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7.00 am: my alarm beeps. I fall out of bed and begin to grope my way towards the shower, when my sister (who has presumably heard me stumble into the bedside table and yelp in pain) calls me into the living room. I arrive just in time to see Kate Middleton step out of the big black car and begin the long walk up the aisle of Westminster Abbey.
Let me make my position clear. As a republican, and as a feminist who remains undecided about the institution of marriage, the Royal Wedding was never going to be a highlight in my social calendar. This being said, it would be dishonest not to confess that I just couldn’t tear myself away from the screen.
Partly it was the sheer scale. Nobody does pomp like the Brits, and the BBC videography certainly showed off the ceremony to full effect, with spiralling shots of Westminster Abbey’s nave taken from a camera way up in the rafters. Then there were the hordes – apparently over a million – of well-wishers lining the roads, many of whom had camped out on the streets of London the previous night to secure their spot. It was a truly spectacular piece of theatre.
What took me most by surprise was the extent to which I empathised with the bride. She and I have very little in common, apart from our shared status as commoners, but I felt (oddly) like less of a spectator and more like a participator in this event: nervous on her behalf and relieved when it was all over.
I am assured by my sports-nut friends that this weird proxy excitement is akin to what a fan experiences when watching a game. And the sporting metaphor has certainly been deployed pretty freely in coverage of the Royal Wedding – all this talk of ‘Waity Katie’ finally ‘bagging’/ ‘catching’/ ‘snagging’ her man. But then I suppose hunting/shooting/fishing jokes are pretty fair game given the pedigree of the couple in question.
It’s been hard to gauge the reaction here in Bermuda. At the last count a mere twelve people had signed the well-wisher book at the State House. On the other hand, the comments on Bernews’ Facebook page suggest that a fair number of Bermudians tuned in to watch the proceedings. Certainly, Bermuda’s enthusiasm appears muted when contrasted with that in St. Helena, another British Overseas Territory: today a large float with a replica royal coach paraded through Jamestown ‘to celebrate their […] heartfelt joy for the royal couple’ (BBC News website).
In Bermuda, by contrast, Premier Paula Cox has attracted criticism for attending the wedding at a time of great economic and social tension. This is, I think, unfair – as our head of state it seems fitting that she represent Bermuda at this event of political and diplomatic importance. But the wedding has inevitably raised questions about the ever-delicate relationship between Bermuda and the U.K.
On a lighter note, here’s my pick of the best royal wedding web content. From the sublime to the ridiculous, here goes:
The royal honeymoon destination has been the subject of intense speculation. Could they be headed for the Bermuda Triangle?
This T-Mobile video uses a bunch of royal look-alikes to imagine the wedding as…well, see for yourself:
This man has just had enough of everything William and Kate and isn’t ashamed to rant about it:
Who wouldn’t want their pizza decorated with the happy couple’s faces?
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