Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Does anyone actually (not) care about the Royal Wedding?


If pushed, I’d describe myself as morally and politically opposed to the monarchy. I say if pushed because whilst I fundamentally disagree with an institution premised upon the hereditary rule of one family, especially one which believe they have a divine right to govern, I know that in actuality they are little more than a glorified (literally) tax-dodging tourist attraction. Although they do retain certain prerogative powers, we all know these are purely ceremonial and that their main role now is simply to give us something to put on stamps.

I feel the need to clarify this because like many people, with the Royal wedding looming, I frequently find myself engaging in conversations about ‘Kate and Will’s Big Day’. Given my views then, why is it that my assertions that I don’t care are ringing hollow?

In November, when William and Kate’s engagement was announced, Royalists and tea-towel manufacturers throughout the country must have jumped for joy. Since that time though, the Royal wedding drum has been banged with ever increasing ferocity and attendance at the 24 hour media circus has been made compulsory.  

Faced with such overblown and sickening displays of celebration, as people rejoiced in the union of two complete strangers, many, (myself included), took solace in cynicism, declaring to anyone that would listen that we didn’t care about the Royal wedding. But therein lies the point: if people were really so uninterested in the Royal wedding, would they really feel the need to tell everyone? And I suppose that goes for writing blogs too.

Take Republic for instance, the group “campaigning for a democratic alternative to the monarchy”. The London borough of Camden recently cancelled a Republic organised “Not the Royal Wedding” street party set to take place on the 29th April. As stated at the outset, my views could be seen as broadly in agreement with Republic’s ethos, the main difference being, I’d rather get the day off work than not. In fact, if the Royal family could guarantee a minimum of one death and/or marriage a year which could be taken as public holiday I’d quite happily reconsider my position on them altogether. Furthermore, not only is an anti-monarchy protest which takes place on a public holiday due to the Royal wedding ironic, it also calls to mind Shakespeare’s famous line from Hamlet: “The Lady doth protest too much, methinks ”. After all considering we don’t hear much about Republic throughout the rest of the year and as their cleverly named “I’m not a Royal wedding mug” mug, sold on their website indicates, perhaps the Windsor/Middleton marriage isn’t such a bad day for them as they are making out.   

If I’m being brutally honest my dislike for the Royal wedding doesn’t really have anything to do with my views on the Royal family, more my dislike of those who so vociferously like them; and even this is born out of a fear that we are more alike than I’d care to admit. Aside from the day off, another indisputably good thing about the wedding itself, is that it will put an end to the insufferable Royal wedding build up. Finally we can stop engaging in small talk about Kate’s poor choice of cake decorator or Prince Phillip’s insistence that the father of the bride should foot the entire bill, and get back to the serious business of debating the day’s weather.

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