Millions across the world can’t fail to have noticed that in a week’s time, our future King, William and Kate Middleton - Queen Catherine, as she will be known, are getting married.
For many of us it will be poignant, watching young William go down the aisle with the woman he loves; a middle class girl with no title or aristocratic background.
The marriage of Diana to Charles was about providing an heir to the throne, not about love, but as an impressionable, romantic fourteen year old, I was swept away by Diana’s ‘common touch' and compassion, and her beauty. To me, she was the epitome of a princess - how she went into the church a ‘commoner’ and came out a Princess, and future Queen - or not, as fate decided.
Some republicans believe the House of Windsor will collapse after our current Queen dies, or they certainly wish it. As well as the threat of terrorist attacks, it is understood that in the middle of the celebrations and led by the British group Republic, campaigners from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain are coming to London on April 29 to protest against the cost of taxpayers bankrolling European royal families.
There’s a big difference between indifference and activism. For some, disapproval only stretches as far as a complaint about some of the Royal ‘hanger’s-on and I can agree with some points. Plenty has been voiced about Prince Andrew - how worthwhile his role is in view of recent allegations and associations. Other Royals are a waste of time and add nothing to the cause. The perpetual royal scandals haven't helped. Some Royals have become part of the celebrity culture and it has had a damaging effect.
I’ve always loved royalty. Yes, I admit it. Perhaps it’s a side effect of being brought up by my Nan who was a huge royalist, but I think our country is better off for having a Royal family.
When the (then) Princess Elizabeth married Phillip in the forties, she revived our war torn nation, providing a little light relief, a sign of hope, and something to celebrate amidst all the gloom and troubles. And to her credit, our Queen has selflessly served our country ever since. She is a wonderful ambassador.
Is it just me being sentimental and old-fashioned, perhaps naïve in my views; but are things so very different today as they were then?
It’s been a miserable few years. We’re still a nation gripped by unemployment and huge financial hardship after the deepest, darkest recession since the 1930’s. Our troops are still in Afghanistan, we’re under constant threat of terrorism, and then there’s the NHS… I won’t go on. All I wish to illustrate is that life is more depressing and frenetic than it’s ever been. It’s a proven fact that more people today suffer from depression, cancer or other illnesses - possibly as a result of increased stress and lifestyle factors.
Some people claim it's only the press who are foisting the Royal Wedding on us - creating a false impression and positive imagery - when the reality is, many Britons are far less excited and enthusiastic than press coverage suggests. However, I know of people coming from America simply to be in our country, watch it in our TV’s, and be part of the atmosphere.
We say there’s no community spirit. Street parties will be thin on the ground. Is it apathy, lack of funds, the challenges of Health & Safety requirements when organising such events? Here we are with the opportunity to embrace a little piece of history, and join together as a nation. We used to like a good excuse for a knees up!
This wedding will cost millions in pomp and ceremony (and security) but the UK will benefit from a huge increase in visitors, especially to London. The main reason foreigners give for travelling to the UK is because of our history and the Royal Family. Think of all the revenue that gives us, the jobs, and let’s not forget the memorabilia; celebration mugs, plates, etc. Many a pottery in Stoke or Worcester might have been closed by now. Royalty is one of the things that make our Nation special.
And with all the gloom around us, isn’t it nice to have something to cheer about for a change?
There you have my letter 'R' - Royalty or Republican?
Do you care one way or another? Or will I be sitting there, glued to the TV commentary on 29th April, wearing red white and blue and waving the Union Jack flag by myself?
Until another day
Bye for now
Notable Chicago: 8/18–8/24
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