Thoughts on The Royal Wedding|
POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, April 30, 2011 Share
I was not planning on watching all that much of the Royal Nuptials, let alone write about them, but after it started, I found myself transfixed by the incredible display of British architecture, pomp-and-circumstance, and music surrounding this comparatively rare event.
For those living under a rock who don't know what I'm talking about: Friday, April 29, 2011, Prince William, son of Prince Charles and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, wed "commoner" Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London at 11:00am Britain time, 6:00am American Eastern Daylight Time.
For weeks beforehand, terms like "fairy-tale wedding" were bandied about on newscasts, not entirely unjustified, and the women mostly obsessed on what kind of gown Kate would have on. Many comparisons were drawn (and would continue to be) between this affair and the one thirty years ago between Charles and Diana. I was around then, but I have no solid memories of seeing that on live TV. Mostly newscast replays that went on forever.
At the time of Charles and Diana, most any Anglophile tendencies on my part were limited to Monty Python and Marty Feldman, a smattering of Dr. WHO, and anything produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (e.g., Space 1999, UFO, anything Supermarionation), Stonehenge, and the wonderful folk legends and classic songs surrounding Great Britain.
Coverage Friday began at 4:00am American Eastern Daylight Time. I had the night off, and the TV was on as background noise. After catching glimpses of the "pre-show" coverage on my walks past the TV, I decided to sit and at least watch the main ceremony since it was scheduled conveniently at 6:00am (our time) and, basically, that was all that was on all the channels anyway.
WOW. I don't know what I was expecting, but it proved to be an intense experience, let alone what it must've been like in person.
With the thousands and thousands of folks lined up along the "parade route" (or whatever its called), locations and buildings steeped in history and legend loomed at every juncture. The only things not visibly hundreds of years old were the classic Rolls-Royces transporting the Royal Entourage to Westminster Abbey, site of the wedding.
Westminster Abbey. I had no idea...no real perception of how enormous and beautiful that place is. Continuous birds-eye camera views of the interior were positively jaw-dropping.
As the bride and groom entered, colorful costumes and decorations, all traditional Church of England (reminiscent of the Catholic regalia I grew up around and from which this Church "spun off" hundreds of years ago) were everywhere. The English police, guards and military were splendidly decked out in formal attire.
And FORMAL is what the English do best. I was reminded of just how much influence England has had on rules of formality.
The Archbishop of Canterbury --- the position itself subject of a classic "required reading" novel in high school --- presided over the ceremony.
Everything was timed to perfection and went according to schedule, more or less. A couple minutes late, but I'll forgive them for that.
The pivotal ceremony ---the part where the couple exchange vows --- only took up about ten to fifteen minutes. The rest of the hour was mostly benedictions, a little sermonizing, and lots of music (more on that in a second). Funnily, there was no "and you may now kiss the bride"!! Evidently, that was a separate function to take place at Buckingham Palace later.
Now, a word about the music. If I was to choose one word to describe this entire affair, it would be "cinematic", and the music went a long way to promote that. Oh sure, there were the typical hymns and choir, but I could swear I repeatedly heard tiny pieces of Star Wars, Superman the Movie, a bit of Star Trek, and on one occasion with the children's choir (who were adorable, by the way), a touch of Disney! It then occurred to me that this is where American movie composers likely got a LOT of their inspiration. I can also see why George Lucas populates so many of his movies with English accents. The Royal fanfare trumpets alone had me transported to Yavin 4. But I digress....
After the wedding, the Royal Party departed for Buckingham Palace in horse-drawn carriages (even saying that feels historical), where another throng of admirers were waiting for the Royal Kiss to take place on a special balcony chosen for this occasion. Supposedly, William and Kate rehearsed their first public kiss several times to give the most flattering camera angle. Well, this was the only part of the day that must've proved extremely disappointing for the true believers (I'll stop short of calling it a rip-off). At 8:25am American time (1:25pm Britain), the Royal Couple appeared on the aforementioned balcony, and, after spending a couple minutes waving to the crowd, William and Kate face each other and...
**PECK** on the lips.
What the...?!?! If you'd've sneezed at the right time you'd've missed it entirely.
A couple minute later, William got some sort of sign from an assistant (I think so, anyway) to do it again. He and Kate faced each other and *PECKED* again, this time for a fraction of a second longer. I can't help but laugh at all the English commentators who were placing bets on whether the kiss would last three seconds or eight seconds. HAHA. And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our ceremony.
Well except for a few bullet points I'd like to make...
William and Catherine first met at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2001.
Prior to the wedding ceremony, the Queen bestowed on William and Catherine their permanent titles of nobility: they are now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In addition to the dukedom, William also became the Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus, which means Kate will become the Countess of Strathearn and Baroness Carrickfergus. Why so many titles has to do with discreet traditional kingdoms of England.
Queen Elizabeth herself was adorable in her taxicab yellow outfit. Not many could pull that off, but she looked appropriately very regal. She also didn't seem to be having a particularly good time, but she is 85 years old and likely tires easily. She had only met Kate Middleton a week beforehand(!) and she was the first to leave the kissing balcony, pretty much done with this entire affair.
Maybe it's just me, but I found it hysterical how many close-ups Elton John and his man-wife got in the reserved section of Westminster Abbey. There were repeated close-ups of several people, but he's the only one I recognized. He didn't look well, and seemed to have trouble remembering how the hymns went, which I found slightly ironic. Was Sir Paul McCartney not invited?
For the ladies in the audience, the commentators generally agreed that Kate's choice of wedding gown was closer to Princess Grace of Monaco than it was to Princess Diana's. Lots of bets riding on that one, apparently. Kate's "train" was only about eight feet long as opposed to Diana's thirty feet! But it was admired for its elegant simplicity.
The couple's honeymoon agenda was not made entirely public as of this writing.
"Nolan's Pop Culture Review" is ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.
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