Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: Pomp and this circumstance

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

Pomp and this circumstance

Friday, April 29, 2011

Reader, I watched it. Woke up at 5:30--15 minutes before my alarm was set for--and joined the untold numbers tuning in to The Wedding.

Yes, I know, I know: silly, especially for Americans (though at least we don’t have to foot the bill); irrelevant; anachronistic; ridiculous in the face of poverty, oppression, injustice, and misery of all kinds going on now; horrifying in the face of all the aforementioned that have gone on in the name of this monarchy throughout much of its history; how many times in history, from Anne Boleyn to the groom’s parents, this whole thing has gone so terribly wrong; and yet...

The sense of history; the pageantry; the mesmerizing choreographed perfection of the moment were irresistible. Fascinating, too, was the balance of public spectacle and private event. And all the interesting images:
--the historic markers on the Abbey walls
--the earnest faces of the choir boys
--the hats!
--how the queen makes conversation with everyone
--the eternal question--what could she be carrying in the purse
--the moment when QEII was the only person standing silent as Philip, the couple at the altar, and everyone else sang, “God Save the Queen”
--Prince Harry whose red hair and impish grin remind me of my Zach
--wondering what her father was thinking as he walked her down that interminable aisle
--the Archbishop of Canterbury (just writing that!) taking off his hat, putting it back on

I am old enough to remember being ushered with my class into the elementary school auditorium to squint at Elizabeth's coronation on a tiny television screen and being told, “Children, you may never see this again in your lives.” Like Halley’s comet.

The young couple, attractive as they are, hardly need our good wishes. They have every humanly possible comfort and expectation of a good life. Still, who ever knows what awaits that may be out of human hands. And who knows if they will find a way to fill their years with satisfying endeavors. All that, particularly on this side of the ocean, feels beside the point. But, like those tiny feathered hats perched so fetchingly on the groomed heads, this event, too, was a fascinator!


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Blogger Mim said...

Hello, Ellen: I missed the wedding but imagine the groom's father silently muttering, "I'm bloody tired." After seeing Helen MIrren as Elizabeth II, I conflate the actual queen with Mirren playing the queen. I do love the goyishe hats.

April 30, 2011 at 12:39 PM  

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