Go ahead and enjoy the royal wedding: It’s not a fairy tale — but it is perfect | Spanlish


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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Go ahead and enjoy the royal wedding: It’s not a fairy tale — but it is perfect

Getty/Chris Jackson

Getty/Chris Jackson

Yes, I know that monarchies are "outdated, feudal, aristocratic & anti-democratic." Yes, I understand that money spent on carriages could be spent on other things. And I am acutely aware that everything is on fire. Which is precisely why I'm going to need you to shut your damn mouth if you come to disparage the royal wedding. Shhhhhhhhhh. Did you know there will be Spice Girls? I said shhhhhhhhhhh.

I am predisposed to revel deeply in this sort of thing. I've been setting my alarms to watch English weddings since Diana Spencer donned eight thousand pounds of prom dress taffeta to tie the knot to Prince Charles back in 1981, and I have my own unfortunate, youthful Lady Di-haircut photos to prove it. I can regale you, even now, with a great many strong opinions about Fergie's 1986 Filene's Basement-style wedding gown and the way she flubbed Prince Andrew's name. I even showed up for Edward's 1999 wedding and nobody cared about that one. My only regret about my upcoming trip to London this fall is that I'll be too late for the fanfare around Princess Eugenie's wedding and what her squid hat sister will wear for it.

So if you want to know if I am here for all the hot takes on what color nail polish Meghan Markle will be wearing when Harry slips that band of gold on her finger, I one-thousand-percent am. Because more than with any other tiara-laden wagon hitching of the past few decades, I think a lot of us really need this one in particular.

From the very start, the relationship between the grandson of the queen and a divorced, biracial American actress sparked an unprecedented amount of curiosity and interest — both positive and ugly. For many, the official sanctioning of their love — along with their shared passion for activism — has been a symbol of the modernization of the monarchy. It has also brought out the worst from the notoriously vicious British tabloids and their mouth-breathing readers.

In 2016, the royal family took the unprecedented step of issuing a statement on the "media interest," noting "a smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments" and reminding, "This is not a game — it is her life and his."

But the trolls couldn't stand in their way. A little over a year later, the palace announced an official engagement, followed shortly after by the least stuffy, most authentically romantic engagement pictures in the family's history. Did you see Meghan's flawless HEY GIRL wave and white coat? Did you see the official photo sesh, when the duo looked like the cover of a romance novel by Jane Villanueva? It's like we're living in "The Crown," only not depressing. But this marriage isn't just the pairing of two rich, good-looking people to make more aristocrats.

Harry and Meghan disrupt tradition

A look at the new, modern monarchy.

In addition to being rich and good-looking, Meghan and Harry also happen to appear to be two authentically in love, genuinely decent humans. Their charisma, like that of William and Kate and Barack and Michelle, is heightened by their apparently sincere delight in each other and pleasure in doing service in the world. As Jessica Wakeman points out, Markle has already earned "many achievements and considerable accomplishments before adding HRH to her name." 

Now, among their famous and newsworthy guests attending the wedding, the couple have also invited 1,200 members of the public — including charity workers, community leaders and survivors of last year's bombing in Manchester. The Palace explains that "Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle have said they want their wedding day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too. This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters and values of the bride and groom.”

"When Harry met Meghan it was clear from square one, bang. It was what the French call a coup de foudre," explains Leslie Carroll, author of "American Princess: The Love Story of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry."

"But while there was combustible chemistry," Carroll notes, "they connected on humanitarian issues, and they talked into the night on what was important to them."

The princes and in-law Kate, for example, have taken up the cause of mental health awareness with their Heads Together initiative. According to Carroll, both Harry and Meghan had mothers who were kind and compassionate and raised them, from the time they were grade school age, taking them to homeless shelters and soup kitchens and to developing nations. "[They were] showing them that there are people who have less than you do, whether you grow up in the San Fernando Valley or whether you grow up in Kensington Palace." You know what's beautiful? The active, consistent practice of love and kindness. An example of the joy of active service.

"What they care about is what the world cares about," says Carroll. "Their youth and energy and vitality and genuine compassion is something that the next generation or two will really care about in the commonwealth. They don't care about the ermine and the tiaras. They care about the royals who are going to roll up their sleeves and get involved. . . . The monarchy has been the glue that has held Great Britain together as a a people for the last one thousand plus years."

So now that the big day is upon us, my alarm is once again set for an ungodly hour to endure breathless punditry on how quickly a woman can get pregnant — even if my own daughters are determined to sleep in — and I am grateful for it. Because you know what I am definitely not alone in being starved for? Media coverage of things that don't make me desperately scared and sad and angry.

Of course, others take a different view. Letter writers to The Independent complain that "Someone from the privileged classes is getting married so let’s all smile as we watch people wandering in front of the cameras at Nottingham Cottage for their two seconds of fame." Social media doesn't lack for people remarking on the "stupid" wedding when there is so much else "happening in the world." I'm going to let you in on a little secret — you can care about more than one thing. You can be calling your elected officials every day AND also like pretty dresses. If weddings aren't your thing, that's cool, but that doesn't make you a smarter or better person than someone who likes seeing, every few years, somebody get to ride off in a carriage.

I watch Meghan and Harry for the same reason I was addicted to the Winter Olympics, for the same reason I live for the Oscars — because there's no shame in giving attention to things that aren't horrific. Our indefatigable news cycle has long meant that we can consume our tragedy and outrage pellets with clockwork regularity. But the past two years have been been that particular deluge on speed. Do you ever have days where you get to 6 p.m. and so much has happened, you can't even remember what in the world was freaking you out just that morning? I do! Do you send your children off to school and pray they won't be murdered? I did, on Friday, hours before a school shooting in Texas.

In the darkest moments of history, we need light and joy and hope. A steady diet of nothing but distress is unsustainable, and if there is a story out there that includes somebody holding an award or a baby or the beloved hand of a new spouse, sign me up. We all know that fairy tales aren't real. Nobody's asking for happily ever after. But happy, right now for a little bit, is a gift. And that would be supremely wasteful to ignore.

Source: Go ahead and enjoy the royal wedding: It’s not a fairy tale — but it is perfect

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