OK, so I was wrong. I shouldn’t have boycotted the Royal Wedding. Apparently it was pretty politically correct: a mixed-race American bride, with a career of her own, and mildly feminist opinions; not ‘given away’ by her father (Prince Charles stood in, but we all knew she’s not his to give); multicultural music, including a ‘negro spiritual’ and one of Elgar’s softer pieces; and what everyone says was an ‘inspiring’ sermon, full of only half-hidden radical allusions, from a black Chicagoan bishop, after the manner of MLK (I’ve just watched it on YouTube). The vicar’s daughter now in No. 10 could learn a lot from him. There was also, of course, the building (‘Perp’); which an architecture nut like me was bound to appreciate.
Mind you, some of the shots of the congregation on that YouTube clip seemed to indicate that much of Bishop Michael Curry’s inspiration had gone over the heads of the posher members, with lots of them grim-lipped, or dozing off. And of course there’s all the other nonsense to take on board: the rather tacky gold-plated ceremony, onlookers festooned in Union Jacks (most of them American or Australian, judging by the interviews), and, curiously, nearly all the women in the chapel wearing what looked like flying saucers on their heads (a subtle reference perhaps to the ‘alien’ origin that some conspiracy theorists attribute to the Royal Family: google ‘David Icke’). Then there’s all those homeless people being turfed off the streets in Windsor so as not to spoil the view. (That says a lot about us.) Still, small mercies. And she does look lovely, doesn’t she?
My attitude to royalty generally is ambivalent. Of course it’s undemocratic, feudal, and hard on the royals (poor Charles! I wouldn’t like to do it); but a hereditary monarchy is not a bad way to separate the representative of a country away from its politics. (That’s the USA’s original sin.) So long as it can’t actually do anything apart from ‘represent’. I met Queenie once, at a shindig to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Historical Association. I was half-pissed on sherry but reckoned it wouldn’t matter, if my prejudice that they were a family of in-bred idiots was true. It turned out not to be: in her case, at least. She asked me what I researched on, and I told her, in simple terms; only to be surprised by a highly intelligent follow-up question from her. I had to delve deep into my sherry-addled brain for an answer; which clearly took more time than they had allowed for. Afterwards I grinned inanely around me: wasn’t she impressed?! Later we were sent photos of the occasion; mine shows my lips blurred with the speed at which they were working, and Her Maj with a look of utter boredom on her face. Normally that would be something to frame and put up in one’s study. I’ve kept it hidden, however, only showing it to my nearest and dearest – in Kajsa’s case after about ten years. (Perhaps I’ll put it up on this blog one day.) But I’ve been a fan of the top royal ever since. Just her, mind: not the rest of them. Except maybe – now – the new Duchess of Sussex.
(I posted a pic of me and Queen here originally, but have deleted it. Sorry. I just didn’t like it.)