Royal Wedding excitement abounds this week in London. The numbers attending the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace has more then tripled in the days leading up to the wedding. Streets are decorated with flags of the British Crown. The carriages, cars and horses to be used for the wedding are readied at the Royal Mews, the Royal transport facility. Pubs and restaurants are all preparing celebratory parties for the big event. Camera-toting news teams cruise the wedding parade route.
There are grumbling complaints from some that we are being inundated with news coverage of the Royal Wedding. Suffice it to say this dynamic is likely more than simply an insatiable appetite to live a little vicariously. News team “road trip” mentality is likely a driving force behind some of the coverage spectacle. This beautiful spring week is certainly a boondoggle perk for a number of reporters.
Genuine interest in the Wedding, both here and abroad, does indeed appear to be high. However, the international concentration goes beyond mere curiosity. Many will distinctly recall the tragic and untimely death of William’s mother Princess Diana. We watched him suffer as he walked stoically behind his mother’s casket. Many feared him to be the product of a dysfunctional union and all are aware of the pain he has endured, and at such a young age. William has been an innocent player in this soap opera that is royalty, one who has felt the consequences of the decisions made by his parents. That this so public an individual now finds love and happiness with a beautiful wife who understands him is the ultimate fairytale ending. The public is ready to rejoice and celebrate this union as William and Kate demonstrate hope for the future.
The fact that this “modern couple,” (the term often used to describe William and Kate, and that appears to be a euphemism for openly living together as a couple), are from different social classes makes this romance even all the more intriguing as they break with social class distinction and tradition. A monarchy existing within a democracy is a bit incongruous. There have however been English Kings and Queens for more than a thousand years, royalty who have gained their position primarily by accident of birth, Prince William being but one of the most recent examples. Historically inter-nobility marriage was used as a method of forming alliances among elite powers. These marriages were used to protect property and wealth. To suppose however, that love would remain confined to a small set of royal-blooded titled people has always been somewhat naïve.
There is of course no accounting for love or fate. Arranged marriages are of a bygone era. A prince marrying a commoner has never before happened in England, and the significance of this event, some would say, is a triumph of love. We are, after all, just people when it comes right down to it. These barriers of protocol have now toppled and that is likely a plus for the royal gene pool.
Fate, love and sheer luck of birth have come together giving rise to class and privilege for William and Kate. It will afford them the opportunity to have political as well as social influence. Prince William and his wife will be symbols of national unity. This role is a tremendous and daunting responsibility for the young couple. Let us not forget that the promotion of British culture and heritage is big business for that country’s tourism industry. For all intents and purposes this couple’s “official” role encompasses being spokes models for the British Nation and its people as well as the monarchy.
It is hard to disagree with the notion that if one desires to promote a county one would be hard pressed to find a more elegant and gracious couple with squeaky-clean backgrounds who are already both out there in the world striving to achieve philanthropic and humanitarian goals. Despite all the tragedy and dysfunction, William is far from the so-called prodigal son. He did not ask for this position; he could have turned his back on that responsibility but he has not. It must be a blessing for William’s grandmother to know that her grandson understands the weighty role before him and that he appreciates the country’s rich traditions. The public has heard only complimentary things about both these individuals. William and Kate’s ability to carry on with dignity and respect is a tribute to their parents and their families.
The apparent mutual ability of this couple to “take one for the team” so to speak and step up to their royal duties speaks volumes about their commitment and their character. As a married couple they may just make it and avoid the pitfalls of divorce. It is the inability to compromise that contributes to divorce. These two people have already demonstrated that they are ready and have the ability to compromise their lives to some degree. They will certainly relinquish a tremendous amount of privacy. They have already withstood a number of trials and tribulations together. Hope springs eternal that the respect and dignity they demonstrate for their cultural heritages is also always reflected in respect and dignity they hold towards one another.
Marriage can be quite difficult. It’s not all storybook, especially living with the fish bowl pressures of such a public life. The couple, like all married couples, will face numerous pressures, and childbirth will bring its challenges as well. Marriage is fluid and it will change over the years. They, like most married couples, will have to learn to tough it out and get past the unhappy times in order to continue with the marriage intact. They will need to work through the problems in their marriage towards a resolution. This couple like all other couples will need to devote time to their own relationship. They will need to spend quality time together and remain unafraid to work on their marriage. They must be willing to remain committed to the marriage even in tough times. So far, they have demonstrated that they have a very high level of commitment to one another and their county. Let the festivities and joyous occasion begin with all the pomp and circumstance befitting a modern royal couple.
Mary Ellen and Marshall W. Waller are husband and wife divorce attorneys from the United States. They share their perspectives and observations on the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton upon visiting Westminster Abby, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews in the days prior to the Royal Wedding.