Thursday, 21 April 2011

'R' is for ...Royalty or Republican, depending on your viewpoint

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.
Photo - Reuters

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


Mari G said...

As an Irish person the whole English Royalty 'thing' doesn't mean a whole lot. But I do think that William (or Big Willy as his future wife allegedly calls him) and Kate look as if they are in love & the story of their relationship is heartwarming & I do wish them the very best. Kate has a tough task ahead..being married to a royal can't be easy.
Interesting post (as always)

Siv Maria said...

I love the idea, the cinderalla factor.

Talli Roland said...

I must admit, I didn't really care too much. But I'm kind of getting swept up in all the fervour lately!

Melissa Marsh said...

As an American, I've always been fascinated by England and the royal family. I've visited twice and if I had a choice, I'd live there part-time! I also watched Princess Diana get married - beautiful wedding. But I dearly hope her son has better luck with love - I think he will. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders and his future princess appears to be quite the gal.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I think the Royal family add a lot to British tourism and I guess I like the whole historical tradition of it - good luck to the young couple.

Debs Carr said...

I must have had a Nan like you did and am looking forward to the Royal Wedding. I'll be putting flags up and can't wait for the day.

I hope they'll both be very happy and that nothing goes wrong on their big day.

Jennifer said...

I think the royal family is a wonderful asset to your country. I am an American and I have always loved the idea of royalty still existing in this day....I think it would be a sad event if it were to collapse. William and Kate are an adorable couple and I will be glued to my television on the 29th.

Ivy said...

As a German I don't get the whole royalty thing somehow, but then I just love to watch weddings on tv or in real and so I willprobably be watching the ceremony on tv with my Emma Bridgewater Union Flag mug in hand, shed a tear and ask myself if I am going potty :)

Julie P said...

Interesting post. A few people were complaining on The Wright Stuff that they couldn't afford to have the day off for the Royal Wedding but they were being forced to. And, on the other hand, others were complaining that their bosses had refused to recognise it as a bank holiday and they were being forced to work!

Personally, I'm very happy for the Royal couple but I fear the country can't afford to pay for all that 'pomp' and circumstance.' Yes, 'a good knees up,' is all well and good but there are people who can't afford to do that. I dispair of a country that will waste money on stuff like this but yet won't fund certain treatments. A good knees up is no good for their health!

I think you hit the nail on the head with the health and safety thing, though - I think a lot of people wanting to organise a street party have been put off by all that. It's a great shame - I yearn for the days when it was all easier!

Julie xx