We gnarled old cynics of the sinister allotments gang had let it be known that we had no intention of watching the Royal wedding. But we did! And we thought it wonderful, proof positive that the Brits are still as much in love as ever with the Monarchy.
Albert brought his portable TV with him and in no time at all we were in the shed. And we are still here. As I type, the screen is filled with pictures of The Mall where thousands are crushed together singing Jerusalem and chanting their demands for an appearance of William and Kate on the balcony. It feels like a double marriage, one between the young couple and the other between the public and the Royals.
Earlier we had watched thousands roaring their approval as the couple were driven to Westminster and later, as they made their way back in an open landeau. It was of course at one level a fairy story, a beautiful commoner princess having met and married a handsome prince. But at a deeper level it felt like a restatement by millions of the unique joy of being British and having a head of state who exists, if not reigns over, politicians who have long since lost any affection that the people had for them.
The service itself was magnificent. Everything went precisely to plan and it was easy to imagine the amount of preparation that had gone into it. The Bishop of London gave an inspiring address and I suspect that many couples across the land had a lump in their throats as they watched the exchange of vows and listened to ‘Love Divine’. The coverage was transmitted to many millions around the world but to many the service was taking place in their living rooms. It felt personal, despite our cynicism we old geezers suddenly felt proud to be British!
Inevitably one wonders about the future, given the poor track record of recent Royal marriages. But having seen Kate Middleton close up so to speak and having learned so much about her background and temperament there is every reason to believe that this will be different, that perhaps fifty years from now she will be a much loved Queen. As an Oxford man I have one small quibble ; why Cambridge? But even the mightiest make mistakes.
The amazing reactions in London, and those right across the country, have served to put the anrchists and anti-monarchists into perspective. They clearly represent very few and their oft-repeated talk of hooray-Henries was ridicled by the many that spoke to camera. These were the people and they have spoken. It was hard to take seriously the warnings of heckling. any loudmouth wouldn’t have survived long amongst the packed fans. Asked what she thought of those who talked of burning effigies, a woman said “tell them to go live someplace else, we are British”. Good advice!
We were left with three impressions. The Brits lead the world when it comes to organising ceremonials. The Brits renewed their love of the concept of a Monarchy. The Brits have no wish to see politicians on that famous balcony.
I must go home lest she-who-must-be-obeyed sends out a search party. But despite all that I said in the run-up to the Wedding, I enjoyed watching it. May the couple have an enduring relationship, may all their troubles be little ones!
There was one unfortunate aspect of the event. Given that many minor foreign dignitories were invited how could it be right to exclude our last two prime ministers? I would like to believe that it was not a political gesture.
Dear Reader Because I am not at home I have to postpone the usual Quiz and ‘Thoughts’ features until tomorrow. See you then! D