I read somewhere that there have been over 100 million blog postings about a certain wedding in a small, insignificant country off the coast of Europe (the one that lost its empire but still does pageantry rather well). I will not mention the name of the country or the lucky couple for fear of turning up in search engine results. I can’t handle more dedicated followers and wish to keep the experience intimate.
Before leaving to do something useful (work out at the gym), I watched a bit of the blanket coverage. The wedding has certainly been a boon to the flag, bunting, hat, and dodgy souvenir industries.
I now know where the phrase “the last shall be first” comes from: this country’s protocol. The least important people arrived at the church first and were forced to wait the longest. The most important person, not counting the bride, arrived last. Who can blame the old lady for not wanting to sit around in a drafty cathedral and wait?
It was interesting to watch how people arrived and how they were greeted. The least important had to walk, followed by slightly important in buses, followed by members of less important royal families in large vans, followed by members of the home team in limos, followed by the families of the bride and groom, followed by the boss lady, and finally the bride. I spotted a bit of unconcealed snobbery, which was surely intentional. The mother of the bride is, after all, a mere commoner (the more snobbier remind her constantly of being a stewardess, because working is frowned upon in aristocratic circles). She was allowed to arrive in a less posh limousine (Jaguar, not a Rolls or Bentley). All others had red-uniformed penguins stationed to open limousine doors: not her. She waited inside until some guy in a suit noticed that something might be amiss, when all others ignored her. Boy, did that put her in her place!
I also have a wedding coming up in a few weeks. Fortunately, the world media have not noticed or been informed, surely distracted by all the pomp and circumstance not far from here. Our guests—a discreet bunch of non-celebrities—have kept quiet and can look forward to being able to act however undignified they wish. There will be enough wine to tempt even the most dignified. And, we won’t have horses and carriages...
Back in the dark ages before Power Point, an expert was someone with a slide presentation on a Kodak Carousel projector. The costs and time needed to produce slides provided added credibility to whatever drivel was projected on the screen or was mouthed by the so-called expert.
These days, an "expert" is anyone with an opinion, a shred of gossip, and a forum (24-hours news channel, blog, letter to some editor, etc.). It takes merely a title on the screen under a person's name.
Like mushrooms after rain in the forest, "royalty experts" have been sprouting up around the world. "What sets a royal expert apart from you, me, and a particularly backward gatepost?" ask Marina Hyde in the Guardian. Some have overheard snatches of conversation among people who might or might not have been in some club at the same time as Kate or William or one of their siblings or servants. Some have read an article somewhere and spun that worthless information in prime-time gold. No one with real information ever speaks with the press, so all speculation becomes news. Repetition can turn any gossip into the Truth about the wedding, the royal family, or individual players.
Then again, who cares?
But some must, or rather, a whole bunch of people must. Because these "experts" are paid to spout drivel. And, they mouth off about other topics. What the hell is a society expert? Now that is some real-life alchemist, able to turn crap into money.
There seems to be no escaping the forthcoming wedding for anyone that cannot avoid television, radio, internet, newspapers, or magazines. How weird are humans? What is the appeal?
I will admit that the bride-to-be is attractive and the couple seems to like each other, but that is hardly a reason for global interest. The guy may be better looking than his father (although following his lead in the hirsute department) and seems to be less weird (I have met the father), but their are plenty of prospective grooms that would probably be more fun to spend time with.
It is particularly interesting to note the excitement in countries that have thrown off the yoke of royalty and believe that they enjoy the benefits of democracy. How can they be interested in a family of Germans reigning over a bunch of former Celts, Norsemen, and French in run-down, semi-third world country? I do not understand the appeal. I read a report that US media are expected to publish twice the amount of coverage as UK media.
Of course, if one is realistic, one recognizes that the Queen and here band of merry men and women are merely a symbol. They are maintained and coddled to protect the rights, powers, and privileges of a wider group, all able to fool the common man into supporting the “institution of royalty”. Despite the price to the taxpayer and the fact that the richest family in the land could pays its own way, people have remain bamboozled into buying into the whole shtick. One must marvel at their ability to appeal to the broader world.
An even bigger wonder is the tendency of humans to buy the schlocky souvenirs with poor likenesses of the lucky, young couple that is about to enter a life-long role in a traveling circus and guaranteed, lifetime exposure in the media.
By the way, the only coverage worth reading is in the Guardian (Marina Hyde, Hadley Freeman, and others), which is Republican, ironic, and entertaining.
It's a good thing that I provided you with a slide show of St. James Park in London. You might want to look at it again.
I read today that the flowers along the wedding procession route will be trimmed before the royal wedding.
Anyone planning to attend the wedding and had hoped to also view the spring flowers will be out of luck. Fortunately, my slide show ensures you of not having to miss a thing. Now, you don't even have to fly to London, endure Heathrow airport, or stand in line for hours in the park in hopes of catching a glimpse of two, uninteresting people: one born lucky (?), the other yet to discover her golden cage.
This is a special treat for all those caught up in royal wedding fever, who are unable to travel to London to buy dodgy souvenirs ahead of the crowd. This gallery shows the spring splendor of St. James park, through which the still-happy couple will ride in their pumpkin (still a carriage before midnight) between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. You get to witness nature's festival of color, before it will surely be trampled by millions of fanatic royalty fans struggling to get a glimpse of the two young people that they study in each issue of Hello, OK, and various tabloids.
Flowers are flowers, with or without royalty, a wedding, or souvenir hunters...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.