by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s Note. To get into the right and proper mood for this article, search any search engine for Sir William Walton’s resounding “Crown Imperial.” (Click the link to listen whilst you read, will open in a new window) This was the music Their Royal Highnesses heard as they walked the Westminster Abbey red carpet to their future subjects, the cynosure of every eye. Walton was the perfect choice… you’ll see.
The State Landau, smart and polished had just driven up to the gate where the newly minted, newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were waiting. The woman who started the day as Kate Middleton, turned to her new husband and said the magic words, so telling because we all felt the sentiment before she even uttered it. “I am so happy,” she whispered to her prince, truly charming and a bit abashed by his position this day and perhaps thinking, “Waiting was worth it. I am truly marrying the woman I adore… and everyone is so glad about it. And I do believe she loves me for myself.”
The pageantry and ceremony in general.
In the 19th century, the British and their monarchy were a byword for sloppy, disorganized, and often dangerous royal ceremonies. The person who was most instrumental in changing matters was Queen Victoria’s “beautiful” (her word) hunk the German princeling Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. From his time at Court in the mid-1800s things got better, slowly but surely, as I detail in my book “Insubstantial Pageant: Ceremony and Confusion at Queen Victoria’s Court (1979). By the early 20th century the overall reality of ceremonial muddle had been replaced by a professional approach to showcasing the monarch to his people. The British are now justly renowned worldwide for the flawless pageants that punctuate each sovereign’s reign and present him to his subjects and the world just the way he wishes.
The now traditional and punctilious pageantry we expect was very much on display on Friday, April 29, 2011. It was a joy to watch the aspects emerge… particularly given the fact that this event operated under peculiar circumstances… the inevitable, could-never-be-avoided comparisons to the pageantry and circumstances of the marriage 30 years before between Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. The marriage and ceremonial arrangements of Diana, Princess of Wales’ elder son and his beautiful Kate had to be considered carefully so that all of the inevitable comparisons tilted in favor of the soon-to-be Cambridges… as they most surely did.
Princess Diana’s marriage to the heir to “this throne of kings, this England”, Prince Charles was an affair of the highest state; after all the groom was the heir to the imperium. In retrospect, what seemed so beguiling at the time appears as more an event than a marriage. Splendor (and perfect coordination) was there… love and affection were not. It was an omen for the tragedy which followed, besmirching the reputation of Prince Charles and ending in Princess Diana’s sad demise.
Both of Princess Diana’s sons, groom Prince William and justly concerned younger son Prince Harry were clear on what they wanted… a real marriage, a real wedding, true and heartfelt feelings all round.
There is no question but that they got what they wanted… which was a decided relief to the British nation and its Commonwealth… and its Queen, Elizabeth II, who arrived back at Buckingham Palace after the marriage ceremony and proclaimed the day’s events “amazing.” And so they were…
The Married Couple.
After the cynical, loveless marriage of the groom’s mother Princess Diana, the nation and body language experts were on the qui vive for “the truth” about this couple, their wedding, and whether it confirmed (or challenged) the good feelings they had about Wills and Kate, and their pivotal role in establishing just the right reality (not merely image) that will allow the monarchy to flourish after the many crises of the current Royal Family, particularly the much married, much divorced children of Queen Elizabeth, a tawdry, shopworn crew.
April 29th delivered what everyone wanted: a grounded, affectionate, sincerely attached couple, people who are what they seemed to be, not a scandal waiting to happen.
Kate’s gown was the first clue. Lady Diana’s overdone gown made her look like a confectioner’s bride. Who’s idea was the taffeta anyway? But Kate, chic Kate, delivered exactly what one would have wanted for one’s own family wedding: a form-fitting dress that breathed classic good taste, undeniable (though understated) elegance. It is the dress of a lady of taste, breeding, good judgement, and, so very visible, care, every one a desirable trait for her future job as one-who-may-be Queen Consort.
The little clues so beloved of commentators and would-be cognoscenti began to stack up:
* The interaction between Princes William and Harry indicated just how close they are; they needed to be given the scandal and tragedy of their parents’ relations. Harry, for all that he’s a known wise-acre, will be lonely now; Wills has other things to do which, even with the best will on earth, will limit time with Harry.
* The way he looked at his bride for the first time in her riveting marriage attire… and said, quite simply, “You look so beautiful.” And so she did… and what every bride longs to hear, the compliment based on affection, awe, and a dawning awareness that he is really getting married, and to the person he has always wanted.
* The body language. As all the world knows, these two people took some eight years to get acquainted, know each other, argue and make up with each other, and love each other. The time they wisely took enabled them to become and be a couple, then yesterday, a married couple. They move together well; I was interested to see how they left the Abbey, hand in hand, the new Duke of Cambridge putting down the heel of one shoe on the toe of the other, so as not to hurry his duchess in her gown and (not too long) train.
Mad for Kate.
I have long been a Kate Middleton admirer; I thought she had just the right traits of heart and mind to be a truly helpful, loving partner to her prince, the better enabling him to do the important work he must do to transform and improve the monarchy in a world of relentless change. After yesterday, my already substantial admiration has substantially increased. She played her part faultlessly and, more than that, with her new husband’s complete concurrence they turned their marriage from an event of monarchy and nation into a true wedding, dedicated to each other and their friends and family, including their great nation.
Everything was done well, thus delivering just what everyone wanted: two deeply devoted people with a great task, historic task before them, ready now together ready to do the best we well know them capable of.
And so the newest Royal Duke is now His Royal Highness of Cambridge, the old shire, not the University and Kate gets what the Duchess of Windsor could only long for, the coveted letters HRH. True, of the many new Royal Dukes of Cambridge since the 17th century, not one has been notable for anything other than his capacity for strong drink and wrong women and oodles of FitzCambridge children, royal byblows. Queen Victoria always had trouble with the Cambridges of her day, but from these self-same Cambridges came a pillar of the dynasty. That pillar was Queen Mary, Elizabeth II’s dutiful, God fearing, monarchy reverencing grandmother… may our new duchess find such traits in herself. God Save the Queen (to be) and may she remain happy and glorious!
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses.
Dr. Lant is also a recognized royal expert and historian having penned 18 best-selling business books.
Watch for his online televised interviews about the Royal Wedding of William and Kate.
Republished with author’s permission by Graham Lee – The Income Zone
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