It’s Royal Wedding Day. Today the heir to the British throne (once removed) is to marry his university sweetheart whilst the whole country sits divided and either watches, enraptured or scoffs. It will be a day when the English do what they do best: pomp, ceremony, tradition. And I say English rather that British because I think it is a peculiarly English way to carry on. The marching, the precision timing, the hundreds of years of history behind every building, every carriage, every piece of jewellery, even every uniform. It’s all part of what makes the English English.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a Royalist but I have no deep seated objection to the Royal Family. Someone has to do it and I can see the merits in a system when there is unlikely to be an argument over whose turn it is next. What I do love though is tradition. For some reason that I really couldn’t begin to explain, I take comfort from the fact that the wedding will be executed in this way simply because that’s the way it’s done. Somewhere in London there are lots of people who know exactly who does what and why because that’s their job. Living history you might call it. I particularly like that the Royal Couple will declare their vows to one another using the same words that I used when I got married. OK, the rest of the do might be slightly grander than mine was but the essence is exactly the same. What was good enough for me is good enough for the future Head of State.
Although they have been sorely lacking in my social calendar for a good ten years, I love a good wedding. This one looks, on paper at least, like a belter. The couple are old enough to understand what they are taking on. They have already shown that they know their own minds and won’t be strait-jacketed by convention when it is feasible to escape it and there have clearly been rows about the guest list and, no doubt, the seating plan. And let’s face it, we need something to distract us from the rest of life in England which seems to go from bad to worse on a week by week basis.
So it’s down to the country to give Kate and Wills the send off that we have come to expect. Middle England, with flags and red, white and blue face paint, cheering for all it is worth.
And today, assuming it runs as predicted, I shall be proud to be English. I will revel in my heritage that goes back into the mists of time with its crystal clear expectation of how these things should be done with no margin for error, no cutting corners and absolutely no compromise. There aren’t many things in life that can be carried out with such rigidity and still be valid but an English Royal occasion is one.
So all that remains is to hope for good weather, that the bride remembers her groom’s names and that no one faints at an awkward moment. I shall endeavour to watch the ceremony with such of my children whose interest it can sustain, enjoy the music and the outfits and no doubt have a little weep for the promise of things to come as I usually do at a wedding