When you were young, didn’t you guys out there dream about becoming a professional football player? About hearing thousands of fans scream your name, about little kids wearing your shirt, and about scoring the important goal in a world cup final? And now to the girls: Didn’t you dream about becoming a princess? Wearing nice dresses, meeting your prince in shiny armor, and being admired by little girls all over the world?
This is the exact reason why to us girls a royal wedding is just like a world cup final to you guys. And how much better is this romance narrative if the chosen bride is one of us, a commoner, a normal girl?
Today is the 29.04.2012 – the first anniversary of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
I was in London one year ago and while my mum didn’t call me at all for the previous 7 months (we are not very chatty and prefer e-mail-contact), she called me about 5 times on that day: “Are you already there?” “How many people are there?” “What is Kate wearing? Can you see her?” “Have you seen how amazing David Beckham looked??” The Royal Wedding was a spectacle all over the world, but nowhere as crazily celebrated as in London.
When I left my Tottenham apartment in the morning, I already stumbled over the first indication that this was not a usual day but that you were allowed to celebrate your nation and also your girlish childhood dreams:
But this was nothing compared to what expected me in the heart of London. I arrived about 3 hours in advance and the streets were already crowded with people poshly dressed and women wearing exquisite hats. It seemed as if all of London was a guest of William and Kate’s.
I felt extremely underdressed with my little sparkly Union Jack-Bow in my hair, but luckily there were a lot of opportunities for an instant dress-up which is why I simply had to buy this scarf (see… another parallel to the world of football!):
Because I came quite late, I decided to watch the ceremony on one of the big screens that were set up at Trafalgar Square (and in Hyde Park), where thousands of people were already waiting to witness their favourite fairytale come true.
I know that many people keep comparing this marriage to the story of Charles and Diana (an instance which actually seems to be promoted by the newlyweds themselves when they decided to use Diana’s old engagement ring). I personally belief that the marriage of William and Kate will last a bit longer (even if I am not sure whether they will actually get their happily ever after) because to me they seem to be under less public pressure than Charles was at the time of his marriage. When Prince Charles was a young man, he publicly claimed that 30 was the best age to marry but when he turned 33 and was still a bachelor, he suddenly seemed to hear his biological clock ticking and went strategically looking for a good wife:
“If I’m deciding on whom I want to live with for forty years – well, that’s the last decision I want my head to be ruled by my heart.” (Prince Charles)
Although I am not a very romantic person in real life, I’m still a big fan of romance narratives: I do want the heroine to get her prince, I do want them to get their happy ending, I did cry when Heathcliff was rejected by Cathy, I did cheer when Carrie got Big, Baby got Johnny, and Rachel got Ross. I feel as if these romance narratives are a part of my life and nurture my inner little girl who is profoundly romantic and still hopes a little bit for the prince in shiny armor, which is why I simply had to celebrate the royal couple’s first anniversary with a royal cuppa tea.*
* A Facebook friend drew my attention to the money surrounding little paper-Kate. This subtle ironic and critical twist by the merchandise company might reveal some truth. In fact, Jane Austen already noticed that money is always an issue in romance narratives: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” (Pride and Prejudice)