In an uncharacteristically bah humbug spirit, I recorded instead of watched in real time the royal wedding of William and Kate. Oh, I could've gotten up in the wee hours of the morning like so many did - heck, like I did thirty years ago for Charles and Diana, but this time I just couldn't bring myself to do it. In fact, thanks to the fast forward button on my DVR, I skipped most of the waiting, the hymn singing, and all the other extemporaneous things that took up five hours time.
Everywhere I went during the day people were talking about it, excitedly most of the time, and with the hopeful exuberance that one would have if he or she still believed in fairytales...which got me wondering why instead of feeling elated, I felt melancholy.
It didn't help that all the networks intertwined footage of Charles and Diana's wedding. That only worsened it, for we all know how much of a charade that was now, and how tragically it ended. But here we all were with such a different feeling, because this was not a union based on duty, on appearances, on lies and betrayal from the get go. No, this is a joining of two people clearly in love, of a man who seemingly has taken to heart the lessons that his mother's life and death taught him. Will and Kate made a thoughtful decision and we are all hoping that this particular royal wedding will be the fantasy we can all still cling to in our heart of hearts for yearss to come.
Still, I felt sad - sad for the Greek tragedy of Charles and Diana that played out over decades on a world stage, sad for a man who couldn't marry the woman he'd always loved, so he married someone the world loved but whom he did not (in the sense that truly matters, that is). I felt sad for the princess who married her prince only to find that she was a means to an end, and not at all the object of his desire.
And so after all was said and done, Charles did marry Camilla, the woman he'd loved all along, and Diana never lived to know if she would find that kind of love for herself. And she did not live to see her son walk down the aisle this day. And so, no matter how I tried to be overjoyed, I felt the absence of Diana amidst the promise of young lovers. Diana's boys were left with a legacy that we can only know the full content of as their lives play out.
As I watched William and Catherine take their vows with eyes so filled with love and a world wishing them well, I whispered the prayer we all share for them: Please God, let this fairytale end happily ever after this time around. In these days of uncertainty and so much suffering everywhere, that is all we can ask for, wish for, hope for. For in William and Kate, we see the vision of promise, of beauty, of a future, and mostly, of love.
Cheers, Will and Kate. May you have long life and much happiness together. And may the indelible images of this day that we will all carry with us for the rest of our lives be a signifier of love and lasting happiness.
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