|Wills, Kate and Prince Charles|
It’s 3am here in California. In London at this hour at Westminster Abbey, with its majestic fanned and vaulted ceiling, Wills and Kate are gettin’ hitched, as they say in some of our southern climes here in the States. World leaders with a direct connection to the House of Windsor have traveled far and wide to pay their respects, streaming into the great church by the gaggle, sans Obama or other non-monarch leaders, though Prime Minister Cameron and his wife (without the requested hat – the horror!) were in attendance. Hundreds of thousands of well-wishers are lining the streets to pay their respect. All told, an estimated one million Britons were out celebrating their favorite son Will and Kate’s big, er, grand day.
Grand hymns are being sung. Bells are being rung. 2.5 million tweats (so far) were being twung, er, tweated for wedding wishes. Traditions and courtly strictures are being adhered to or continued and passed down to the next generation. A monarch has participated in coronation, or wedding, or burial at Westminster Abbey (which took 100 years to complete) since the 1200s.
And, that in and of itself is a grand thing (a grand thing is one step better than Martha Stewart). I'm speaking of tradition. Today was England and its Union Jack and English lilt or cockney accent and the many nationalities that once represented the many nations of the United Kingdom, where it was said that the sun would never set upon the Empire. Britannia might not remain in a former glory, but, Britain is still grand, and all of its wonderful colors and traditions and peoples with their wonderfully different accents all beamed with national pride today.
Having a common grand tradition allows for the individual differences to be appreciated … as long as the exception doesn’t overtake the rule. And, in the West, with our political notions of correctness, that isolationistic, hyperfocus on one’s “home” culture can and will lead to a degradation of the national pride. Be it British or American or French or German or Ghanaian or Fijian. Adopting and fitting in when one emigrates to another culture because of economic reasons is the takeaway here. One is not better, but the new overall national culture should have primacy. Your culture is still grand, but the national culture needs to be respected, with its idiosyncrasies passed along to your brood born here, wherever the new "here" is.
The union of Prince William and his bride Catherine, now Duchess of Cambridge, is a stately affair to be sure. But, they did their best to remove the commercial impulse of the British press. No untoward media blitz was allowed for any media participating and receiving the live feed from some 60 cameras along the procession route and inside the church. It was remarkable to watch E! from London, with a few Yank reporters tossed into the mix, with nary a commercial. I loved it, and it helped me stay awake until 5am.
Will and his brother Harry have never warmed to the press after the treatment of their mother and the media’s complicit participation in her accident and death. And, it showed great character for Will and his bride to open up their ceremony to almost 2 billion people from around the world, from every continent, evincing to many a modern sensibility on the traditional monarchy. They said, sure, you can cover our wedding, just don’t muck it up.
The wedding of Kate and Wills is truly a world event, even if it went against my every grain to watch it. But, as I said, it’s good for the British culture as well as their economy. When the engagement and wedding was announced, Prime Minister Cameron was said to be quite pleased for some good news because of the bump to the British economy of over 700 million pounds. In America, the wedding industry on the whole drums up roughly $75 billion annually, with an average wedding costing about $24k. Weddings in America are big business. But, it was a welcomed respite to see Will and Kate remove the big business impulse of US and UK media from their ... grand wedding.