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Up early, with a cup of tea, to watch the Royal Wedding

If you read my column regularly, this won’t come as a big surprise. However, just to make sure you know from the start, I am what is called an “Anglophile.” That’s not a word I like that much. It makes me sound as if I have some sort of untreatable, even rather ominous sounding psychological disorder. Which, in spite of what you may think of my column, I don’t.

Rather, it means I like things that are British. That’s a function of several factors. I enjoy English literature, always have. I read British history and my family has strong British connections. I also had a very

enjoyable time living in Scotland many years ago. This makes it a given that next week, hours before dawn breaks on the East Coast of the United States, I will (extra strong, double brewed cup of tea in hand) be watching the Royal Wedding.

Of course, lest you think otherwise, first and foremost, I am an American. I harbor no secret desire, like some Revolutionary War Era Tory, to go back to the good old days of a monarchy. We fought a revolution, won it, and have a form of government, without a King or Queen, that’s worked remarkably well for 235 years. But for some reason I can’t entirely put my finger on, the goings on of the British Royal Family have always held a certain fascination for me. Maybe it’s all the history they represent, or, perhaps, maybe it’s something as simple as their own humanity.

Though the budget for the Royal Wedding has been scaled back the event will still be a mastery of ceremony and pageantry. No one in the world excels at putting on a state ceremony, with all its pomp and grandeur, like the British. I once attended a British Army Battalion Change of Command ceremony. Though on a smaller scale, the precision, the ceremony, and all the practice that went seemed to rival a Presidential Inauguration. Take that and consider that this is the marriage of an heir to the throne and you’ve got an idea of what to expect this Friday.

However, the thing to remember about a royal wedding is that for all the resplendent uniforms, the ceremony and the trumpets, not to mention the millions who will be watching it all on TV, the day is still about a wedding. Two rather decent young people will be tying the knot. Of course, unlike the thousands of other people who will be married on Friday, Kate and William will be married by the Archbishop of Canterbury and will be watched by a worldwide TV audience.

How anyone can remain normal after all that is beyond me. But perhaps that’s part of the attraction. The British Royal Family is just that, it’s a family. It’s occasionally dysfunctional, it has its tragedies and according to some, day-to-day family life in the Royal family can be as dull as any other family. And, while they no longer have much in the way of practical governmental authority, they still provide the head of state to one of the most storied nations on the planet.

I admit that’s a lot of baggage for two young people on their wedding day. But, arguably, they’re used to it by now. However, perhaps, most compelling about the event, is that in a world that has recently seen more than its share of problems, something reliable, steady, and colorful is a welcome distraction.


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