THE subject of The Royal Wedding came forcibly to my attention this week, although I have been trying my hardest to ignore almost everything about it.
“When exactly is it?” said a colleague of mine, who was busy editing the letters page and had a professional reason for asking.
“I have absolutely no idea,” I replied. “And, what’s more, I don’t care. You’ll have to go to Google.”
Which he did and learned that the nuptials of the heir to the throne and his commoner bride Kate will be on April 29. Hurrah!
Being of the republican persuasion (with a small r) I have now diaried this date for some allotmenting.
It’s fair to say that I have even less interest in The RW than I do in reading instruction manuals for domestic appliances (always boring, much better to simply push buttons and see what happens); watching motor racing on TV (cars going round and round; or dredging the pond for duckweed (smelly and repetitive).
When Diana and Charles got married I sat in the garden with a good book, peering briefly through a neighbour’s window to see what THE dress looked like (crumpled and as if someone had vomited green stalks down the front).
Fergie and Andrew’s conjoining was such a non-event I can’t even remember what I was doing when they walked down the aisle.
And yet, I have discovered, there are those who are actually looking forward to April 29 and see it as a day of national rejoicing, street parties, bunting and commemorative mug usage.
Or maybe they just relish an extra day off work. I’ve nothing against William or Kate personally, you understand, because they both seem to be reasonably normal, well-adjusted and perfectly pleasant young people, but I’m already tired of the fawning and the emails from every PR company jumping on The RW gravy train.
And I’m really surprised that anyone cares.
I thought the Diana and Charles fiasco, as well as the saga of the dreadful Fergie and her not-so-handsome prince, might have made us all a lot more cynical about Royal weddings and, indeed, the very existence, in a democracy, of a Royal family at all.
Then, as I started to mull over my own deep misgivings on royalty and their hangers-on (who needs them?) and the cost of the Civil List, I realised that this particular RW might actually be a good thing for a nation wallowing in gloom and despondency.
Perhaps we need something a bit cheery, a glimpse of pomp and expensive ceremony, pictures of the rich and privileged looking rich and privileged and visions of designer dresses worth a year’s wages for a farm labourer.
While the disabled are seeing their benefits slashed and Her Majesty’s subjects struggle to come to terms with job losses and public service cuts, what we really, really need is a chance to escape into Royalworld, a place where there are no worries over the electric bill and everyone has an expensive orthodontist.
We can wave our flags, forget our cares and wait for the next chapter in one of the longest running soap operas. It beats Dallas into a ceremonial cocked hat.
And, if we get bored with the wholesomeness of the Wills and Kate nuptials, we can always entertain ourselves with Andrew’s many faux pas as a UK trade representative and wonder at the wisdom of letting him out of Royalworld (or that they let Fergie in). You couldn’t make it up.
In fact, tales of the Royals have kept film-makers going since celluloid was first invented. There’s even a movie about William and Kate’s romance made before the ink’s dry on their marriage certificate.
Come to think of it, The Windsors are like a reality television series, strangely fascinating and difficult to ignore.
But, I think, well worth the effort.