Opinion

Wedded to the perfect world

by
May 18, 2018

Royal weddings are an unreal affair for ordinary mortals — but that’s the point. Here’s the newest attraction at Legoland in Windsor, England. Picture: AP

It’s been a quietly desperate week here in lawnmower land trying to convince the dogs that royal wedding fever is not here to stay.

It will pass, as all things must pass into the oblivion of memory and confetti.

But for the moment, all eyes are on two people 17000 kilometres away about to get married and live happily ever after in the warm glow of love and expensive hats.

So chicken necks and walks must take a back seat for now, unless, of course, you met somebody who once met a man who said he was second cousin to the man who supplied chicken necks to the Queen’s corgis.

If he knew the man who supplied chicken necks to Harry’s dogs, then you’d have a direct link to the sixth in line to the throne so you could dine out on that yarn for a lifetime and possibly score an invite to Harry and Meghan’s big day.

Unfortunately we don’t know anyone who supplies chicken necks to royalty, so we will have to watch this glorious thing on television through the kitchen window from the edge of our verandah.

As a young puppy, I was a republican revolutionary who considered Robespierre’s reign of terror as a failed, wishy-washy attempt to rid the world of dynastic parasites.

British royalty in the 1960s and ’70s was still a remote and deeply uncool institution, wallowing in tradition and accents that sounded like mouthfuls of boiled toffee.

Live television coverage of the Queen’s marriage to Prince Philip in 1947 and the Investiture of the Prince of Wales, the fly-on-the-wall documentary Royal Family in 1969 did little to dispel the medieaval mystique of royalty.

It wasn’t until the fairytale weddings of Charles and Diana and Fergie and Andrew in the 1980s that people began to take a genuine interest in their lives — fuelled by an insatiable media.

I worked as a Press Association motorcycle courier and then journalist in Fleet Street during the 1980s and I can tell you that 90 per cent of my time was spent chasing the perfumed coat-tails of Diana.

When those marriages subsequently failed, they became even more human, despite the pall of gloom their divorces cast over the empire.

Diana’s death brought an astonishing outpouring of grief among ordinary people and a disturbing amount of anger directed at the Queen for her stubborn remoteness. Now we have a younger generation of royals even more determined to break the spell of other-worldliness and mystery that surrounded their ancestors.

They now take their kids to school, drive their own cars, have bad hair days, marry an ordinary movie star, and eat pies in public — just like us.

But the thing is, they are not like us and we don’t really want them to be like us.

That’s the point of having a royal family — they represent something beyond the ugly reality of daily life with its violence and addictions, its bad taste, poor choices, ill-health and poverty.

They represent an ideal — and that’s no bad thing.

In an age of fracturing cultural normalities where certainties dissolve into doubt and chaos, royal weddings remind us of the things we aspire to — stability, normality, peace and love.

If we could all have unlimited money, respect and good manners, a real tiara and a sword, then royal weddings would be nothing special.

Throw in some royal chicken necks, and it’s a perfect world.

John Lewis is The News Chief of Staff.

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