Coffee House

A princely marriage

29 April 2011

There are some things that Britain does better than any country in the world, and we saw
one of them today. Two particulars will have jumped out at the tens of millions watching the Royal Wedding from overseas: the sheer splendour of our monarchy, and the depth of its popular support.
HD television made the beauty of today’s ceremony all the more breathtaking. If this were a movie, it would win an Oscar for best cinematography. The shots from the roof of Westminster Abbey were
jaw-dropping, the camera angles throughout were perfect. But no less awesome was the sight of the thousands thronging the streets, or watching in Hyde Park. I suspect The Guardian will tomorrow be
publishing pages of these stunning images: of a Prince saluting servicemen he passes; of his younger brother who seems to always look as if he’s just back from an eventful night out; of a bride of
remarkable poise, who had her washing-the-windows wave honed to perfection; and, most of all, the masses outside — black, white, Asian — reminding us that the royal family is a great
unifying force in British life. For me, the most striking image of the day was the row of policemen leading celebrating, obedient crowds to the gates of Buckingham Palace. The Arab royals and their
proxies who were at the ceremony can only dream of such a strong, powerful and direct connection with the public. The same is true for the politicians, none of whom would be capable of drawing a
fraction of these numbers.

The Met Office predicted rain, and were again proven wrong. The sun is shining down gloriously on London as I write. A nearby street party is playing  What’s Love Got To Do With It? A
question that may well be asked on many a royal wedding — but today you get the feeling that love had rather a lot to do with it. Prince William has found the perfect Princess, and so has
Britain. The monarchy enriches Britain, and today I suspect many republics are suffering severe case of royalty-envy. "A princely marriage is the brilliant edition of a universal fact, and, as
such, it rivets mankind," wrote Bagehot — quoted by Andrew Roberts in the latest, double edition of The Spectator. Open the world’s newspapers tomorrow morning, and you’ll find that
mankind has been duly riveted. Logically, it should not be so. Support for the monarchy in Britain defies political gravity. And today, we have seen why.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us now.

  • Stephanie Tohill

    “It might sound like I am obssessing but I am only obssessing in response to Fraser’s illegitimate spin about this being an all inclusive multi-cultural event. It wasn’t. It was a celebration of a very Christian idea of monarchy and nation.”

    Interesting spin Daniel Maris. And not sure where this leaves me. I have no interest whatsoever in Christianity, nor a “Christian idea of monarchy and nation”, yet I enthusiastically watched the wedding in the pub with a number of other well wishers. In fact of the four in my group none on us had any interest in the religious concept of it (one girl announcing the religious parts were off-putting and she did not understand why we have a monarchy) yet everyone one of us loved the wedding in general and the whole atmosphere. For many it was just an excuse to party and share in the happiness of two young people and witness the fantastic spectacle and pageantry

    I don’t know why you are desparate to read something else into it.

  • Stephanie Tohill

    “Daulat Ram

    If you detest the Monarchy and British traditions you are free to move to a republic.

    If you don’t live here at all then it is none of your business.”

    Victor one of those great British Traditions is respecting Free Speech and the rights of people to hold differing opinions. If Daulat isn’t pro-monarchy so what? It doesn’t make him any less British nor should he have to live somewhere else as a result of that. There are many Republicans of many different stripes.
    I have sympathy towards the Republican argument, although in reality I have no strong opinion on the monarchy either way and thoroughly enjoyed the wedding.

    And to the complete idiots who have decided that a lack of headscarves in the crowds means a lack of muslim support and something more sinister consider the following:

    a) Many people followed the wedding on TV and in other cities which did not have the focus of London.
    b) Many, many, many muslim women do not wear the hijab or any other type of head covering.

    Jeesus wept I despair of the nonsense spouted by some of my fellow citizens…

  • Hysteria

    @ daulat ram


    The Queen not hard working? No benefit to national culture from the monarchy?

    As was stated earlier – to not understand how this event (and others like it) affect the national psyche is to miss something important about what it is to be British…

  • Andrew Fletcher

    Daniel Maris – I wish I did!!!! …… I’m certainly going to put cash into a few. Duke of Cambridge pubs. The royals are one of the few saleable commodities we’ve got left in this country.

  • daulat ram


    Don’t get me wrong. I am an avid admirer of the Royal Family. It is an amazing piece of good fortune to be able to live in such opulent style at the expense of a public so benumbed with worship that they pay you for impressing thier feeble imaginations with your luxurious living.

    And all without a stroke of work.

    This has to be one of the greatest con tricks of all time and of course I wish I were in their places.

    What it shows is that a supposedly modern nation like Britain is no more advanced in its instincts than Egypt of the pharoahs. Though the latter had infinitely better taste.

  • daniel maris

    Andrew Fletcher – Do you run one of those tourist knick-knack stalls on Westminster Bridge? YOur posts give the impression you do.

  • Andrew Fletcher

    I think it would be great to skip a generation. – persuade Charles to “pass it on” he’s already too old, frumpy, opinionated and downright odd.

    The royal brand needs the youthful, down to earth approach of William and Kate. Thats what will get the tourists flooding in and the cash tills ringing. When the old queen goes, it should be a fait accompli that it goes to William.
    Also I’m sure William would be at the forefront of moves to trim the deadwood from the bloated family – all the hangers on drag the whole thing down
    It’s important that William and Kate don’t now hide away – we need to get our money’s worth from them getting on a world tour and pressing the flesh abroad

  • Frank P

    Duke of Cambridge (7.23pm)

    Good on ya! We could do with The Coat of Arms stenciled on The Wall. Couldn’t get your Gran aboard, could you? Verity gives her a bad time occasionally – about why she has allowed her sovereignty to be sluiced down the crapper to Brussels via Barking Creek without so much as a peep from her, or her advisors or Granddad Phil. She deserves the right to reply. By the way if Granddad decides to contribute here, please advise him that the moniker “phil” has been already taken and is liable to incur the virulent wrath of CH-ers if it reappears. Just sayin’! Anyway you’re excused blogging duties for the next two weeks – you have more important obligations elsewhere – obeyed or otherwise – and good luck with that. Lucky beggar!

  • Nicholas

    I love the way that republicans can presume so much from their 20% support, even to influencing the way Edwards verbally muddled through the ceremony and asked Schama where he thought the Monarchy might be in twenty years time. The “Diane Abbott presumption” that there should be a republic after Her Majesty’s passing, or the common currency that Charles should not succeed but that William should instead (why not have them engage in a TV Debate and get phone-in votes?).

    Once again that congolomerate of the left, bolshy, republican, Izzardic, Brandic, climate change, multi-culti minority dares to presume on behalf of all the British.

    And to those who claim to be republican, patriotic and right wing I have one word that will remain unwritten.

  • Nicholas

    Salieri, beautifully put, but especially your third paragraph. The elephant in the room, so blindingly obvious but so studiously ignored by a government terrified by its own shadow but more particularly terrified of the vocal marxist minority who brought it about.

  • salieri

    “It was a celebration of a very Christian idea of monarchy and nation. Muslims do not relate to this kind of event. It’s for you and Fraser to work out why.”

    What, Muslims not “relating” to Christian ceremony? An “amazing” 2-3 million not turning up to cheer their future king and queen? Bien je jamais.

    No heroic powers of deduction are needed: in this nation multi-culturalism has become a one-way street, requiring an overwhelming majority to surrender its traditions and values in order spinelessly to pander to an uninvited minority with no interest whatever in sharing, assimilating or even tolerating them.

    That’s why so many people have had a spring in their step since Friday: it’s a small re-awakening of national identity, and to hell with those who sneer at it.

  • Victor Southern

    Daulat Ram

    If you detest the Monarchy and British traditions you are free to move to a republic.

    If you don’t live here at all then it is none of your business.

  • Nicholas

    “It was a celebration of a very Christian idea of monarchy and nation.”

    I don’t have any problem with that. Daulat ram is entitled to his opinion and I am entitled to mine, as are 80% of the population. But the underlying issue for the British that daniel maris is highlighting is obvious, if unspoken, and demonstrated with crystal clarity by daulat ram’s two rather unpleasant posts.

  • daulat ram


    I am a Hindu and a stern opponent of Islamism, but if, as you say, very few Muslims turned out for this royal stampede, for once I say: “Well done, Muslims!”. They have shown a sound taste the rest of the population could emulate.

  • daulat ram

    This outburst of vacant-brained twaddle needs a steely Orwell to deal with it.

    The worst enemies of the publicly subsidised types known as the “royals” are their own uncontrolled selves. You may bet your bottom dollar that Willie and his mate will have their storms and public excesses that will disgust even the Brits.

    How long does anyone bet on this? 5 years?

  • daniel maris

    James –

    That’s pathetic. The only Muslim headscarf you can come up with is the Sultan of Brunei’s wife.

    I just perused the high def pic on the BBC site where you can zoom in on the crowd. I couldn’t see one Muslim headscarf in evidence. Amazing, given there are something like 2-3 million Muslims in the country.

    It might sound like I am obssessing but I am only obssessing in response to Fraser’s illegitimate spin about this being an all inclusive multi-cultural event. It wasn’t. It was a celebration of a very Christian idea of monarchy and nation. Muslims do not relate to this kind of event. It’s for you and Fraser to work out why.

  • Andrew Fletcher

    Interesting that the TV viewing figures show that a lot more people watched Di’s funeral than tuned in yesterday . Do we as a nation prefer the morbid fascination with death? Also the Charles and Di wedding had higher numbers too. Interest could be decreasing slowly but surely. That’s why its important that William and Kate get out on the road and sell themselves and build the brand so that we can get the maximum return on our civil list investment (by attracting tourist dollars to the country)

Can't find your Web ID? Click here