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Friday, 29 April 2011
As everyone in the world knows, today there will be a Royal Wedding, and Kate and William will be the lucky couple. It would be churlish to not wish them well. Eyewear is hopelessly romantic about marriage, and believes that it is an institution well worth preserving. Love, too, needs no encomiums from me - its worth is much appreciated both here in England and abroad. What then, the problem? I suppose none, for the time being. It is better that the couple be married in public, in daylight, rather than elope at midnight. Their wedding is enchanting, and appealing, and, yes, romantic. However, the romance which arises naturally from the occasion is an off-shoot of the Fairytale. All weddings are predicated on magic and ritual - either the magic rituals of the priest who binds them, or the imaginative fancy of the secular participants. Even if Elvis is the ringmaster and the binder, there is magic. It is the magic of the Fairytale, and the tale in question ultimately involves a handsome prince, a bride plucked from nowhere, and a fabulous kingdom. Most weddings make do with what is on offer, but this time, the Royal Wedding actually does deliver the goods. It is the Ur-wedding, the storybook come to life. In this way, peasant stories revolve to their incarnation in the very oppressive system that engendered them in the first place - that is, the medieval superstitious mind is self-perpetuating - we are in awe of our own capacity to be humbled.
People want to dream big, and being small, want someone bigger, out there, to act large on the stage of dreams for them. Hence, gods, celebs, and royalty. The charms of this wedding are the charms of a gilded cage. In this case, a very wide cage, and one mainly benevolent. In the longer term, though, British society would do well to cast off its need for gongs and titles and an elite based on heredity - but so too should all other people in the world shrug off their own fantasies of superiority. We are hypocrites when we swoon for a royal wedding, and then bemoan taxation and wars we did not want. No kings without law, order, and collected gold.