Thoughts on the Royal Wedding

Well, they’ve finally gone and done it. HRH The Prince of Wales has taken Camilla Parker-Bowles, now HRH The Princess of Wales (and that’s what I’ll call her until she becomes Queen Consort because that’s what she is. Regardless of how I or anyone else may feel about it, you can’t stop a title from devolving from a husband to a wife in the British consitution. The royal family tried when Edward VIII abdicated and became the Duke of Windsor. Oh, how they insisted that Wallis Simpson was not, could not be the Duchess of Windsor. But she was. And though she may want to be called Duchess of Cornwall and then Princess Consort, Camilla became Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales and Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, and Princess of Scotland the microsecond she said ‘I do.’ And the microsecond the Imperial State Crown hits Charles’ head, she shall become Her Majesty The Queen. There is no constitutional provision denying the wife of a King Regnant the title and dignity of Queen Consort nor for creating a Princess Consort. One would take an Act of Parliament and the other would take a whole flurry of Letters Patent after said Act of Parliament. Both Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband) and Philip (Lizzy II’s husband) had to be specially created Prince Consort because no other dignity devolved to either of them when their wives were crowned Queens Regnant. It’s sexist, and it probably should be changed, but it’s the way it is. Long live Queen Camilla. Wow that was a long parenthesis.)

And after reviewing the press coverage and accounts of the proceedings and the resplendent photo galleries, I think this is going to be a turning point for the Royal Family. In the pictures following the church blessing, you can see the Queen, Prince Philip, The Princess Royal, The Duke of York, The Earl & Countess of Wessex, Princes William and Harry, Zara & Peter Phillips, and the Parker Bowles children simply milling about. There was no strict protocol enforced, there was no stiff formality evident in the celebratory mood. And for once, possibly the first time, the Royal Family is shown as a real family. Imperfect, with its black sheep, but a family nonetheless. And for all the PR efforts they’ve made over the years, this loosely controlled event was the most compelling to me. Without really trying, they became real to me, and probably, to much of the British public. Even the royal family isn’t perfect….full of adulturers, commoners, a crazy old aunt or two, and the like. And they acknowledge it within themselves and to the public. But nevertheless they managed to be happy. Just like a real family. Somehow existing and finding joy in life even though the veil and mystery of the monarchy has been pierced and their god-like status forgotten. And that’ll do more for their standing in the UK than publicity and charity and OBE events ever will, I think.

Even the normally anti-monarchy Guardian feels the tide of change. (And I say anti-monarchy only in the most general, subversive of senses. In the UK, advocating the abolition of the monarchy is still legally treason and grounds for having a whole host of unpleasant things done to you, the least of which is life imprisonment.) So, good luck to the Waleses. May you be judged in the future by what you do now, not by your asinine bumbles of the past.

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