And Troth Was Pledged (Or Something Like That)

In Celebrity Obsessions on May 2, 2011 at 3:43 am

Just like that, the Royal Wedding Weekend Extravaganza is over.

OK, OK, OK, I realize that the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was ludicrously expensive at a time when a worldwide recession drags on and on.  I understand that the British monarchy system is outdated, serves no real purpose, and perpetuates classism.  I’m aware that previous weddings in this somewhat inbred family have been celebrated with just as much pomp and circumstance only to blow up in horrifically Technicolour fashion years later.  I get all this, and I might even agree with all this, but you know what?  I DON’T CARE.  I still devoured every little detail of Friday’s wedding and enjoyed every little minute of it.

I’ve been interested in the royals since I was a kid, mainly because we had several coffee table books about Princess Diana’s fashion evolution and public life.   I remember poring over those photo collections more times than I can count.  Though even at the age of 8 or 9 I could tell that the adulation heaped upon her was seriously out of control (“The Princess donned a stunning crimson blouse softly lined with butter yellow and authoritative black, drawing gasps of admiration from the gathered crowd” would be how these books might describe a plaid shirt), it still served to make me feel like in some way I knew her.  In the later chapters of these books, the toddler Prince William started being treated as some sort of fashion icon as well (“The young Prince wowed the masses in a sky-blue one-piece overall ensemble that accentuated his majestic features, created by the House of OshKosh B’Gosh”).  I mean, it was totally ridiculous.  But it still made me care about them.

Then time passed, Charles and Diana imploded, and Diana died.  I got up in the middle of the night to watch her funeral in my college dorm with floormates who were sisters from Britain and the only other people in my 12-floor American building who cared.  Like many people, I felt terrible for Princes William and Harry, but then they used up my sympathy by growing into apparent party animals with a penchant for hitting on women in clubs.  And don’t even get me started on the injustice of Camilla Parker-Bowles being present at the princes’ graduations and coronations and what-have-you when their mother isn’t.


There is just something about a grand wedding, and the hope that this time, this time, it might be real and it might last, that brings out the giddy in most of us.  There’s so much bad news in the world today that we all needed a break, just a few hours to concentrate on something fluffy and purely joyful.  And never mind the inherent sexism in the idea that all women sit around dreaming about snagging a prince: you cannot deny that it is FREAKING COOL that Kate Middleton was once basically a regular person but just walked out of Westminster Abbey a princess.  (Or a duchess, or whatever.  I don’t get these British titles.)

Who knows if their love is real and if their marriage will last.  I have to admit that when watching them take their vows, it felt sad knowing that William’s parents said the exact same words 30 years ago and then proceeded to cheat on each other and generally create a spectacle of themselves.  But the fact is, we have sort of known Prince William all his life.  And on his wedding day, we saw him and his brother as grown military men walk down the same aisle they traveled 14 years ago when they poignantly followed behind their mother’s coffin.  Those are some reasons why Friday was meaningful to me and so many others.

But when it comes down to it, the fundamental reason why I loved watching William and Kate’s wedding was because of the amazing thought that literally half the people on this planet were, for a few minutes, joyfully supporting a young couple embarking upon a marriage.  The cheers you could hear in the Abbey from the streets outside when they were pronounced husband and wife gave me chills.  Marriage is such a maligned and misrepresented institution that is still so beautiful.  And for a little while, it felt like all of us were behind one.  We were all in it together, and I was touched.

Of course, there were other moments, too.  One of the most famous photos from the entire event succinctly illustrates why it is impossible not to love little kids.  This could not have turned out better if it was planned:

Apparently, there’s already an app with which you can cut and paste the little scowling bridesmaid into various situations where you think she would be appropriate.  A law firm ad?  A bar graph of your stock portfolio’s dwindling returns?  The possibilities are endless!  You rock, Grace van Cutsem!  And God bless you, Will and Kate!  (For heaven’s sake, please behave yourselves from here on out, will you?  Good luck!)

  1. Dear friend, had I known that this was weighing so heavily on you, i would never have spent so much time on Saturday talking about my(non-royal)self! I had assumed, perhaps wrongly, that some of your interest in the wedding stemmed from your homeland’s closer connection to the UK than your adopted land’s (I mean, Canadians can be appointed dukes, etc., right?). I wasn’t nearly as interested in the wedding as you evidently were/are, but I DO hope Wills and Kate are in love. I’ve become such a cynic in my old age, but I believe their wedding was the real deal…or as close to “the real deal” as a $34.2 million extravaganza can be.


    • I do wonder if being a Canuck has partly fed my royal interest, but I don’t know if that’s the case (I mean, I don’t particularly care about, say, Dan Aykroyd.) I definitely agree though, I hope they love each other and that they will last. It was great to see you too, and I’m so excited to have a mini-reunion already in the works!

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