Sunday, 20 May 2018

Some wedding afterthoughts!

So that’s it, another royal wedding out of the way. All over bar the shouting and we can return to worrying about Brexit, bombing places, mental illness and violence in schools.

The first royal wedding I remember is Princess Margaret’s. It may have been the first televised royal wedding but I am not sure. I read in today’s paper that “the royal wedding”, as we now know it, was born on 1922. It was Princess Mary marrying Viscount Lascelles. Five years earlier the the royal family, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, had changed its name to Windsor, to distance itself from its German lineage. After all, the royal families of Europe are all related. The (executed) Russian Tsar was a cousin of the Queen’s grandfather. Our Prince Philip is related to Queen Sofia of Spain (both from the Greek royal family). No doubt there are a whole lot more interconnections.

Princess Mary’s wedding was seen as an opportunity to connect with the public - the media may not have been so omnipresent and all-powerful as now but they were still influential - and it was covered by Pathé News. Princess Mary’s brother, the future King George VI wrote, “It is now no longer Mary’s wedding but (this from the papers) it is the ‘Abbey Wedding’ or the ‘Royal Wedding’ or even the ‘People’s Wedding’.” So there you go.

Royal weddings are useful politically. When the Infanta Elena of Spain (Elena María Isabel Dominica de Silos de Borbón y de Grecia, to give her her full name - and we thought our royal family had elaborate names!) in 1995 in Seville cathedral it was probably the first big royal wedding in Spain since before the Civil War and almost certainly the first televised. And it helped cement the royal family in the country’s affections.

Similarly when her sister Cristina Federica Victoria Antonia de la Santísima Trinidad de Borbón y de Grecia) married Iñaki Urdangarín in 1997 in Barcelona, it was seen as a way if bringing together main castillian spain with the Basque Country (Urdangarín is a good Basque name) and Catalonia.

It’s rather a shame that both these marriages ended badly one way or another but Elena, once regarded by the spanish as the unattractive, rather dim princess, seems to have represented her country well abproad while her sister and her husband have been so scandalous that she has been ejected from the family.

Spain could probably do with a bit of spectacle to keep people’s minds off scandals about corruption and bits of the country wanting to break away. However, I suspect that al the younger members of the Spanish royal family are not likely to marry just yet.

I have one last thought to add today. Why do strong, intelligent, independent-minded women adopt coy, little-girl poses for photos? Among the pics of the great wedding was one of Amal Clooney (I have unfortunately forgotten her own name) doing that downturned face, looking up under her brows expression. All her body language, coy set of shoulders and that modest gaze reinforced it. Why?

Of course, I may be completely mistaken and maybe it’s just a random photo but the fact remains that it’s out there now.

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