30 years ago, I was nearly 10 and anticipating the wedding of the century. On July 29, 1981 my mother woke us all at about 1:30 a.m.(me and my 2 sisters) and we watched for hours as the parade and procession leading to St. Paul’s Cathedral wound its way through London streets. I was mesmerized. The dresses were unlike anything I had seen before. The footmen on the horse-drawn carriages were outfitted in Royal Regalia~ I never knew there were real footmen outside of those in Cinderella’s fairytale! On and on, we watched and inhaled every detail. It was a feast for our very young and sheltered eyes.
We did not have a VCR in 1981. There was no PVR to set. And even if we had, the moment would have been lost in the recording. You see, it is not enough to watch a royal wedding that has been recorded from hours or days earlier…it must be experienced in the moment, as it happens. It just does. It’s historical. It’s momentous. It’s majestic.
Perhaps it’s my Christian upbringing. Or maybe it’s just my hopelessly romantic nature, but I find anything royal to be absolutely riveting. You see, in all these years of man’s existence on the earth, there have been kings and queens. It used to be the norm to have a king or queen rule a nation. They were the highly revered. They were rich in possessions and land. Some were good and some not so good. But whatever the case, they were respected and feared. Our spiritual lives mirror those of royalty. We are children of the King of Kings. We are heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. Royal blood flows through our veins. Perhaps this is why we are so easily caught up in the spectacle of royalty.
Yesterday, April 29, 2011, I woke my girls at 3 a.m. our time. We were up just in time to see Princes William and Harry drive to Westminster Abbey where Will would marry his true love, Kate(Catherine Middleton). We could have recorded it; technology has come so far in these 30 years. We could have watched the highlights on any one of the 50 or more stations covering all of the festivities. And, we easily could have gone to the internet and pulled up any of a million different websites with photos, videos, commentaries and more. But we didn’t. We did what I and my mother and sisters did 30 years ago…we watched it live. We saw Kate’s beautiful gown for the first time as the rest of the world saw it. We made our own commentary about the hats and dresses, the horses and carriages and the beautiful cathedral. We were in the moment. And it was wonderful.
It’s just too bad that what followed in the hours afterwards was cynicism and criticism. My mother always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I wish a few million people on blogs, news sites, Facebook and Twitter had learned that lesson too. No sooner had the prince kissed his bride than the royal bashers came out of the woodwork(and cyberspace) to ridicule, condemn and mock the ceremony and the hype around it. Yes, it is true, we are all watching someone else’s life. But perhaps, we mostly are average people, living average lives and truly wish only the best for Kate and Will. I said a prayer for them. Marriage isn’t easy, especially in today’s world. But for one moment in time, could we not just enjoy the pomp and circumstance? Can we not just well up with pride that somewhere in the world people care about a couple getting married? Weddings are beautiful, well, they should be. They should make you feel excited and renewed. It’s a powerful moment to witness a couple pledge their love and commitment to each other. Unfortunately we live in a tainted, cynical world. Weddings are often taken far too lightly and even the attention to detail lacks. I’m a firm believer in doing it right once (the first time) .
All of the nay-sayers really ought to just be quiet. It is of no concern to me if royalty is not your thing. It doesn’t bother me if you think too much money was spent( I happen to know of a country where WAY too much money is spent on bogus elections). It really doesn’t matter to me if you think that too many hours were spent covering this event. Turn off your TV, turn off your computer. Go play with your kids. Go ride a bike. Go pick your nose. Honestly, why do some try SO hard to turn an ugly spin on a beautiful occasion? Let royalty be royal. Let a joyous occasion be grand and elaborate. Let me enjoy seeing Diana’s boy become the man she would have loved to have known.
I have a box full of scrapbooks with newspaper clippings, dozens of hardcover books, memorabilia, calendars, trinkets and more…all about Diana, Princess of Wales. I was one of “those” people. The kind who live, eat and sleep princess! She was the true fairytale~ a common girl who would be queen……….but never was. I stayed up all night the night she died. I prayed for her children. I stayed up all night for her funeral. I was heartbroken. That day, I put away all things Diana and shelved my “royal fetish”. But yesterday…….a new respect and understanding for royalty was born. These are real people. They have real feelings. They feel love and they are loved. Their lives are not easy and it is foolish for us or people outside of their circle to criticize anything they do. We are not them and we have no idea.
Regardless of what you think or feel about London’s royal family, you have to admit , they know how to throw a party. They know how to catch the world’s attention~ 2 billion people around the world watched the ceremony. That should say a lot. Yes, there are truly awful things happening in our world and yes, we ought to pay attention to them. But equally as important is rejoicing with those who rejoice~ celebrating the BEST of life and the BEST of the human experience brings me joy and hopefully a few cynics will put away their sharp words and enjoy the moment too.