Opinions Expressed in "Rants," while informed by Catholic doctrine, are merely the opinions of the author.
Reflections on the Royal Wedding
Now that the wedding is behind us, and the incredible vortex of news attention it received has abated, I'd like to share a few reflections that came to me throughout. This is a follow up on last week's Rant, in which I said Kate was a babe (created quite a furor too).
1. I got up at 3 am and watched the whole wedding ceremony, not just the little bits and pieces that we've seen in the highlights, and I'm glad I did, because I was pleasantly surprised to see just how SPIRITUAL the ceremony was. There was a lot of GOD in there - I expected the religious components to be watered down in favor of a secular public, but it wasn't! The preacher in particular, the Bishop of London, really drilled in to the bride and groom the importance of making their marriage about something bigger than themselves, and the importance of faith. And getting the bride and groom to write their own prayer - that was a nice touch - I may have to try that sometime.
It was also very cool to see everyone in church singing the hymns, including the bride and groom. AND very cool to see the crowds outside singing along too, all chanting the hymn "Jerusalem" together, and saying all the Amens. Its like everyone in the country was at the wedding.
On that note, if one can get a copy, I would HIGHLY recommend showing the entire wedding in religious classes, just as a general lesson on marriage itself.
2. A lot of people are paying special note of the fact that Kate Middleton is a "commoner." Some are offended by the comment. It means not that Kate is common or ordinary, it means she has no aristocratic title assigned to her name. Many people who hear this think, "who cares?" and rightly so.
In North America, we've long since outgrown any notions of the class system - we've become very used to the idea that one person is the same as another, all equal in the eyes of God. These ideas really took hold on us as a result of the French and American Revolutions, about 300 years ago. But they didn't take hold in England, not until very recently. There are still people there who think there is a difference between people on the basis of class. We know its non-sense, but they're still getting used to the idea.
So we see that people in England are getting used to and idea that American have had for a long time (actually as one of their founding principles) that there is no difference between people on the basis of class - aristocracy, royalty, commoners, they are merely custom and convention - not something that is tangibly real.
3. BUT royalty does have one thing to offer, even modern society, and I think its a good reason to keep it around. The royal family connects us to history.
The fact that young William there is a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, and also ancestral lineage through people like Henry VIII, Edward the Confessor, and loosely, all the way down to William the Conqueror of 1066 - it means that in his very BLOOD, his very genetics, William is a living embodiment of England's history.
And that's why it still makes sense to keep his family as a FIGUREHEAD monarchy, because the monarch represents England and Great Britain, as a person.
4. Because of this, we see one of the biggest POSITIVE news stories that I've ever seen. As a person that represents a CORPORATE reality, William's wedding unites EVERYONE. Apparently two billion people watched the wedding - that's a third of the planet! all CELEBRATING (for a change). And they were celebrating something worth celebrating - LOVE, MARRIAGE.
The sense of national and global community could only happen because William is the grandson of a Queen. So maybe that's a reason to keep the monarchy around too.
5. The fact that so many participated in this celebration, to me, really shows the amazing impact of technology, in a positive way (this time), in bringing people together. It seemed like a small world that morning, as I watched the wedding with people from all over the world.
6. I think, in addition to all the reasons above, people watched because William and Kate were living out a universal narrative - a story of love, and becoming a princess, and marriage, and living happily ever after, and all that stuff.
The irony is, the more ordinary they made themselves to be - for example Kate's form fitting rather than frilly dress, their driving together in the Aston Martin by themselves, their down to earth sense of humor - the more sympathetic they become in the eyes of the people, and therefore the more fairy-tale it all becomes.
I do think that a little too much pressure might be put on them in this regard - they aren't going to be perfect - but its nice to see a royal wedding where the couple actually love each other for a change. Looks to me like a good place to start.