Souvenir Will and Kate coffee mug, one of the billions of Royal Wedding-themed tchotchkes that will be sold during the next 24 hours. [Template courtesy Regretsy, Photoshop courtesy Yours Truly.]
While residents of the southeastern United States assess the destruction and bury the dead in the wake of yesterday’s unprecedented tornado outbreak, the national media are moving on to the really important News of the Day: the impending wedding of H.R.H. Prince William of Wales, K.G. with Miss Catherine Middleton.
Ahh, we Americans love our Pageantry of State, especially when we don’t have to bear the expense of maintaining it. We’re the ones who, some 235 years ago, decided we didn’t want any truck with royalty. And yet we collectively wet our pants over every ridiculous detail of the Royal Wedding, as if any of it really mattered. What Catherine will wear (ooh!) - how many horse-drawn carriages will transport the wedding party (ahh!) - the historic venue, Westminster Abbey (ooh!) - whether William will wear boxers, briefs, or simply go commando for the occasion (gaah!)
Meryl Yourish probably has the best take on the whole thing:
...I think the entire concept of monarchy, no matter how limited, is pathetic and about as anti-American as you can get. Why is that family rich? Because they used their armies to take money from other people over the centuries, and then forced them to pay taxes to support their heirs in perpetuity. I don’t believe any royal family is much better than modern dictators when you get down to the core of their fortunes. The difference is their victims died centuries ago, and Ghaddafy’s are dying today. So yeah, celebrate another wedding of wealthy inbred thieves? Pass.Having said all that, I will concede that nobody - nobody - does Pomp and Circumstance quite as well as our British friends. It is so veddy, veddy entertaining to watch an amount of money equivalent to the GNP of several small nations being expended on a ceremony that, at its core, is the granting of a License to Screw. We haven’t seen the like for a long time...
...for it was nearly three decades ago - July 29, 1981 - that She Who Must Be Obeyed and I sat in her parents’ Beaumont, Texas home, watching Prince Charles marry Diana Spencer, William’s mother, in St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was a fairytale wedding: perhaps an overused phrase, but aptly descriptive of something that bears absolutely no relationship to Real Life.
Alas, that particular fairy tale did not have a “happily ever after” ending, given Charles and Diana’s separation, divorce, and Diana’s subsequent tragic death. But good stories - even good fairy tales - are not about the “happily ever after” part anyway, but the events preceding it. “Miserably ever after” plays so much better to the parts of our Reptilian Hindbrain where reside emotions like envy, jealousy, and schadenfreude.
Perhaps Will - who is a mere nine days older than the Mistress of Sarcasm - will think of his late Mum as he takes his wedding vows in the same grand hall wherein her funeral was held. As for me, I wish the royal newlyweds every happiness in the same manner I would wish any pair of newlyweds every happiness. And happiness will be elusive, for despite their enormous material wealth, theirs are lives that will be lived in rigorous circumscription and under constant critical observation. Events as trivial as a fart under the Royal Sheets will be newsworthy... and Gawd help Kate should she eat asparagus.