good factor that has briefly lifted Britain from its economic gloom.
“People watching this at home must think we’re completely mad, but there’s just no comparison,” said 58-year-old Denise Mill from southern England. “I just had to be here.”
The crowd entered into the festive spirit on a chilly day by wearing national flags and even fake wedding dresses and tiaras. Hundreds of police officers, some armed, dotted the royal routes in a major security operation. Tens of thousands more people crammed the flag-lined streets of London to catch a glimpse of marching military bands in black bearskin hats, cavalrymen in shining breastplates and ornate carriages that will carry royal figures from the service.
A large gathering is expected outside the queen’s London residence, Buckingham Palace, to cheer on the married couple as they appear on the balcony for a much-anticipated public kiss.
As Kate walked past the 1,900 or so strong hall in The Abbey, along one of the longest aisles in the UK, with Charles Parry’s I was glad playing in the background, what was estimated as a million-strong crowd with an assortment of people from all over the world had flocked outside the place.
The question as to why Prime Minister Cameroon’s wife was not decked with a hat seemed to bother some, but that was the least of a threat to the wedding itself. With the best man, Prince Harry nervously rocking beside his elder brother, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, with the words “I pronounce that they be man and wife together,” formally declared the duo married.
Harry seemed nervous to me, perhaps cracking a joke hither and thither: once, for certain, as Kate walked down the aisle and William was, perhaps, forbid to see her, and Harry managed to take a peek. William lit up his to-be-wife’s face with some words which, the able BBC commentator, to whose name I have no clue, suggested with some certainty, were something along the lines of “You’re looking beautiful.”
After the short but grand procedure, the gathering in the hall–close to some 2,000 invited guests, as I have said before, including royalty from other nations, a few diplomats, a few politicians, and celebrities like the Beckhams and Sir Elton John–moved to have lunch in the Buckingham Palace, in horse-drawn carriages.
I did not follow the news after that: apparently they did not telecast the lunch. (At least something was in private, apart from those fleeting moments in The Abbey!)
Kate’s dress, by designer Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, was the centre of much speculation with the channel, TLC, dedicating what seemed to me to be half-an-hour to conjecturing what her dress might be, and that too with women actually wearing what they thought were possibilities; it is needless to say there were countless of those!
All in all, it was a very eventful day, the whole of Britain celebrating, street parties taking the place of cars, even as far north as Scotland; and a couple of other weddings simultaneously taking place in the St. Andrew’s Cathedral in St. Andrew’s University where William and Kate first met (and where one in every ten couples who met there actually end up getting married, as far as I heard.) As the marriage itself ended, William was given the title of the Duke of Cambridge and, it follows as the night the day, Kate, the title of HH the Duchess of Cambridge, by the long-lasting Queen Elizabeth (who seems to have no intentions of abdicating; no offense!)
A common question I noticed going around, one which, perhaps, not many had expected, was what was so special about this day to so many people? Why were so many people (2 billion, to be precise) so keen on watching the event? (When, if I may add, so many weddings take place everyday.)
Perhaps you have thought this over, perhaps not. But, personally, I believe that the day was not really special to everyone in the true sense of the word. It was a fascination. Monarchy has mostly died down, at least apparently, and we have often seen such proceedings in books and films, never in real life. It was, therefore, the thought of actual royalty getting married in the manner we have only heard of (and perhaps some have had the fortune to watch about 30 years ago with Charles and Diana) that held people’s curiosity. And it was, as I conjecture, more of this curiosity–not to mention, speculation about Kate’s dress–that drove people to their televisions, or to the Mall itself.
Also, in some nations like India, as a BBC Hindi correspondent put it, where marriage is a big thing, where, perhaps millions do not come to watch but they do have household cavalry no doubt, and where people are constantly looking for inspiration to make their marriage special, the William-Kate wedding was more entertaining than entirely special. What do you think about this? Perhaps you can share it with us below.
And (at least until Prince Harry’s marriage,) this is one royal dose of a wedding that will live in our memories for a long time to come.