“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married at Westminster Abbey today.
Members of The Royal Family including Her Majesty The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended the service at the Abbey, along with around 1,900 guests.”
There can be few who were unaware of the Royal Wedding today between Prince William and Kate Middleton (now the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge); indeed, over 24 million people in the UK tuned in to watch the ceremony itself, with more than 30 million reported to have watched some of the proceedings throughout the day; not forgetting the estimated crowd of over 1 million who lined the streets in London (am I the only one who, upon seeing the crowds filling The Mall, thought “I wonder how many hours it’ll take them to get out of there afterwards”?). Some reports claim that an estimated 1 billion people round the world will have watched some part of the proceedings.
So I’m not going to comment upon what happened at the event itself, if you had even the remotest interest in that they you’ll have seen it on the TV or in the papers or on the web or heard it on the radio or…
Instead, I got to thinking about the day and its impact on us all – I really do feel that at least in the UK it has had a positive effect upon all of us in some way, whether we like it or not. And I honestly believe that effect is an overall positive one (even if it has made me feel old – I saw an advert for one of the channels covering The Wedding a few days ago and I suddenly though, when seeing Prince William, “But I remember watching your Mum and Dad getting married! Oh, I feel old…”
But the day itself, watched all around the world, really was a fantastic advertisement for the UK as a whole. It showed that whatever else has happened, Britain can still lead the world in pomp and ceremony and, when you get right down to it, we sure know how to put on a good show! Mind you, we’ve had centuries of practice and with over a thousand years‘ worth of history and tradition to draw upon as a backdrop, that all helps. (I reckon it bodes well for the Olympics next year too). It was interesting to see that immediately after the Wedding, the #proudtobebritish hashtag was trending worldwide on Twitter. Martin Lewis (he of http://www.moneysavingexpert.com fame) notes that he and some colleagues at a US TV station calculated how much it would have cost to provide a 10 hour advert promoting the UK on US TV, and they reckoned it would have cost in excess of US$1billion. That’s a lot of free advertising! There can be little doubt that the event will have sparked an increased interest in Britain and the UK both as a tourist destination and as a brand, which will have a positive knock-on effect in terms of increased revenue coming in to the country, something we definitely need right now!
For those of us in the UK itself, the day undoubtedly provided a source of enjoyment for huge swathes of people of many different persuasions –
- The Royalists, who were obviously happy with the entire occasion;
- Those who may not be royalist or who may not have any real interest in the Royal Family, but who grabbed the chance to get into the spirit of the day and enjoy the campery to full effect, with street parties, bunting, Victoria Sponge cakes, Cucumber Sandwiches, whatever it took to have a fun day;
- The young children for whom seeing a real live Prince and Princess actually marry was utterly magical and beyond excitement itself;
- The grumbling cynics who are never happy unless they are cynically grumbling, who were in their element!
So when you think about it, the Wedding did, indeed, bring happiness to pretty much everyone, which is a neat trick. Especially as the Wedding itself was not paid for by us. Yes, that’s right, we contributed nothing this year toward the cost of The Wedding.
Then there’s the most important people, the happy couple themselves. And didn’t they look absolutely happy? Clearly a couple very much in love with each other, enjoying their special day which they just happened to be sharing with millions (or billions, depending on which figures you accept). It’s all to easy to get caught up in the pageantry, the pomp, the splendour, and to forget that at the heart of all of this are two people, two humans, deeply in love, pledging their lives to one another.
Good luck to you both, and good luck to all couples everywhere, be they married, civilly partnered, co-habiting or just meeting for the first time embarking upon a live of exploration and wonder ahead of them.