After moving to London from the US, I thought living in London would be excitement enough. At the time (in 2008), I didn’t expect that we’d still be living here for the London 2012 Olympics—now we realize that we will—and I certainly wasn’t considering the possibility of perhaps one of the grandest occasions that England can pull out of its historic repertoire of tradition. For today’s A to Z Blogging Challenge entry:
“W” is for WILLIAM’S WESTMINSTER WEDDING!
I’m finally sucking it up and writing about it. Why the seeming reluctance? Only because I know if you live in the United States, you’ve been choking on Royal Wedding coverage for months now already. The excitement has only really first caught on here in England, it seems, in the most recent weeks. I’m finally noticing special Royal Wedding shows on now, watching them, and able to enjoy them because it hasn’t been forced down my throat like a duck being prepped for foie gras.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s a huge deal here, but the Brits are taking it remarkably in stride, in my opinion. And why not? This is steeped in their history. These are people who are able to walk by their authentic Tudor buildings, thatched roofs, and castles without batting an eyelash while we American expats still ogle such sites with awe. The BBC news has actually been reporting on US reporting, in fact, having a good giggle at how over-done the coverage has been across the pond, but I like to think that beneath that obligatory patronization, they’re genuinely flattered that their former colonies that once spurned the British monarchy are now dazzled by it, romanticizing royalty to fairytale proportions because we have no equivalent. Washington DC is about as sexy as Parliament…government is government, so we’re at a draw there, but Royalty…we can’t match that, no matter how much Hollywood celebrities think they do. What one might not fully realize until traveling or relocating to London is that the monarchy here is a tremendous symbol: it’s tradition, culture, pomp and ceremony. It’s a continuity that bridges this nation so closely to its past and renders Kings and Queens something more tangible and now rather than merely relegating them to history books and bedtime stories. If there’s one thing Britain is, it’s proud of its history and tradition, and when you live in London even as an expat, you won’t help but feel the same.
So this all being said, American expats who have or are just moving to London as of this week are caught up in the thrill of being part of this momentous occasion (unless, of course, they’re being smart and taking advantage of the 11-day vacation that can be scored by taking a mere 3 days off work this week thanks to 2 consecutive 4-day bank holidays…). It’s one thing to tour palaces and cathedrals to gawk at their opulence as preserved artifacts and quite another to behold them as working institutions that are hosting something as grand as a modern-day Prince marrying his beloved Princess. I think it goes without saying that the public is very fond of Prince William and Kate because of their modernity and down-to-earth quality that doesn’t seem to seek out the limelight. We shall see what happens…how successfully they’re able to maintain a real if not entirely “normal” marriage and family given their status of life in the fishbowl.
I thought about this today as I took a stroll through St. James’s Park to Westminster, reveling in the luxury of anonymity that Kate, once an average schmo like the rest of us, will never be able to do again. At any rate, I stepped out today to see the media frenzy itself, the other side of the camera lens, and excitedly caught glimpse of Barbara Walters, as well as Nancy O’Dell from Entertainment Tonight. As the photo here shows, the media are camped out right in front of Buckingham Palace talking about God-knows-what to fill the time until THE Wedding Day. Friday. 29 April 2011. What will you be doing?
We’re as yet undecided whether we’ll duke it out with the crowds on-site at Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, just hang at a local venue televising the event, or a combination of the two. I’d originally intended to list out the options for viewing the Royal Wedding in London in this post, but who am I kidding—I’d just be directly copying out of Time Out London anyway, so why not just give you the link to scope out for yourself: Royal Wedding Events (www.timeout.com/london/feature/965/royal-wedding-events-in-london)
However you celebrate William and Kate’s royal wedding, whether here in London or internationally, make sure you celebrate indeed, as it’s an event uniting the world that will both honor tradition and usher in modernity. Speaking as one American expat that’s made the London relocation, it’s fascinating to be here as English tradition reinvents itself time and again.