OK, I had a bit of an advantage–seeing as I was already at work monitoring the raw feed, I was right in the thick of the live broadcast, so unless I actively tuned it out, there was no way I could miss it. Truthfully, I did studiously ignore all of the build-up press; I don’t even know exactly when the boy proposed and definitely tuned out every report on potential couturiers, honeymoon plans, pre-events, etc. And I do understand that there are people dealing with emergency situations, tragedies and are just plain not interested (though I have to admit being taken aback at some of the vehemence toward extravagant excess, perceived social snubs and hidden/blatant racism based on non-coverage of other royal weddings). However, I had been looking forward to the wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton.
First and foremost, I’m an 80s baby. I have vivid memories of being 10 years old on a dance school trip with about eight of us huddled in our hotel room, anxiously awaiting the wedding ceremony between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. I remember oohing and aahing at the dress (at the time all that poufiness was glamorous) and tiara and wishing to be princess for a day myself. And following the exploits of the Royal Family once the boys were born was a passive interest of mine, especially after the not-so-tidy divorce and Diana’s attempts at normalizing her life and not being looked at with pity because of it. I didn’t necessarily seek out news on the royals, but did pay attention whenever Diana made humanitarian visits, often bringing William and Henry (more commonly known as Harry) with her. It’s really hard to hate on aristocracy when you see them in underdeveloped countries embracing infants with AIDS and actually doing manual labor alongside the people they’re visiting. Anybody that well off who is not just shopping and lunching but actively making a global difference–AND teaching her children to do the same despite the level of privilege they’re inherited–is OK in my book. So when on my way to a brunch I saw the news of Diana’s car crash and subsequent death, I was shaken. After everything she had to deal with and everything she had to do to rebuild her life, to have her life end not only because of a car accident, but a NEEDLESS car accident sparked by the very notoriety she was trying to outrun was extremely tragic and heartbreaking.
So, I would glance periodically at news on her boys–not actively interested as a celebrity hound but sort of as a “mother figure” to keep an eye out on her behalf. Fast-forward to the boys’ adulthood–say what you want about figurehead monarchy, but those two young men are actively trying to be productive citizens and not rest on the privilege given them by accident of birth. They’ll never be the average Joe, but thanks to their Mum’s influence, they’re not rich brats either. Add to that the fact that William has not only found a woman similar to Diana in temperament to wed AND has taken the time to really build a relationship with forever intentions in mind…prince or no prince, this is a real life love story that deserves to be seen.
So I set my TiVo to NBC’s coverage even before I came to work (wasn’t sure exactly what my station’s air coverage would be, or what would be available) so I could watch the ceremony. I’m really glad that I did, because the service itself was quite beautiful. The hymns, reading, sermons and personal touches (many of which I later discovered were clear nods to William’s mother) were quite profound, and in just watching William and Catherine (I will give in and use her new official formal name–though Kate still suits her better, IMO) look at each other beaming, proud and enamored…you just can’t ignore love like that. The whole time I kept thinking back to my own wedding six years ago, and the elements I chose to include for the most meaningful and memorable impact. The memorial tributes to both of our lost loved ones, the chosen readings, even down to the ceremony officiant (my former pastor who grew to be like a brother to me–there was no one else I could have imagined doing that for us)–it warmed my heart than even in the midst of the extravagance, the prevailing intent of their ceremony was the sacred purpose and intent of their union, and made similar choices to that end.
I am a sucker for any wedding, so I will admit that the visual impact of this wedding was not lost on me–the bride’s gown (extremely Grace Kellyesque with a 21st century flair) and Pippa’s bridesmaid dress (Wow. Seriously–wow. I actually want one….) were gorgeous, and the formal uniform dress on William, Harry and even the little pages was striking and very sharp-looking. But the things that stuck with me most were the little moments–the couple’s rapt attention during the message, the looks between them, even the way William held her hand. So yeah, if watching two kids in love declare it publicly and vow their commitment to each other forever makes me a vapid sheep blinded by media propaganda, even if those two kids happen to be stinking rich and will never want for anything…..