We have two Royal events going on in London today. The first event is the pomp and ceremony involved in showing off the United Kingdoms constitution, showing off relationships with individuals like Elton John, and showing that it is possible to sing like you are drinking the hymn through a straw, Nick Clegg. The second event is a personal one between Prince William and the now Princess Kate. The media are so intent on getting the right video angle, the right commentary, or the right picture that it has become eclipsed. You do get glimpses however. Harry's cheeky grins, 'You look beautiful', the squishing on of the ring (and the awful moment when I thought it wouldn't fit), and the gentle smile between Wills and Kate during the 'speeches' in the Abbey.
|The couple, as they leave the Abbey|
Despite all the glamor, gold and forced godliness, the whole thing didn't do the couple justice. The political atmosphere may not have been palpable, but it was the driving force. Today's service is seen in Whitehall as an opportunity for the UK to show off to other heads of state..."look at all the gold shit we have". It has, no doubt, been a strong bargaining tool in the Foreign Office's arsenal since the day the wedding was announced. At home, however, it has had even more political motivation. The country is depressed, and suffering from the recession. A big day like this is intended to encourage solidarity, national pride, and therefore overall well being. If the big day succeeds in achieving this, it only succeeds in so far as one who runs away from their problems succeeds in solving them. Once the euphoria has passed, we find ourselves in the same situation, but with a cost to the economy totalling up to £5bn.
There is yet another political angle...one of Royal politics. The Royals simply do not enjoy as much public support as they once did. They are seen as an unnecessary cost to the tax payer, especially in such strained times. Anyone who has studied Constitutional law will realise this is the view of the ignorant. Anyone who has studied political history will realise that the legacy left by the Royal family is one that can help us from making the same mistakes again.
|Happy and smiling...|
It is often said that Queen Elizabeth II is the last of the great monarchs. Future monarchs will not benefit from the upbringing that she had that has tooled her up with the ability to maintain a Queen-like dignity even under the most stressful situations. Future monarchs will be more emotional, make more mistakes, and generally be more like normal people. The service today is an attempt to retain the image of the great monarchy in its dying days, but it was just a smokescreen. Actually today was a missed opportunity to allow Kate and Wills the wedding they probably wanted, and the wedding most appropriate to our tight financial times.
Our monarchy will always exist, and will be strengthened by building closer ties with the British people. Changing the way they are funded, engaging more with 'normal' people, and giving them an increased element of choice over their lifestyles will be the successful methods of building the relationship with the public. Lavish weddings are great fun, fascinating, and do make people feel happy, but they are a short term treatment, and not a long term cure.
|The Mall as the carriage |
makes its way to the Palace
Having disposed with the topic of the Royals themselves, i want to talk about the way the day was Policed. Everyone was hoping for an incident free day, but most people will have had a feeling of dread that terrorists of some description would seize on the opportunity. Its a testament to the quality of the police commanders and the security services. There is no doubt in my mind that had there been any weaknesses in the police operation, they would have been exploited. An almost incident free day is something to be proud of.
Not only is it an example of great police leadership, its an example of how we police a peaceful crowd. Today there was no need to employ any invasive tactics such as kettling, nor were there any aggressive police movements. This was not because of the nature of the event, or the type of police officers used, it was because of the behaviour of the crowd. It demonstrates that the police respond to the situation they are faced with...where there is violence, the police will respond in a robust manner. Where the public is being peaceful, police respond in kind.
The moral of the story is...don't behave like morons. Today, apparently, the morons kept away,
|Leaving the Abbey|
|A lot of hand holding done during the service|
|Bad picture i know!|
|On the steps of the Abbey|
|Getting into the carriage|
|In the carriage|
|Another one in the carriage|
|Wills responding to a salute on Horse Guards Parade|
|The lovely Pippa|
|Another of the lovely Pippa|
|Returning to the palace|
|First step on Royal property for the new royal|
|My favourite...entering the palace|