Sunday, May 1, 2011

Oh What a Lovely Wedding

This week, we reflect back on that big event.


I was pleased to see Toni’s date on her TV appearance (see last post) —Robert Chatterton Dickson, British Consulate-General in Chicago—proven right in his view of perceived British apathy concerning the wedding. 

“I think on the day,” he said, “there is going to be a huge amount of public enthusiasm.”

It was touch and go up to the wire—even my attempts to cajole my workmates into the spirit by stringing bunting around my desk didn’t help—and I woke up on the morning expecting it to be just another day.  But soon after my wife (who can sleep-in for Britain when the mood strikes) was up extra early and the telly was on and the festivities began.

I think simply being in Britain for the event made a huge difference.  You really could feel the excitement, even way down here in Horsham, so being anywhere near the million-plus mob outside of Buckingham Palace must have been quite the adrenaline rush.

It was noted that the crowd was made up in no small part by American’s, Canadians and ever some Aussies., but that’s really no surprise.  People like us, who actually live here, can stay at home and watch it on the telly—it’s only the tourists who would have to stand 87 deep outside the gates to get a glimpse of what we can watch close up while sitting comfortably and drinking a cup of tea.

But wherever you were, it was great to be in Britain that day.  As Mr. Chatterton-Dickson further observed, events like this “show Britain at its best.”  And this was the best of Britain.  Whether you think the Royal Family is an anachronism that needs to be retired, or believe the Monarchy to be a priceless national treasure that must be preserved, you have to agree on this: there is no other country in the world that can do pomp, ceremony and spectacle as well as the United Kingdom.

It was a day I was proud to be British, and I am pleased to say, we watched the spectacle with interest, and in style.


Well, I’m afraid to say I didn’t get up at 4am to watch the pre-wedding stuff. I’m just not a morning person and 7am was early enough for me. By the time we were up and getting ready for school (no day off over here) they were on the balcony and snogging.
Being one of the only British parents at school, I got a lot of attention at drop-off, with little kids asking me to say something and parents waving at me like the Queen; all very light-hearted and jolly. Pity there wasn’t a street party.

My family were all at my sister’s so I felt a teeny bit lonely watching the replays on my own, and I have to say, I was very impressed with the way the crowd behaved themselves. Brits may know how to do pomp and ceremony but they also know how to behave themselves en masse. I’m referring mainly to when they were allowed to move right up to the Palace railings. There was no shoving or running, just a well-behaved throng, staying behind the police cordon and generally being no trouble at all. I was proud of my fellow countryfolk and, although I don’t like being in huge crowds, part of me was wishing I was there.

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  1. It was brilliant, wasn't it?
    A good time had by all.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  2. "… no other country in the world that can do pomp, ceremony and spectacle as well as the United Kingdom."


    It was indeed brilliant.

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  4. Agreed, a great event and a good day for the UK.
    (But, Toni, snogging? I think you must have been watching a different wedding! Looked more like a peck on the lips to me......)

  5. It was spectacular. I love that the Brits at least have the form of worship still intact, and I think this marriage does much to secure the future of the Monarchy.

  6. Yes, I bet the republican's weren't thrill with it ;)

  7. Not to pick on Mike, but he reiterated an idea I've heard a lot this last week that I find a little odd and that I don't think stands up to scrutiny as the source of national pride some express it as (not saying it was necessarily presented in that way here.)

    I'm always a little confused when I read or hear the remark that nobody does pomp and circumstance like the British. The TV coverage kept emphasizing the "fact". But do we? I don't know enough about state occasions in other countries to make that case. I've no idea how a British royal wedding compares to a Thai royal wedding though the Thai royal family hold a more central role in Thai society than their British counterparts do in the UK.

    I mean, the very phrase pomp and circumstance, complete with its Shakespeare origins, is an exceedingly British use of language. I just wonder if this no one does pomp and circumstance like the British meme that was heard a lot last week, is like saying no one does savoir-faire like the French or no one does craic quite like the Irish.

  8. CD - Blimey, that's deep, but yes you have a point. I think it has a lot to do with the silly uniforms. My (American) husband kept saying "Look, he should be swinging from a Christmas Tree branch" at some of the louder uniforms. I mean, it's not as if they go into battle looking like that these days!

  9. I didn't get up at the necessary 3am to watch it live but I did catch the highlights. It only confirmed my stance that British culture exports exceptionally well. :)


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