Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ah, the Royal Wedding

It has been a rough couple of weeks. Owing to an act of colossal stupidity (mine, of course) I wrecked my car... this was awful in every way and I am slowly climbing out of the pit of that. My second (now only) car has been skillfully resurrected by a VW mechanic who (a) does not work for the VW dealer and (b) knows what he is doing. (Could this be a coincidence?) Hopefully the wolfhounds will fit, one at a time at least, in the back of the VW. The tiny dog will fit anywhere in the VW but will of course wish to drive it. I doubt she can manage the clutch, however.

Meanwhile, I find what innocent enjoyment I can in contemplation of the Royal Wedding. Now, most people around me find it irrelevant if not utterly boring, but although I am otherwise as unromantic as a cement block, I am vulnerable to the fantasy of Royal Weddings. After all, I did get up at oh-dark-hundred to watch Diana marry Charles, although it was plain as the nose on anyone's face that expecting a 19-year-old virgin and a 32-year-old well-traveled male to have much of anything at all in common was utter lunacy. Fat lot of good it did THEM, my getting up so early.

There is after all something archetypal about royal weddings, that's why they hold any fascination at all. One (or even I) project something shining and gold on a royal couple, and the wedding, itself an archetype, holds the weight of great hope and promise. And at least this time the couple are of similar age, met at university, have known one another for more than a month or two, and apparently are able to converse for more than a sentence or so. These factors lend one (or me, even) to hope for better times for them than for the unfortunate Charles and the late Diana, who seem to have been even more appallingly mismatched than I imagined in my wildest dreams.

I want them to be happy, William and Catherine, and I want their relationship to be genuine and not a sham, and I want their dreams of spending their lives together to be richly fulfilled. Marriage is at best a sacred calling, a true sacrament, in which ordinary daily experience is infused with the presence of the Divine. I wish that for this young couple, as I wish it for everyone I know who chooses a partner and takes that courage step into life together.

And I want to see the dress, and her hair, and whether she wears a tiara, and whether they get to stay on in their rented farmhouse, and whether he loses all his hair by 35, and whether they have babies, and on and on and on. Incurably nosy, that's what I am, especially about lives that mine has never, and will never, resemble. I always have been curious about royal families. I always have wondered what it would be like to grow up in a palace and to have "what you will be when you grow up" decided for you even before you were born. Life in a royal family seems such an odd combo of freedom (from worry about money, especially) and restriction (one cannot plausibly run off and join the circus, really, if one is royalty--Princess Stephanie of Monaco tried it, which says it all actually). I used to think, why would anyone NOT want to be a prince, or princess, or whatever, but now I think of the fellow I once heard of who worked for a Buick dealer and was very successful as a salesman because he believed, truly believed, that Buick was the best car in the world. He refused to check out the competition because he was afraid he might find out that Buick was really no better than Chevrolet, and then where would he be? As a royal one would simply have to believe one was relevant, because if not, how could one bear it? And, as the relevancy of royalty comes under increasing question, maintaining the belief would become tougher and tougher, and of course what about the poor soul born a Crown Prince who is, sadly, a person who yearns to be steamfitter, or a priest, or a phlebotomist, or anything at all really, other than a future King. Like most youthful fantasies, thoughts of royalty become tempered by experience of reality over the years.

I still, though, look forward to the wedding. I hope the dress is magnificent, and the day is sunny, and the horses shiny and perfectly groomed, and the vows said without a hitch (let us not forget that Diana, by mixing up two of her husband's names, took Prince Philip in marriage... ) and the balcony kiss enough to make the world swoon. It will be grand.