Recently, I was talking to someone from the Philippines through the world wide internet, and they got very excited about the prospect of the Royal Wedding. Since they are not part of our Empire (present or former), or our white western monoculture, I asked them what that was all about.
Apparently it was because it was a “fairy tale”, and they wouldn’t expect me to understand because I’m male. I readied myself to deliver a sarcastic rebuttal, but it took more thought than I expected. After all, it is a Prince marrying his long-term sweetheart. As fairy tales go, that’s pretty textbook.
I can hear angry men rushing to the comments box to destroy me now, and you’d be right, there are a few things stopping the marriage of Wills & Kate joining Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in the children’s section of the library. But most of the reasons we all gripe about the Royal Wedding are the trappings surrounding it, rather than the thing itself, no?
Ironically, what makes us cynical and bitter are often attempts by others to make it more of a fairy tale than it really is. Would it be more like Cinderella if William was marrying a blue-collar commoner, instead of someone upper middle class at the lowest? Of course it would.
But unfortunately he isn’t. And that’s before we’ve even discussed souvenir tat, the Channel Five TV movie thing, attempts to tie utterly unrelated products into the event for a quick buck.
But the reason everyone is now desperately trying to pump up the fairy tale value of the day is because they’ve seen that the spark is there. And there are precious few events nowadays that even manage that much. If the Royal Family serve any purpose at all in the modern world (I said if), it’s this: providing larger than life events for people to feel okay about buying into.
Don’t get me wrong, I will probably spend the Magical Day either asleep or watching an unrelated DVD. But if other people who want to feel that small fairy tale tingle, leave them be. Avoid certain TV channels, skirt around central London, maybe stay off Twitter for a bit and you’ll be amazed how quickly it passes you by.