If, like me, you also have not received a personal royal invitation – yet (we live in hope) – don’t despair. Being physically in London on Will and Kate’s (Big Society permits informality) big day does not really matter. It’s not sour grapes. Those who are married know what I mean. Whether one is a royal or a commoner, on the day of one’s nuptials, one has eyes only for the spouse-to-be.
The important thing is to realize that this is a historic day and that the country needs us. On this occasion we are not expected to sacrifice much; in fact all we have to do is enjoy ourselves. And we have permission to do so by no less than our ‘blue-blooded’ Prime Minister. David Cameron, a great, great, great, great, great grandson of William IV, is waging a crusade against local council bureaucrats who are proving to be such fun spoilers by refusing to issue permission for street parties. Some people never learn!
No need to despair though. As befits these hard times, Cameron is leading by example; a party will be held in Downing Street on the wedding day. Cameron, his wife Samantha (another distant royal, by the way) and their important though less august neighbours are unlikely to be present at all times at their street party, but if you have a pass (I am afraid, this insignificant rule applies even if you are Sir Humphrey) you are guaranteed to have a fabulous time, if only by waving to enthusiastic tourists pressing their faces and cameras against the gates for days mistaking Prime Minister Cameron for President Blair.
If you happen to be overseas on the majestic day make sure you always hold or wear (attire is optional depending on weather and cultural mores of the country you are in) the Union Jack with pride. If you are on the other side of the pond, you can afford to be off guard from any provocateur who will try to spoil our fun. We surely have the Americans under control since we dispatched Piers Morgan, our answer to anyone who has the cheek to say that Britain hasn’t got talent. Morgan did us proud, when he exposed Jerry Seinfeld’s true nature by dabbing him ‘jealous’ for branding the royal wedding a ‘circus’ and simply a ‘dress-up’. ‘He’s just jealous because he doesn’t have a royal family in this country. He wants one,’ concluded Morgan, with the sharp wit of a TV talent show judge. Whether republican America has the appetite for an undemocratic institution is something that only Piers can answer. But we should not be judging our Piers harshly; the boy is obviously homesick.
As a long-term admirer of the Monarchy I can humbly say that the institution itself deservedly commands pride and respect from the British public. Some of our royals may look phony to Seinfeld and perhaps like all mortals they are; it would be odd if they weren’t. What we should not do is spoil the party because some people, especially comedians, do not share our genuine or pretentious enthusiasm.
Will and Kate are new royals belonging to a new age and as such they do not need too much protection. They certainly are not like us (perhaps we do not want them to be like us) but they can be closer to us if the media does not hunt them down every minute of their lives. What we also should avoid is fostering or worse enforcing an excessively politically correct culture where anyone uttering an ‘inappropriate’ remark about the royals is expected to grovel publicly to make amends for their thoughtcrime.
I have received no news that a party will be held in my street and I have no intention of joining your street party if you are planning one. In the event that I remain royally uninvited when Will and Kate tie the knot on 29 April – and I wish them all the luck in the world – I intend to take my family on a day out. That would be a royal enough engagement for me.
Dr Gëzim Alpion
Lecturer in Sociology
Department of Political Science and International Studies
University of Birmingham, UK