#royalwedding

Posted on April 29, 2011

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Prince William and Kate Middleton

10.00 (GMT +1): Astonishing. That’s probably the only word that I can use to describe all the hufflepuff – sorry (& thank you) Ms. Rowling but I’m giving this word a new meaning – surrounding the 2011 Royal Wedding between Prince William and Princess-to-be Kate Middleton. It’s all over the media, it’s clogging up every website, it’s littering twitter – it’s incredible, is what it is.

It seems that everyone the world over, from China to the US to Australia, is fascinated by the proceedings. And quite rightly, I guess. I mean, what an event in history it is to watch our future king marry. It’s a generation thing, and Prince William is only a year older than me! What’s funny though is that in spite of all the hullabaloo, everything is quiet on the Congo front – people, ourselves included, are simply getting on with their day-to-day lives. Most have no idea the wedding is even on! All morning I’ve had one eye on #royalwedding/#rw2011 proceedings while also trying to concentrate wholeheartedly on creating some important communications strategy documents and content for our project out here in the Congo. It can’t be helped – everywhere you go online, royal wedding coverage is there. It is truly astonishing.

It will be good once the whole affair is over, once all the hype has died down. Then we can remember the event for what it was, without all the fuss, and resume our normal lives.

But then again, will that be a good thing? Granted, the hype and media attention has been typically over the top. But that was always to be expected, especially from the British media – you have to look no further than their reaction to when it snows in the UK: pandemonium and mayhem ensue, and no other topic can be discussed for weeks until the 3cm (excluding all northern parts of the UK) layering of snow has disappeared.

Anyway. Maybe the wedding, surrounded by all its fuss, is exactly what the country needs, and what we as individuals need. Quite simply, it offers us a form of escapism, an opportunity for us to escape the mundane routine of our daily lives, and to fully immerse ourselves in the world of fantasy, albeit for a few hours.

And that can’t be all bad, especially with all the economic doom and gloom that has been hovering over us for years, and with the rising international political instability which continues to paint the world in an even darker, grimier hue. People need brightness in their lives, and despite the undoubted toll to the taxpayer, this wedding will offer that brightness, even if it is only temporarily so.

We will also be watching history unfold. A young, modern monarch and his ‘commoner’ – complete nonsense that – fiancé, both clearly very much in love, will look to offer the country a form of entertainment that hasn’t been seen for decades. Not since the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana at the beginning of the ’80’s, I imagine.

It is in fact a wonderful tale. And on a very basic level, it is also a wonderfully human, normal tale of two people in love, and a tale that the British public can obviously relate to. And my how they are reveling in it! Good to see all the stuffy Britishness-of-old being discarded with, to an extent.

Maybe we all need a little escapism, an opportunity, no matter how perverse or short-lived, to have a little light and fairy dust shone on our lives; and to allow us to take a break and to remember that happiness is there to be had. That’s always important.

UPDATE:

The newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

13.45 (GMT +1): So I went to catch the wedding on TV, I couldn’t help myself. While initially put off by the whole thing, I realised that this was history in the making and that I did in fact want to see it. So I went to the nearby ‘Complexe La Plage’, which has a few screens, and managed to get there just as Kate appeared at the top of the aisle in Westminster Abbey with her father.

What a wonderful event! A really beautiful ceremony. A handsome Prince and a gorgeous bride (princess-to-be) – it really was the stuff of fantasy and fairy tales. The soppy romantic in me (yes, apparently he exists) was unleashed.

I even felt proud to be British, which as many of you will know, is not a common occurrence for me. There I was in a Congolese café, surrounded by some Congolese, French, Arabic, American and South African people, with me singing Jerusalem and God Save Our Queen, almost wanting to stand up on each occasion! Weird looks were bandied around the place, unsurprisingly.

Despite everything surrounding the wedding (hype, expense, ridicule), the fundamental plot-line and its main characters had, in my view, been forgotten. It was a show of proper Britishness, as shown through the ages, but with a priceless modern twist, which we could all relate to. And most importantly, it was a story of love, and of hope; it was a story that the nation clearly needed reminding of.

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