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Posts Tagged ‘princess diana’

Quick: where were you when the Pope came to Ireland? Me, I’ve got no idea. Before I’m excommunicated, I should point out that’s because I’m not Irish, and wasn’t living in Ireland at the time of the papal visit.

Ask me, though, where I was for the Queen’s Silver Jublilee (two years before all Irish babies started being called John Paul) or where I was for Charles and Diana’s wedding, and I’m sorted. I can describe the bunting, my dress (no, I wasn’t invited, but that didn’t stop me dressing up), our village street party, the works.

Here’s the thing. I’m not Royalist, but I’m hugely pro big, communal events. It’s a relatively unfashionable stance, but I ADORE those nation-binding moments.  The non-demonstrative English most often break down the reserve (and break down) at sporting events. Jonny Wilkinson’s last-ditch drop kick in the Rugby World Cup. Tiny Michael Owen’s mazy run against Argentina in 1998 (if only I’d had to Google that date; but alas, no).  These are times when we drop our polite ‘each wo/man is an island’ masks and stand together, roaring our heads off. For me, nothing can beat that sort of collective emotion.

It’s something I’ve always liked about weddings, too. Whenever I’m on my way to a wedding, I think about all the other people who’ve woken up that morning and thought, ‘today I’m going to see X&X get married’. There’s something incredibly rousing about the collective spirit, the joint goodwill. I have no idea why it moves me so much, but it always has.

All together now...

(image c/o scripting.com)

God, even at the London marathon a couple of weeks ago, 24 miles in and feeling as if I was encased in a steel tube, I looked around at the crowds yelling encouragement at hordes of random strangers, heard the band playing (yes, really) and beamed a Cheshire cat grin of ‘I’m bloody DOING this’. Running long distances is the world’s dullest thing, usually. Running long distances with 40,000 other people and a crowd of probably double that is incredibly uplifting (though not so uplifting that I’d ever want to do it again).

It’s in that same vein that I’m looking forward to the Big Day today. I’m hardly going to be in my wedding finery, and I’m certainly not going to be down at Trafalgar Square, but it’s an Occasion, one that nobody is escaping, cynical or not. In this day and age, there’s a lot to be said for that.

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Prince William is such a cheapskate. Why’d he give Kate his mum’s old engagement ring?
His dead mum’s old engagement ring.

The ring that launched a thousand flicks...

His unhappily married mum’s engagement ring.
His broken-hearted mum’s old engagement ring.
His divorced mum’s old engagement ring.
His cuckolded mum’s old engagement ring.
His vilified, ostracised mum’s old engagement ring.
His canonised, sainted mum’s old engagement ring.
The People’s Princess’s old engagement ring.
The ring that launched a thousand flicks…
It may be “priceless”, but poor Kate is certainly going to pay a heavy price, because if every a ring came with an unbearable weight, then this is it. So why, William, why?
Because, he says, “obviously” his mum couldn’t be there so he thought it would be a “quite nice” way to have her involved in all the wedding “fun”. Oh, jolly hockey sticks!
Yes well, I’m sure it’s fun for him, but for Kate, with her tight, bright smile, determined tweed and perma-blowdry, with her nickname of Waity-Katie after years perched in her parents’ home/ivory tower awaiting this benighted proposal, always terrified of putting a foot wrong, with the insults cast at her parents because they actually earned their money and didn’t inherit it, with the sneers about her mother being an air hostess, the sniggers of “doors to manual and cross-check”, with the finger-pointing at her partying sister Pippa, with the nastiness when Kate was photographed in hotpants falling off her skates at a charity roller-disco (looking happier than she has before or since), with years of mortifying protocol insisting she leaves weddings and clubs sans her fella, with the stoic silence she’s always kept even when dumped, with everything she’s done — and doubtless not done — to prove she’s suitable queenly material, I reckon it’s been anything but fun.

Maybe she thought the fun would start with the ring, with the fairytale wedding, with forging her own path as a real princess, fighting her own corner, eventually able to stand up for what she believes in, to make a difference where she chooses, to reap the benefits of finally being legally tied to the royals, and not just left to sit primly on the sidelines knowing you could be tossed aside at the whim of a dandy, forever famous for being jilted.
But no, instead Prince Charming hands Kate Middleton the baton of martyrdom and the burden of his sainted mother, of everybody’s Lady Di.
Gee. A clean slate might have been nice.
And she can’t even pawn the ring if it all falls apart.

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