We all have our own escapist distractions. In the world gradually going mad like this, you practically need to escape from rough reality on some self-determined basis to keep afloat. This week many people turned to the British royal wedding for our escapism dose.
Why not? The dashing young prince, second-in-line to the grandest monarchy, firstborn of world’s most renowned princess, who herself got married in the wedding of last century, was marrying his college sweetheart, a willowy loveliness who despite having been raised by self-made millionaire parents is nonetheless a commoner, in the wedding of this century.
And there was something for everyone. Royal loyalists enjoyed the full display of pageantry, pomp and circumstances that the British monarchy knows best how to do. Royal haters inspected a blueblood betrothed outside aristocratic lines, looking for solid proofs of modernizing monarchy. Fashionistas went gaga over Kate’s dress and the gaggle of Phillip Treacy’s feathered hats. Queen Rania, Cinderella of Jordan herself, tweeted that she’d spent the day with her kids watching it on TV. The rest of us just wanted to see such beautiful celebrations of love that made us forget, for a few hours, of all the ills in our own lives.
Of course, naysayers are always aplenty. Yet beyond the standard “Such waste of money and time when there are real problems in the world” litany heard across the globe, the Indonesians had a different twist this time. There were talks of our own impending “royal” wedding, delivered mostly in snide remarks.
Allow me to be the first to squash that notion. Our democracy has presidents, not kings. Our presidents can go after one term and will go after two, and cannot legally pass the power baton to any kin. Certainly politicians can raise politically-charged families and aim to expand their network by way of strategic alliances including marriages, as we’ve witnessed through the Roosevelts, Kennedys and Bushes in the US, and the Soong sisters, Nehru-Gandhis, Bhuttos, Lees, or Aquinos in Asia.
Let us remember that the political elites have rights to marry whoever they desire, and as generally happen, people marry within their own circle, so no need to act ghastly surprised that offspring of two heavyweight politicians are tying knots. This union may well be birthing merged bloodlines, or ‘dynasty’ as some of you choose to call it, yet may not necessarily translates to real ruling power. Why? Because the power to deliver ruling authority lies on our hands, faceless voters picking our representatives on Election Day. Hence, if you don’t want a dynasty-model of republic, simply do not vote for political parties offering that idea.
And, as a writer who’s susceptible towards words, and a yogini aware of energy flow, may I strong suggest us stopping to refer to it as a ‘royal’ wedding. Yes, including media, Facebookers and Twitterati. The more you call out something, the truer it rings over time. So just refer to it as a wedding, or a political wedding if you must label it, but not the ‘R’ word. Because it is not. Don’t make it be.
Back to the real royal wedding. Must admit I was pleased to watch time-honored traditions, such as the program orders and guest arrivals, were artfully meshed with digital age sensibilities, like the Middletons contributed to the wedding expenses and William himself driving out the post-reception ‘Just Got Married’ car. I found some solace in imagining that while Diana had to miss the nuptials, she was probably up there clinking champagne flutes with British badboy designer Alexander McQueen over her daughter-in-law’s choice of dress. The sleek Chantilly-laced-bodice, angelic silk-tulle veil, and tasteful train on that gorgeous satin gown, a reminiscent of when an American Cinderella named Grace Kelly married a European prince half a century ago, oozes such modern glamour that the regular jane born with conspicuously regal name of Catherine Elizabeth, looks halfway fit to be queen.
The boy who walked mournfully behind her beloved mummy’s casket has grown into a strapping young man, returning to the Abbey, in such a resplendent Irish Guard uniform, to marry his bride. For that reason alone, I had to watch the event. Call me hopeless romantic, but first pass me the tissue, please.