A deep indifference to today’s royal wedding kept me from paying much attention to it until this morning. Since we don’t have a television, there were no breathless announcers to remind me over and over about its epochal importance.
Then, when I opened this morning’s news headlines, I discovered how really, really significant it is — with top billing in every news service and multiple articles about Kate Middleton’s dress splashed all over the place. The event has even earned a feature illustration today on Google’s main page.
Strangely enough, the vast bulk of the coverage seems to be American — I had to scroll far down the page before I found an actual British news article, although I assume there are plenty of them.
I’m as pleased as anyone that the legitimate line of succession for House of
Hanover Windsor will now be assured. But really, do we need all this?
Not everyone in the UK has joined in the frenzy, however. Having noticed that certain large commercial enterprises are displaying a lack of interest in today’s historic occasion, our British correspondent JP filed this report:
Poor Show: Cold-shouldering the Royal Wedding?
At a time when independent shops, usually those at the posher end of the spectrum, are embracing the Royal Wedding with gleeful abandon (and, it must be admitted, hard-headed business sense, for which shop-keeper would pass up the opportunity to entice customers into their store with a new, eye-catching window-display?), High Street corporates such as Boots, WH Smiths, the banks remain puzzlingly void of celebration. Why this should be so is perhaps a mystery — is this another example of a risk-averse society where bean-counters at these enterprises have balanced profits against sentiment, and accordingly decided that display of untoward patriotism might be taken amiss by certain sectors of our culturally-enriched society? Or is it a more diffuse indifference, symptom of an ‘I can’t be bothered’ attitude, mistakenly projected onto their customers? Do those customers perhaps retain a deeper sense of affection for tradition and members of the Royal Family than the businesses themselves — quite happy to take their customers’ cash yet wary of sharing their passions?
Whatever the reason, or reasons, at a time when the UK is embroiled in various military campaigns as well as being involved in a life or death struggle with Islam, it seems curious that these businesses are not exactly standing shoulder to shoulder with the Royal Family, whose most prominent member, namely the Queen, is also head of the Armed Forces (see here: “The Queen as Sovereign is Head of the Armed Forces. She is also the wife, mother and grandmother of individuals either having served, or are currently serving, in the Armed Forces.” )
If Britain is a nation of shopkeepers, then some of its most well-known examples appear to have retreated into the limbo of no-man’s land without a leg to stand on. Poor show indeed.
For a more positive view, see the Evening Standard article:
London is royal party capital: Wills and Kate thrilled by plans for 2,000 outdoor celebrations
Londoners will celebrate the royal wedding with 2,000 outdoor parties, the Evening Standard has learned. The capital plans to party in record numbers to mark the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. One event will be broadcast to millions watching in the US. [….]
I can’t help but wonder if the universal celebratory mood — among the plebs, at least — isn’t evidence of a widespread subliminal hope that somehow a pretext may be found for skipping Prince “Halal” Charles in the line of succession and moving directly to a younger, more interesting, less loopy, and more photogenic monarch…
It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it: it’s time for Princess Kate to buckle down to the task and start whelping out the little princes so that everyone can have a look at them.