Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Royal Wedding: Killjoys Be Gone!

I found it rather amusing how so many people on Facebook, Twitter and around the internet kept proudly proclaiming: "I don't care, I don't care, I don't care about the royal wedding....I happened to be up at 5 am and turned it on for a few minutes but I REALLY don't care. I'm an American and I'm above such medieval nonsense and besides...who cares? Have I told you that I DON'T care?" And so on and so forth. Finally, someone on Twitter said: "I am really not interested in the fact that you are not interested in the royal wedding." There is a piece on Taki's blog that expresses the sentiments of those of us who relished the festivities (even from afar) and refused to let anyone sour our enjoyment of the day.

Melanie Phillips of the Mail Online expresses it all quite eloquently, saying:
For one glorious, uplifting, joyful day it was as if the everyday world had been faded out from the video screen and another picture altogether had taken its place.

Gone were the things that grind us down, terrify us, bore us rigid or turn us off altogether. The economic crisis, war, voting reform, venal politicians and their idiotic name-calling, the endless litany of official incompetence, the vulgarity and ugliness of TV voyeurism and binge-drinking, the habitual cynicism and grey-faced indifference of the public in the face of all this: it all vanished from view....
Instead, there was quite simply an explosion of public joy at the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. Britain beamed, cheered, laughed, gasped, threw its collective hat into the air and choked with emotion. And this was not merely generous-minded delight at the happiness of the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It was an eruption of feeling that some would have had us believe had vanished for ever: a profound affection and support for the monarchy — and for the Britain that it embodies.

For me, as I’m sure for many others, what brought a lump to the throat was not just the poignant spectacle of Prince William, the casualty of the breakdown of his parents’ marriage, receiving his radiant bride in the very place where as a teenager he had stood by his mother’s coffin.
It was also the roar of approval that went up from the huge crowds outside Westminster Abbey when he and his bride uttered the words ‘I will'. It was the enormous cheer for the Queen as she stepped out of her car at the Abbey door. And it was the full-throated singing of the National Anthem by the throng that stretched down the Mall. Some would have us believe that it is all over for the monarchy. They paint it as the anachronistic, class-ridden and discredited residue of a country that must shed its history, traditions and very identity in the interests of multiculturalism, diversity and equality.

Last Friday showed up this claim for the unpleasant piece of wish-fulfilment that it is. For the reported million or so who turned out to line the streets, and the many millions more gulping with emotion over their TV screens, were not some ideological fantasy of social engineering but the real people of Britain. And they want what the British people have always wanted: a monarchy that reflects a collective image of themselves and of their country that they can admire.

That includes characteristics they yearn for (although maybe cannot always achieve): a happy family life, stoicism in the face of adversity, courage and selflessness, duty and sobriety, and the sense of sharing in a worthy collective national project. Only the monarchy, standing as it does above and beyond politics, can sustain this benign projection of national aspiration.....

And so the crowds were roaring their approval of a ceremony, a monarchy and a nation steeped in ancient tradition. Sure, they want to see it adapt to a changing world. They want a monarchy which at one and the same time is regal and with which they can identify. And the new Princess William gave them exactly what they craved.

Her appearance was perfectly judged: that stunning dress, demure and exquisite yet at the same time grand and traditional; her poise as to the manner born and her ordinary family background and lifestyle. What she exuded was a regal serenity; whether the result of studied artifice or natural grace, it is the quality associated with the Queen Mother and the Queen herself.

If that calm dignity continues, she will become the ‘rock’ not merely of her husband’s life but of the monarchy itself. No wonder Prince Charles reportedly said of his new daughter-in-law that the Royal Family was lucky to have her. But it wasn’t just the bride. Everything that day was perfectly judged. In a society now mired in the mediocre and the philistine, this was a spectacle of soaring beauty and splendour to lift even unknowing hearts....
...Last Friday, people in this apparently godless nation were held spellbound by a wedding ceremony which was explicitly not just religious but Christian. What was even more notable was the special prayer composed by the happy couple themselves. For in this they prayed for help to focus on the important things in life, to serve and to help the needy — all ‘in the spirit of Jesus’. This was in effect an explicit dedication of themselves to a life of service to the nation on behalf of the Christian institution of the monarchy. (Read More)

Thank you, Mrs. Phillips, my thoughts exactly! Perhaps the pageant provided by royalty does for the secular sphere what liturgy does for the realm of the spirit. It lifts us beyond ourselves and shows us all the possibilities. Share

15 comments:

Svea said...

That is an awesome response! Seriously, if you didn't care at all, you wouldn't waste your time saying you don't care.

I stayed up all night to watch the wedding... and I am so very glad I did :) To witness this new chapter in history begin and to know the world paused to rejoice together was completely moving and a sheer delight!

Laura said...

I watched a replay of the wedding and enjoyed it very much; it was tasteful and elegant and beautiful (especially the music) - the homily was a great one. But I'm still holding a lot of enthusiasm in reserve, here. The newlyweds have a couple strikes against them for having been living together for several years before the wedding. Somehow, all the magic of a wedding was stained by the knowledge that nothing really new is being undertaken at all - and that cohabiting couples have a much higher rate for divorce than couples who live apart until they're married.

Still, I'm inclined to like them both, from what I can see, and I wish them well.

elena maria vidal said...

I totally agree, Svea.

Yes, Laura, it is a sad fact of our time that most young people cohabitate before marriage. It has become so commonplace that it is almost a given. And even in my generation, I know of very few women (except myself and one or two others, maybe) who were virgins when they were married. In the case of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, I do not know what spiritual counsel they were given before entering into marriage. Since Anglicans do not have the sacrament of penance it is difficult to hold them to the same standards as we hold other Catholics. Especially when things we know to be sins may not be considered sinful in their denomination (at least not anymore). We hope, and give them the benefit of the doubt, that they made their peace with God before approaching the sacrament of matrimony. They were both so reverent that it is my sense that they have done the best they could to enter into matrimony with the right dispositions. But not having a window into their souls, I can only guess.

Julygirl said...

Why would someone not want to watch such beauty and joy? Those same people have probably watched "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" reruns 400 times, but say "I don't care" when it comes to something uplifting.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Elena, I confess that I was ready to be "too cool" for the Royal Wedding when the full-time coverage of it started . . . but everything about it just won me over! It was a lovely opportunity for everyone to get together and remember the importance of family, tradition and commitment to both ideals. I'm so glad I watched it. Kate was so beautiful and the whole event was wonderful.

When "THEY KISSED" started trending on Twitter, I couldn't believe all the cynical and mocking comments. (There was everything from "So what? It's just a kiss" to "My boyfriend and I do more than that and we never get on TV!") It reminded me of when I read a certain rock star's memoirs of the 80s; he said that it took him a long time to convince the woman he eventually married to dance with him. Back then, it was a big deal for a girl to stand up with a boy on the dance floor--and the "jaded" rock star had a hard time believing he had to explain that to younger, supposedly more wholesome generations.

But the romance really is in the simple things, like a courting couple's first dance or a bride and groom's first kiss after the vows. I think it's very sad that we have, as a culture, greatly forgotten that.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Julygirl, I agree. And absolutely, E., it is the simple things. I can't get over some of the nasty comments that would not have occurred to me in a million years. But just as cream rises to the top so does pond scum.

laughingsalmon said...

I had a wonderful time watching every juicy bit of the Royal Wedding and have it on Tivo...I'm going to buy the Royal Wedding edition of People magazine to see the clothing and pageantry details...For those who dislike or are not concerned with such things...I wish you well in your particular interests...

Vianne said...

I have to say that I really enjoyed the wedding itself but I was really tired of the tabloid-style coverage leading up to the big day. I was really tired of hearing the wild guesses about food, who was invited and who wasn't, what will she be wearing and that she was a "commoner". I felt like all this poor girl had to do was sneeze improperly and the media jackals would be there to pounce on her. I actually saw a magazine that held up a barbie doll that looked like Kate Middleton and photographed in front of various London landmarks as a news story. Tacky!

The ceremony was beautiful and being somewhat obsessive with European History I really enjoyed all the tradition. The couple looked incandescently happy which made the event even more beautiful but I have to admit the media coverage in some instances was disappointing

Julygirl said...

Regarding the media coverage...I finally turned to Public Television whose coverage was done by the British Media rather than American anchors who did nothing but show their ignorance.

elena maria vidal said...

My thoughts exactly, ls.

Vianne, I think the media coverage was what turned many people away.

Yes, july, the BBC had by far the BEST coverage.

Aron said...

Hi Elena,
This may fall under the heading of TMI, but your comment about the sparseness of virgins-until-marriage in this day and age struck a chord with me...Let me hasten to reassure you that they do exist. Most of my friends remained in that state until they were married. Most of my friends are guys, and most I met while I was studying for my degrees' these last ten years or so. Meaning that they were all in their early to mid 20's when they wed. I still am one, having vowed to wait. Well, it rather looks like a permanent position now that I am in my mid-30's and the lady in question has wed another--but that's neither here nor there. The point is, don't despair my dear Elena, they exist. I agree with the wonderfulness of the Royal Wedding, and gratitude for it's overt Christian nature.

Aron said...

Heh, well it IS the BBC! :)

elena maria vidal said...

Aron, so glad to hear it. Chastity requires courage as well as self-control. It makes one a stronger person in the long run and is never to be regretted, unlike sexual sins.

lara77 said...

I think Melanie Phillips encapsulated everything about the wedding, the monarchy and Christianity in Britain. The outpouring of love and adulation warmed the heart and Britain fell in love again! All one can do is wish and pray for everything wonderful for the newly married couple. It struck me how much Great Britain has kept of its heritage; Christianity and the Monarchy are the vital parts of that heritage. What Britain kept; France lost. Enough said.

Aron said...

"Courage" would be putting it mildly, Elena, esp. when one is a guy.
~Aron<><