Now that I've returned to Palo Alto its time to sum up my experience of royal wedding fever in London and seek to make some sense of it.
I have now laid my own eyes on the queen, seen the dress and the bride, eyed the princes, mingled in the exuberant crowds, talked to dozens of interesting participants and been sandwiched in frontof Buckingham Palace for the balcony scene.
Here are my observations.
OK, Sorry grouches, Sorry cynics,
Yes, I know, I know, of course you are right, yes I realize all this, YET…
This was a day of genuine communal joy and good spirits
which no one who was there could deny
The spirit was togetherness,elation, good wishes toward all.
Let's just say "All was well in the world" as London threw itself a massive, exuberant, grand street party. The guest list was the world, all of whom seemed delighted to be there. Good will flowed abundantly in the festive atmosphere
The night before the wedding, people set up tents.
The streets became filled, then overflowing with ordinary people from around the globe. There were oldsters, children and everything in between,lots of families and group of friends. I saw Indians, Japanese, Aficans, Germans, Aukies, people from the midlands.
All sharing excitement joy, hope and contagious enthusiasm.
I was surrounded by smiles and laughter, friendliness, affection. The delightful warmth was washing over me, like a pleasant lake, tickling my toes, inviting me to come in further. People waved greetings, asked me how I was. I was walking around by myself but didn't feel alone. Did I know these people somehow?
We were set within the backdrop of exquisite London, the beautiful city of old and new, the heart of our collective imagination, the classic, elegant architecture and the grand historic Mall. It was impossible not to be affected and moved by the beauty of all these elements.
Then, the precise performance of six military bands, the blaring of trumpets, the perfectly timed clicks of horses hooves, the polite policeman quietly keeping order, the sun beaming, all so perfectly executed, so carefully executed with evident pride.
This crowd were not passive participants, they laughed heartily at the antics and costumes of each other, they applauded the marching bands, they enthusiastically cheered the procession, they sang loudly with great spirit during the service, they fell to complete respectful silence as the couple spoke their vows, then rancorous cheering and yelling of good wishes, then the peeling of bells ringing through the streets.
Any wedding is a happy event, the best ones are inspiring and uplifting, as this one certainly was. This wedding seemed to embody and reflect many emotional matters, primarily related to connection.
Like all weddings, this wedding was about connecting two people and their two families. This wedding also connected people from around the world with each other. It brought people together literally and figuratively. This wedding linked the history of Englands' past to its present and to its future. This wedding helped reconnect the British people to their country and rekindled their pride about what their country does so well. They may have lost the empire, but no one in the world does THIS better. This wedding both reflected and reduced class distinctions in British society. This may mean little to Americans but is a powerful change in the social fabric of England, which is forever altered.
This wedding blended rich pageantry rooted in ancient history with two modern people who were strong enough to assert their individuality within this massive historic spectacle. The couple very
intentionally crafted this event to fit their own preferences and personalities and they discarded stuffy protocol, and in so doing updated the old monarchy, enhancing its connection to present life.
This wedding was also very much connected to the deceased Dianna. This link was felt by people around the world as well as of course, by her family, who evoked her image repeatedly. Diana's spirit was felt everywhere in London and for the first time since her death, she was publicly mourned and remembered again en mass. Dianna's spirit is connected to this marriage and is secured in the future of the country too, as William's wife will be wearing Diana's ring when she one day becomes the queen. One man told me he felt the British people could now end their grieving period for Dianna, now move on knowing that Dianna's son will carry on her legacy not only into his own life but also into the future for the people too. Her burial at Althorp seemed too removed. The "People's Princess" can be felt to reside within the present and future monarchy. The headline the day before the wedding in "The Sun" read "Mum would be so proud". a sentiment widely shared.
My conclusion from witnessing royal wedding fever is simply that the unity and positivity present can only be a force of goodness.
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