Does Nov. 16, 2010, have any significance to you? What about April 29, 2011? If those two dates register zilch on the cultural compass in your brain, then you may be a happy member of the anti-royalist community.
The seconds on the countdown clock are rapidly turning faster than a regal trumpet can toot the fanfare, because it’s finally April and right now there are only 21 days left of ardent anticipation and condoned manic behavior.
Start drooling — the royal wedding is nearly upon us.
After the announcement Prince William had indeed found his princess, Kate Middleton, the world began to develop an outright obsessive ethos. Since Nov. 16, 2010, the couple’s every breath, every hiccup has captivated the world, and quite frankly, it’s nauseating.
With the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan, the indefatigable protests in the Middle East and the looming threat of Muammar Gaddafi, one would think news mongers and culture whores alike would gain some much-needed perspective and temporarily pause the royal gawking.
They proved me wrong.
The earthquake shifted the planet on its axis just enough for the earth to ramp up its spinning speed, subsequently shortening the day by 1.8 millionths of a second, according to Time magazine. Mother Nature reared in might, reminding us mere mortals of her strength, and yet, some are still counting the days, minutes and 1.8 millionths of a second until the royal circus commences.
I know, I know — this behavior is nothing new. When Princess Diana and Prince Charles married on July 29, 1981, a crop of 750 million TV viewers watched Diana and her 25-foot-long wedding dress train waltz down the aisle in the ultimate display of a real-world fairytale. Now with Prince William marrying a commoner — Middleton’s parents own a mail order shop that sells party favors for kids — the Disney-inspired fairy tale dream is even more quixotic.
But after the tragic, ugly divorce of Diana and Charles, why do we still care? For most of us, we have absolutely no connection to England or its monarchy, and with all the hidden controversy that was uncovered after the royal divorce and Diana’s death, why are romantics all over the world still obsessed with the façade of royal marriage?
Perhaps it’s the personification of the age-old fable that have so many flocking to Westminster Abbey for the royal procession, clutching with white knuckles to the rose-colored idea of a handsome prince charming existing somewhere in this realm, perhaps just a hop across the pond.
And, I’ll admit, after watching too many episodes of “Sex and the City” and possessing a generally sardonic attitude toward royal romance, I would identify myself as an anti-royalist, embroiled in my own credulity about the reality of this far-off fantasy called “true love.” But, even if you’ve taken a more wistful approach to the regal matrimony, it’s difficult to deny things have gotten slightly out of hand.
In addition to the throng of William and Kate hopefuls swarming Westminster Abbey for the weekend, businesses have capitalized on the business of royal marriage, which is unsurprisingly expected to offer a much-needed boost to Britain’s wheezing economy.
But beyond the commemorative tableware and look-a-like sapphire and diamond engagement rings offered on the Home Shopping Network, companies like GE are offering everything from a royal refrigerator with a towering image of William and Kate’s engagement photo embossed in the double steel doors, to Crown Jewels royal condoms.
Yes, the phrase, “lie back and think of England,” finally fits as a marketable slogan.
Apparently, each condom is packaged with William and Kate’s toothy mugs and the promise to those who use the royal rubbers that it embodies “the strength of a Prince and the yielding sensitivity of a Princess-to-be.”
But if refrigerators and condoms just aren’t your cup of English tea, author Fiona Goble is offering up a wholesome “Knit Your Own Royal Wedding” book — a how-to for constructing the entire Buckingham Palace posse in itsy-bitsy yarn form.
I still believe in fairy tales, there’s no denying it; but now, with the world literally crumbling in front of our eyes, in the clouds of Libya and on the cracked ground of Japan, how can we still care so much about the frivolity of royal matrimony?
Maybe it’s just a sweet distraction, and comforting for some to get lost in the fantasy — after all, we’re still bewitched by the Camelot myth of the Kennedys — but I think it’s time we remove our rose-colored glasses and snap out of the royal obsession. Or, at the very least, resist the temptation to knit a doll version of the Queen.
Ann Rivall ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in journalism. She would like to thank her dad for reading her fairy tales as a kid, and also for providing this week’s column inspiration.