Saturday, my weather app tells me, is going to be breezy and partly cloudy. But that won’t stop lots of people from having a party on their street or in their back yard. Who wouldn’t want to join in the celebrations of two young(ish) people committing their lives to each other?
Well, actually, me for one. Some people out there would share my sentiments and bemoan the fact that the TV channels will be clogged with shots of cheering royalists, burbles of admiration from royal commentators and general immersion in a sea of sentimentality.
But let’s not get carried away. Important point: the public will not be paying for this lavish wedding. Nor will the bride’s family. The groom’s family has agreed to pick up the tab. And it will be hefty: the average wedding, we’re told, costs around £27,000; this one will cost some £2 million. But don’t breathe too easy just yet: the royals won’t be paying for the security – you and I will. According to the wedding site Bridebook, that will cost a whopping £30 million. Out of your pocket and mine. And you thought the cost of the various Orange parades were bad.
Megan’s dress will cost around quarter of a million; Harry on the other hand will wear something more low-key, we’re told (and no, Virginia, a made-to-measure Nazi uniform would not be appropriate). Flowers alone will cost around £100,000.
I was asked on Raidio Uladh yesterday if I’d be watching the royal event on telly, but I explained that I had an appointment with my cat, whose boil badly needs greasing. While I’m doing that, I’ll try not to think that my money is going to protect people who are already paid some £76 million annually from the public purse.
Shouldn’t nationalists and republicans be at ease with such things, following the example of the late Martin McGuinness? There’s an argument there indeed. Though since McGuinness attended at least one royal dinner, it’d be nice to see the leader of the DUP, Nigel Dodds (no, that’s not a mistake, Virginia) attending a republican ceremony say, next Easter, in reciprocation. Although nice doesn’t mean likely.
I really don’t mind if people, be they nationalist, republican, unionist or royalist, want to spend the day watching the royal knot-tie. But it strikes me as an odd way to spend even a few hours, gawking at a B list Hollywood actress marrying a man who was a member of the British Army for ten years, which included two periods in Afghanistan. What was Harry doing there? I really don’t know and I doubt if the people of Afghanistan do either. Probably helping kill Afghanis and defending Britain from being invaded.
The royal family, or at lest some of them, are extremely popular with British people. George Bernard Shaw said that the English, not being a religious people, invented cricket so they could have some grasp on the notion of eternity. The British people love their royals because are an endless soap opera, and it takes their minds off depressing stuff like Brexit and Donald Trump. Those who are overt or closet fans of the royals here, north and south of the border, will greet Saturday with a tear in their eye and a heartfelt “God bless you both!”. The number of those south of the border who’ll go all moist and weak shows yet again that the need to have someone to gawk at is deep-seated in the human heart.
OK, Virginia, let’s go get that tub of grease.