A Gathering Voices Post by Greg Garrett
I’m more a republican than a royalist, but I have found the amount of focused emotion around the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton to be stirring. I know lots of people who have been little short of manic about this event, like Cinderella and Prince Charming were going to say their vows. An acquaintance from Austin, knowing that I spend a good amount of time in England and am friends with one Very Important Person in the Church of England, emailed me months and months ago to see if I might be willing to use my influence (!) to get her a good view along the wedding route.
The wedding was the subject of endless magazine stories, TV shows, and commemorative merchandise like you would not believe: everything from replica engagement rings to china to condoms. And it was watched by billions of people around the world—live on television and on computers, on iPhones and other devices.
There are some obvious reasons this wedding mattered to people. William is attractive, and Kate is smoking hot. The idea that these two young people were going to be involved in a storybook wedding prompted a lot of fantasies, and represented a lot of wish fulfillment for princesses who never found their princes—or who might have found them and realized that they were better off with the dragon.
The British Monarchy offers us the spectacle of royalty—which is about all that’s left of the crown these days, spectacle—plus a common language, and a level of hysteria whipped to frenzy by the British tabloid culture and the once-a-generation prospect of a future king wedding a future royal consort.
It also offers a very public affirmation of the power of religious ceremony—the wedding took place at Westminster Abbey, site of coronations, state weddings, and state funerals for a thousand years, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican communion, officiated the ceremony.
More importantly, it was, as the Archbishop noted, “an act of generous commitment” taking place in the most public of ways and offering us all the example of two people willing to spend the rest of their lives learning about and living each other. Together, William and Kate were, he said
sending a message of hopefulness, sending a message of generosity across the world, and it’s my privilege to be able to bless that in the name of God, to witness it in the name of God, and to send them on their way.
People may have watched for the fairy tale elements, the pomp and circumstance, the strange and archaic tradition of hereditary privilege on display. But what they also got were public images of love, commitment, and hope perfectly appropriate for the season of Easter.
I wish William and Kate the best. Their lives have and always will be lived in a fishbowl. But I can’t help but hope—and pray—blessings on their lives together.
We seem to need this particular fairy tale.
Additional Resources at www.TheThoughtfulChristian.com
- Recreating Marriage with the Same Old Spouse: A Guide for Couples, by Sandra Gray Bender
- Recreating Marriage with the Same Old Spouse: Leader's Guide, by Sandra Gray Bender
- "Enchanted," by Lisa Nichols Hickman (Youth Study)