It is really fascinating for a Royalty-less French person to observe the mania that is, the Royal Wedding. I can’t imagine we’d be so excited about our very own Monsieur Sarkozy getting married. Wait there, he did get married, some say so he could visit the Queen of England and the Commonwealth but it wasn’t quite the same, was it? I know -and keep forgetting- that William is not King yet but it feels to me like the King is getting married. It should be a Princely Wedding.
Since the announcement, it has been a divided nation commenting on how much money is being spent, what the dress will look like, whether a Royal Invite might land through the letterbox -highly unlikely as it is- or whether it’s just a big waste of time for the country.
Some companies wasted no time in capitalising on the marketing potential. Mugs galore, including one with Prince Harry which clearly shows English humour knows no bound (except for the Royal Family who have not given their Royal Seal of Approval). I have never seen so many British flags on plates, carpets, murals and anything else you can think about. In fairness, the blue, white and red mania (in crosses you understand, vertical lines graphically boring as they are, are unlikely to decorate anybody’s homes) started even before the announcement of the Big Day, thanks to the Olympics and all that. But let’s not talk about that.
Which camp do I belong to? Well, I am torn. On the one hand, I can’t say I feel any particular affinity with the Royal Family. I’ve been brought up in a Republic, nothing can change that. I did ‘meet’ the Queen when my father in law was building carriage driving obstacles in Windsor in the 80’s. All I could think about was ‘why is she walking around looking like a grandma with a scarf, rather than a Queen with a crown on her head’. Of course she was at home in her extensive garden and I know now that the scarf is her headgear of choice for a relaxed walk about. I promptly felt a fraud for not being able to fully appreciate the full extent of my privilege, especially being foreign and all that. Many a royalist would have cherished that moment. I suppose I do now.
As for tourism, there is no doubt that the eyes of the world will be turned to London on Friday 29th April 2011 and let’s face it, the British do know how to do pomp and patriotism, if flag waving is anything to go by. I even had an invite, via Facebook. Almost as good as the real thing: our very own local cinema in Bridport -the Electric Palace- is showing the event on the big screen so people can dress up, wedding hat and all, gather with like minded people under bunting, nibble on cakes whilst sipping Prosecco.
Having said that, I also had another Facebook invitation: The Alternative Royal Wedding Broadcast, commented by comedians. If the Facebook comments from the invite are anything to go by, there are a fair few people that will switch on that Channel to make the Westminster Watch a little bit more bearable…
Back in the real world, my 10 year old son was given a commemorative mug by his Parents Teachers Association. Pupils dressed in blue, white and red and had tea on the lawn; well squash and cakes in the playground. I must say, it was really lovely, the little ones were very excited, especially the girls, pointing at the princess on their mug as little girls in pretty dresses do.
And yes, I am going to celebrate. My family has been invited to a real friend’s house: parents, kids and dogs, Pimm’s, cakes, barbecue… The recent sunshine and ensuing euphoria makes us forget we live in England so we’ll just ignore the weather forecast: showers. I think it will be an eye opener for this French woman and I might even get a bit excited. Well, I do love a good party, Royal Wedding or otherwise.