To appreciate the value of the wedding we all just witnessed – two billion of us, a third of the people on this earth – we must let go of the bitterness of the past while retaining the precious things we have inherited.
A reader commented on my earlier blog (click here to read it):
What is frightening (but not surprising … is … paying so much attention to (a) wedding of unbelievable riches and lavish life styles amassed by ripping generations of their possessions. As for ‘ the head of state is wealthy enough to have no need of further looting’: isn’t it so because his ancestors looted a lot and passed the proceedings down to the next generations ? And also being wealthy does not guarantee that such a person will not want use his wealth and power to have even more (and history proves that it is so in most cases).
So yes: let all people enjoy the grotesque wedding of a cast which luxurious lives are financed from slavery, suffering, genocide, wars and terror against other people. And the worst is that others envy all that and want at least to BE THERE and WATCH !
And I concede that the history behind the pageantry and pomp is deeply troubling.
As a child, I was steeped in the resentment that Scottish families everywhere – even in Jamaica – feel toward the English. And the Irish part of me bristles at the injustices Ireland has suffered at the hands of various English sovereigns.
And what about my Jamaican heritage?
What about the slave trade?
What about the jackboot fascism and blatant exploitation of the colonial government?
Still, like a lot of other people, there’s a part of me that tingled with pride and admiration at the show the English put on this morning.
You probably saw it, so I’m sure I don’t need to explain. I’m sure you wondered, as I did, at the discipline, the well-behaved horses, the skilled riders, the polite crowd… so very, very British, in the best possible meaning of the word.
But that’s not what I wanted to blog about.
Regardless of how it came about, the British (and Canadian and Jamaican and Australian and…) monarchy has value.
So they are overpaid. Well, that’s the way it is. Baseball players are overpaid. Soccer stars are overpaid. Actors and actresses and TV “personalities” are overpaid. Grossly overpaid.
Donkey say the worl’ no level.
So let’s set that aside for another day.
For whatever reason, people need stars, larger-than-life figures to admire and emulate. And the couple who exchanged wedding vows this morning seem to be perfect for that role.
And there’s more.
They have made a profound statement about the mores and customs of modern society. The ceremony this morning put the seal of approval on the once-taboo practice of living together before marriage.
It’s now also perfectly fine for a prince to marry a “commoner,” a career woman from a middle-class (though extremely wealthy) family.
It’s now OK for a prince or princess to whip up the evening meal for themselves, to drive their own cars or take a spin on a motorbike if they like, to share a quiet evening in front of the television…
In other words, royal consent has been conferred on the way the western middle class has been living for years.
Welcome to the modern world. And a monarchy that reflects it.
And, on a lighter note, it’s OK for a young (and glamorous) man to be losing his hair.