fri 21/06/2024

The Royal Wedding, All Channels | reviews, news & interviews

The Royal Wedding, All Channels

The Royal Wedding, All Channels

Two billion viewers worldwide - is it a right royal revival?

In case you missed the first one, they did it twice

The flying Twitter fragments said more about The Wedding than the battalions of experts, "palace insiders", historians and friends ever could (couldn't somebody have put a bag over Simon "infinite loop" Schama's head and had him bundled away from the BBC studio in the boot of a car?) Everybody seemed to adore Kate's dress. Some suggested that princesses Eugenie and Beatrice were in drag. "The Royal Family is BACK", tweeted Piers Morgan.

"#proudtobeenglish" added former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan. "Harry's thinking, how did I not end up in a carriage with Pippa Middleton?" suggested artsdesker Josh Spero.

I think we're all familiar with what's wrong with royal families and inherited privilege, but the surge of goodwill towards William and Kate, as individuals if not necessarily as the latest offshoot from the dynastic tree, feels genuine. Anything anybody tells the media about them has been painstakingly milled by the Clarence House PR machine, but the thesis that they're trying to behave like people with friends and a private life in the face of a lifetime of public engagements and ceremonial duties is something we might be able to believe. Not sure about the "Mr & Mrs Helicopter Pilot living in a rented cottage in Anglesey" bit, though.

her_maj_cropAnyway, the wedding is just the easy part at the beginning, because everybody loves bank holidays and an excuse to get stuck into the Pimm's, and the hats and the horses and the Life Guards in their burnished breastplates. As the rain stayed away and the day grew steadily sunnier, it wasn't difficult to get swept up in some transient euphoria. The massed picnickers watching events on giant screens in Hyde Park looked like a rock festival without any bands.

Aside from the technically superb camera work inside Westminster Abbey (loved that shot from high up on the ceiling), the day's TV coverage was exactly what you'd expect when the networks have so much time to fill, from the blithely waffling commentators and linkpersons to the luckless footsoldiers dispatched to far-flung corners of our great nation to get reactions of people "on the ground". Pity the luckless reporter forced to feign glee at a display of Morris dancing in the Middletons' home village of Bucklebury, or ITV's chap trapped all day in the quadrangle of St Andrews university, admiring homemade Royal Wedding cupcakes.

There were comical scenes as ITV's Mark Austin got squeezed between the crowd and the slow-marching police line in the Mall, then found himself kettled in front of Buckingham Palace by seething hordes of Royal-spotters. I liked the moment when Michel Roux Jr told us that the French were watching the wedding on TV, feeling jealous and demanding, "Why can't we have this?" Phillip Schofield leaned over confidentially and said, "Because you cut their heads off." (Her Maj wears primrose, pictured above.)

couple_and_dad_cropThe republicanistas were mostly blotted out by the popular surge, though Will Self opined that "Britain is still in thrall to a vulgar fascination with bloodlines and a barkingly insane notion of monarchy." Er... perhaps, but oddly, the pendulum of fate may be turning back the escalator of time (or some such) and bringing about a spot of right royal rehabilitation. Now that the excesses of our deeply disappointing politicians have been exposed, and we see town clerks earning 250 grand when they can't even manage to collect rubbish properly, and BBC executives think that a £400,000 salary isn't enough, the Royals suddenly look like quite good value.

The Diana Effect is living on through William and the roguish Harry (who always looks as if he ought to have a catapult stuck in his back pocket), and you don't have to be a royalist to recognise the amazing global PR value of William and Kate's wedding. As one punter put it on TV, "I think this country needs a boost, and they're it."

Watch William and Kate's wedding

The pendulum of fate may be turning back the escalator of time (or some such) and bringing about a spot of right royal rehabilitation

Share this article


Great stuff! Totally agree about bundling Simon Schama into the boot of a car. Love it!

Have to admit that I compromised my republican sentiments to the extent of looking at (and admiring) pics of the dress, AND THE HATS!! My excuse is that I'm a textile artist, and I love hats! I thought the best one was worn by Zara Philips. (Couldn't be bothered with the rest of it, though!)

"The Royals suddenly look like quite good value". Well,Kate and William have broken the mould of the traditional,stuffy Royal image.The wedding was heartwarming,refreshing and a real ice breaker for the country's rock bottom morale.Its extraordinary how a young lady like Kate Middleton has appeared out of nowhere,to marry a young,very harmless Prince William.Almost as though the situation has been pre-ordained....could Princess Diana be wielding her influence from high places? A great piece of history and well worth writing about.

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters