Yet another Royal Wedding

November 17th, 2010

Our Royal Family is so big that Royal Weddings are happening every year or so. This one, however, is a biggie because Prince William is second in line for the top job. So that Kate Middleton stands a chance of becoming Queen while she is still young enough not to be fired as a television presenter. Though that is by no means certain. Prince Charles, now happily married, could well bumble on for another decade or two, disfiguring the landscape with retro old buildings. Another two or three Poundurys, dominated by Tesco supermarkets, who seem to relish old fashioned buildings. And, of course, the Queen, given the wonders of modern science as well as her own toughness, may well live to be 110.

Nevertheless, BBC Television devoted the first half of  the 10 PM television news to the news from Buckingham Palace. And this morning’s newspapers are having a field today. As well they might. Royal Weddings sell newspapers. The Times no doubt is already planning its special supplement.

And it is a welcome bit of good news for the coalition. Not because the British public will be so distracted by the hype that the un-employed will forget that they are un-employed. But because a summer Royal Wedding will give our economy a much needed boost. Tourists will come in their millions. Heads of state will be filling the most expensive rooms at our poshest hotels. Hundreds of new entrepreneurs will be starting new businesses making souvenirs  in all shapes and sizes. Not just mugs and plates, but DVDs and computer games!

Republicans in Britain are still very thin on the ground, with only The Guardian making their case. And then only spasmodically. And even the Republicans have a grudging admiration for the ability of the Palace and its advisers to put on a good show. In 1947, when our present Queen got married, the Royal Family had to be seen buying their wedding outfits within the severe limits of their ration coupons. This time around, they have no such inhibitions. They can use the event to give a boost to British fashion, which is still a world leader.

And, this  time around, the Royals have chosen a real commoner. Prince Philip was not only a Royal himself, he was a second cousin of the Queen. Diana, although she was  advertised as a commoner was in fact the poor relation of one of our most aristocratic families. By contrast Kate Middleton comes from a middle class family on the way up. But she is well schooled in the ways of the elite. She met Prince William at St Andrew’s University, which is not as academically celebrated as Oxbridge, but is a much favoured choice for the children of the elite.

For myself I plan not to be in London on the day. As it happens we are planning a family wedding this summer which will probably be on 23 July in Dorset. I hope the Palace chooses the same date. It will give all our friends an opportunity to get away from the mob in London. And, if the recession is biting, we can let our London flat to a couple of Royalists for the weekend.

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