Sunday, 12 July 2020
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Celebrate differences, accept diversity and of course be a little bit eccentric

By  Apr 28, 2018

“The wedding is on Saturday, May 19 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, where Prince Harry was christened. It is said to have become a very special place for the couple in their relationship so far. The service will begin at 12pm,” was the official line from Buckingham Palace on the wedding of the year. Yes, a couple of weeks before Great Britain comes to a complete standstill as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot.

Preparations are well underway, or put another way there is nothing on British television and generally in the media than reports on the royal wedding. I literally watched a 20-minute documentary on the company who was in charge of printing the invitations. However, it would appear that my invitation has got lost in the post.

But the date could prove both problematic and positive. Falling on a Saturday it means that there will be no need to make a public holiday, as was the rule with the weddings of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer in 1981 and Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011. However, there is a downside as the 19th of May is the day of the FA Cup final at Wembley. Every cloud has a silver lining. The government is planning to let pubs open longer on the day of wedding (yes, the pubs will be full of wedding watchers) meaning that pubs will go serving beer from the wedding to the match in one day…busy day on the way. From cheering Harry and Meghan to cheering Chelsea and Manchester United, sound like a good plot for a Monty Python sketch.

“I really can’t understand why you Brits love the Queen and the Royal Family so much,” questioned an American friend recently. Even though had a sarcastic answer about former colonies and how he his homeland had been under Royal control up until 1783 I bit my tongue. Although to be fair I have been asked the same question in Dubrovnik several times before.

There isn’t really a logical answer, for at the end of the day Britain isn’t really a logical country, you only have to look at Brexit to realise that. This isn’t something new.

The British have always chosen the quirks of our history against foreign rationalism. The Romans tried to give us the metric system but as soon as they left we went back to the much more complicated Imperial system. Great Britain is full of eccentric traditions that are so beloved that they will never change and anyone foreign power who tries to change them will fail. That again is the Brexit effect, it makes no sense to leave but we left anyway.

You could argue that the Royals generate millions of dollars in tourism every year, and you would be right, but that isn’t important. One the other hand you could argue that how is it possible that in a democratic country a royal is chosen as the head of that state simply from birth, again that isn’t important. Logic in this question is not relevant. If I try to explain the popularity of the monarchy, then the answer would not be based on reason. It might not make sense but does everything have to make sense? Why would we drive on the left, serve beer in pint glasses, sell petrol by the gallon, have different electrical plugs, play cricket, etc. if we wanted to make sense.

We don’t think is straight lines and traditions are extremely important to us. As one famous journalist once wrote “The British monarchy is valued because it is the British monarchy. We are an old and complicated society that yields a deference to the theatrical show of society.” So that is why we are all fascinated by the latest royal wedding, because we are complicated. And whereas political parties, governments and politicians change the royalty remains a constant pillar of society.

The 19th of May will see people from all backgrounds, all races, all religions, all social classes, come together to celebrate a wedding. An event on a global scale to rejoice in the love of two young people. I personally can’t see anything wrong with getting behind the couple and enjoying their special moment. In these testing times it’s nice to be able to reveal in a celebration of love. Yes, it is a little eccentric, and yes there will be odd customs, strange cultures and unconventional behaviour, again this isn’t important. Celebrate differences, accept diversity and of course be a little bit eccentric.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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