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In defense of the royal wedding

April 23, 2011

Kate Middleton and Prince William, about to engage in perhaps the most normal thing a royal can do: marry.

The hysteria began not long ago upon the announcement of their engagement. After years and years of dating and rumors flying about their off-again on-again romance since their school days at St Andrew’s, the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton is now less than a week away. From Kate Middleton’s common background and in-laws to what sort of champagne will be consumed at the reception to Stephen Colbert’s preparations for how to dress and behave for a royal wedding, it seems everyone has done their part to analyze and pick apart the big day. On the morning talk-shows here in the US, there’s a new aspect of the occasion up for discussion each day, whether it’s bridesmaids, shoes, food, weather or hats. Oh, and if the riff-raff, tabloids and speculation are not for you, there is an official blog-style website and the Clarence House now has its own Twitter feed. Though, it has only a paltry 38,000 followers. For the event of the century, you’d think something on the order of a billion would be more appropriate.

But then, beside all of this, are the naysayers. The US is in a budget crisis, the death-toll rises in Syria, rebel forces are fighting tooth and nail in Libya, the nuclear disaster after the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan continue to take their toll. I am not advising we hop on the Kate and William bandwagon, buy those garish masks, secure limited-edition royal wedding glasses, drink champagne at six o’clock in the morning here in the States. I’m looking at something more modest. But in the UK, even David Cameron himself has come forward to advise Britons to revel in the festivities and hold their own street parties, and told local councils to back off with all that permit business.

The thing is, there are few celebrations to be had these days, in this bleak times.  Everyone loves a good wedding, and everyone loves young love. How perfect could this be, really? It’s light-hearted fun, and the world needs some. It’s been 30 years since a royal wedding of this degree of acclaim and importance took place. Maybe it’s the absence of royalty here in the US that makes us all so captivated, but there’s some of us, like myself, who couldn’t care less and yet are also somehow enraptured by the event. After hearing all the stories of Charles and Diana’s matrimonial ceremonies, it’s sort of reached the level of TV lore as the tearing down of the Berlin Wall for me, so, needless to say, I’m interested in seeing the events unfold. But back to the main point, we lack royalty here–they’re no real threat, we threw them off nearly a few hundred years ago. But we still like them. We don’t need to complain about how they’re wasting our money (even though they don’t) and about how they make our country look stuffy. They’re a novelty.

All this is to say, April 29th, let’s enjoy the day. When all else seems unstable, a big wedding, two people who seem to be in love and have cast aside of the ways of their elders, let’s embrace that. It’s like princesses and princes and fairy tales and children’s books. It’s the stuff of AP Euro textbooks, History Channel documentaries, endless field trips to the portrait galleries of museums, all brought to vivid living color. Even if it’s fluffy, even if it’s fake, even if it’s meaningless, the fact that it still exists, anachronism it may be, it’s something to see.

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