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Why this royalist is concerned about this royal wedding

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The white dress and the flowers. The speeches and the laughter. The vows and the rings. Everybody loves a good wedding, right?

Wedding bouqet and couple in soft focus

Well, from the plethora of news articles, TV specials and cut-out-and-keep souvenir brochures, it’s certainly taken for granted that everybody loves a royal wedding. Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement back in November, barely a week has gone by without another 'revelation' about their nuptials or their names bouncing into the top trends on social media. I feel like I know more about their upcoming wedding than I did about weddings I’ve actually attended.

Now, I’m not one to complain. I’m the sort of person who gets text messages from their mother to alert me to royal baby announcements and who actually has favourite outfits the Duchess of Cambridge has worn. I have Queen-themed socks, for goodness sake, so I am actually looking forward to 19th May and all the attendant specials. My joy when I found that Channel 5 are planning to show Lifetime’s Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance was, frankly, unnecessary and embarrassing.

So I don’t say what I’m about to say out of a hatred of the royals, weddings, royal weddings, or the couple in particular. I mean, knowing that I definitely have to return to work in September because Harry is definitively off the market is a bit of a blow, but aside from that, I’m all good with the wedding and marriage itself.

The constant media drip-feed of tiny details, however, I have some more issues with.


Let me give you some examples. In the past week, I have learned the following things about the wedding of Prince Henry of Wales and Miss Rachel Markle (I mean, that’s one thing for starters): Prince William will be his brother’s best man; post-ceremony, the couple will take a turn around Windsor in an Ascot landau (it’s a kind of carriage); Prince Harry has lost half a stone in preparation for the big day; the Queen ‘is likely’ to gift them a house and ‘may’ make them Duke and Duchess of Sussex or Clarence.

Apart from the speculative mess of that final ‘fact’, there are other issues here. For one thing, I can’t imagine anyone thought that Prince Williams wouldn’t be stood by his brother’s side, whilst if anyone knew what an Ascot landau was before that little nugget was shared, I want them to raise their hands now.

The fact is that we’re being given too many facts, and inconsequential facts at that. Day by day, the gossip columns fill up and it overspills into the editorials and the actual news. Anger over the Windsor councillor’s desire to clear the town’s streets of homeless people was discussed on magazine and politics shows alike. Between that and the birth of Prince Louis, actual news has been rather thin on the ground recently.

 

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Which is absolutely ridiculous, when you consider what has been going on in the past few weeks, let alone months. Windrush. Cambridge Analytica. Violence on London’s streets. The Syrian bombings. And these are the things we’ve actually heard about, so goodness knows what has been flying underneath the radar, buried underneath bunting, confetti and Union Jacks. Through almost no fault of their own – because who is seriously going to begrudge another human being love and children? – the royal family have been giving our country plenty of good days to bury bad news.

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, least of all Harry and Meghan’s, but I’m concerned that in this wedding fever, some real societal illnesses are being covered up. As I write this, a sixty-second news round-up has taken up ten seconds to tell us all about that fancy carriage. This is the kind of information I should have to hunt for, read in Buzzfeed listicles and the Sidebar of Shame. This is not vital.

So I will absolutely be in front of my TV on 19th May, desperate for that first glimpse of the dress, the bridesmaids, the kiss. But I’ll also be looking for what isn’t taking over eight hours of mainstream television, the parties nobody is invited to, because that’ll be the very best of days to bury the very worst of news.

Lead image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rambomuscles/27539496259/sizes/l 




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