Sunday, May 20, 2018

Slightly Different Reflections on the Royal Wedding

What can I add that hasn’t already been said, written, or blogged? Probably nothing, but here goes anyway. It was a beautiful day for a wedding, a clear sunny 68º - a normal day in much of the world, but an anomaly in the British Isles. The Gods have blessed this wedding of an American commoner to the Royal family. Yes, others have called it a Cinderella story, but that’s old news at Windsor Castle. Cinderella was Diana Simpson marrying Charles, Prince of Wales. Cinderella was Sarah Ferguson marrying Prince Randy Andy. Cinderella was Kate Middleton marrying Prince William. Yes, others have noted an American actress has married a prince. That’s not a novelty. Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco. Yes, others remember the last time an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, married into the Royal family. That one forced King Edward VIII to abdicate his thrown. Wallis was not just a twice divorced woman, but she also had a checkered past. An underlying factor was the King’s sympathy for the Nazis. American women marrying into British royalty is not new. America’s rising class of industrial millionaires in the Gilded age often had daughters marry impecunious British Lords, trading dollars for titles. Consuelo Vanderbilt married the 9th Duke of Marlborough in 1895 for a dowry of $2.4 million. Indeed, Winston Churchill, perhaps the greatest British Prime Minister, was half American. His mother was Jenny Jerome who married the 7th Duke of Marlborough in 1874 with a dowry of $50,000. Note the pattern! The odds of an African American divorcee marrying a prince of the realm was probably as small as an African American being elected President of the United States, Bobby Jindal Governor of Louisiana, and Nikki Haley Governor of South Carolina. All have happened in recent years. Bob Dylan said it best: “The times, they are a’changing.” The British House of Windsor is a constitutional monarchy in a democracy. The times of a British King or Queen claiming the Divine Right to Govern are ancient history. The Crown, if it is to survive, must adapt in the British democracy with rapidly changing demographics. Queen Elizabeth II understands that principle. The Duchess of Sussex would have also been blocked a few decades ago because her first husband was Jewish. The nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton was a beautiful, traditional wedding with all the pomp and circumstance the British are known for. The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was beautiful, full of pomp and circumstance, but not so traditional. The bride walked the first half down the aisle by herself before Prince Charles escorted her to the altar. Prince Charles walked arm in arm out of the chapel with Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother, the descendant of slaves. The pictures of Harry and Meghan, Charles, Camilla, and Doria send a message to the British people and the World. The wedding was also a great ad for British tourism. An African American Minister introduced British high society to the African American Church. Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir of London sang a beautiful rendition of “Stand By Me.” And the bride and groom were living together before the wedding. Some things aren’t changing. The women still wore an assortment of eclectic hats.

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