Monday, 2 May 2011

Ordinary People

I promised that my next post would cover the Royal Wedding. Rather than disappoint you, I will deliver on my promise.

Here in London the magic was palpable that day. For the first time in several days the air was clear and cool. There was a cloudy sky, the first in weeks that morning, and the high pollen count had abated somewhat. Consequently for the thousands who descended on central London to catch a glimpse of the wedding party the atmosphere was very British - very Wimbledon - very amenable.

For me, a hayfever sufferer, the day could not have been more pleasant. Watching the wedding from home and then the gym, enjoying the company of my neighbours at the Royal Wedding garden party, feeling united with my English brethren in a proud and historic celebration of love, community, majesty and family.

But in hindsight I think the truly amazing thing about the event - and indeed - perhaps the reason for my malaise over the next three days - was the almost story book quality of perfection around the occasion (not unlike my own wedding day...). Everything was just lovely.

For me, the fact that someone really quite ordinary snared the future king of England is though, one of the most profound aspects of this happy tale. And by "ordinary" I do not mean "common" as the British press and establishment love to call her. Nor do I mean to be disparaging - for ordinary is truly what most of us are.

No - the really wonderful thing is that unlike so many elements of monarchy, this wedding seemed charmingly democratic and accessible. Kate, by all accounts, is a sensible and poised woman. Unlike some pundits and posters who have comments to make about make-up and social climbing, her weight and her hair, I really can find nothing to criticise her for. Isn't she the sort of girl one would have been friends with? The sort of girl one would like one's daughter to be? A nice, ordinary, straight forward, committed, dedicated, sweet person?

Ok, so those qualities may not be entirely "ordinary", after all, but I can't help wishing and hoping that they were or could be.

But the magic lies in the fact that this young couple are so discreet and polite and measured. Unlike the B and C grade celebrities (and A as well, let's be honest) that festoon the headlines most weeks, there is no controversy, no tawdry gossip, no drugs or indiscretions.

While they may be royalty the very fact that she shops on the high streets and does her own make-up and that he plays a little bit of football in the public park on the eve of his wedding, makes this couple, this very famous  duo, breathtakingly regular and indeed - ordinary. She has worn the same thing more than once for the cameras!

This is not to say that their lives are ordinary, by any means. Nor is it to suggest that any ordinary Joe or Jane could or would swap places with them and assume their roles with even an iota of the dignity and aplomb with which they seem to carry off every public appearance.

All I mean is that it is refreshing and a little bit magical to witness a commitment and love outside one's circle of ordinary people that is just so nice and normal (despite the guest list and the budget for the wedding, the helicopter pickup the next day and the titles...).

The other thing that is so lovely and fresh, in this age where everyone has a website, a blog, a point of view, and in which so many mediocre and extraordinarily damaged and strange people harbour a yearning for fame and fortune, notoriety or celebrity, is that this couple to date has really said very little.

So yes, less is more. Silence is golden.

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