Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman: Sucker for a royal wedding


Not having determined our precise plans for the school holidays, I was wondering where I'd be watching the impending nuptials and sought clarification from my husband.

"Do you think we'll be back from the Coromandel in time for the wedding?" I asked.

"What wedding?" he replied.

"The royal wedding."

"Dunno. What date is it?"

"The twenty-ninth."

"What month?"

At this point I rolled my eyes.

"Are you going to watch it?" he asked.

"Of course, I am," I replied.

Then he said, "I didn't realise you were such a monarchist."

The fact I interpreted that remark as something of a slur against my character made me think that I didn't exactly fit the textbook definition of a monarchist.

Intellectually, it's difficult to relate to the pomp, the elitism, the sexist rules of succession, but romantically, well, that's a whole different story.

Tiaras, ball-gowns, handsome princes, beautiful princesses, wicked step-mothers, bowing, curtseying, reigning, subjects, carriages ... It was more Disney than Disney and I was a sucker for it all.

As a school girl in 1981 I lapped up every detail of the wedding of Charles and Diana and its aftermath. I could name all her flower girls, knew what sweetshop she frequented and her favourite magazines. I even purchased a guide to being a Sloane Ranger in the hope I could make myself just a little bit like her; I think buying a strand of pearls was about as far as I got with that.

But what struck me after this exchange with Kevin was that - despite twenty-one years together, eighteen of them married - he was unaware of my fondness for this kind of thing.

It was strange to think either of us would have anything left to discover about the other. But perhaps his surprise was understandable. Such a peccadillo was at odds with the image I've projected since we met.

I'm independent, opinionated and a staunch feminist. But a lover of royal weddings as well? Even I could see the dissonance there.

He should have been clued in by my reaction to Diana's funeral in 1997. We were holidaying in Boston, Massachusetts, and had had to wake at some unearthly hour of the morning to see it beamed live from London. I think I sobbed until breakfast time. That same day we headed to the island of Martha's Vineyard where the Diana factor took on a whole new twist.

The streets of Edgartown were lined with the mansions of wealthy east-coasters. As we strolled around it slowly dawned on us that many of the houses had their front doors wide open and just beyond was what appeared to be a figure.

Curiosity got the better of us and eventually we crept up one pathway to peer inside - and we realised that house after house was displaying one of Diana's ball-gowns that had been recently auctioned. The frocks were worn by a life-size mannequin and often the auction catalogue would be alongside propped open on the appropriate page. Most gowns reportedly fetched at least US$80,000.

I couldn't tell whether these people were showing off and trying to keep up with their well-heeled neighbours or whether they were kindly allowing passers-by a peep at one of Diana's dresses as the world mourned her loss.

It's difficult not to wonder how William and Kate's marriage will turn out.

Will their futures be peppered with joyful christenings, family occasions, world tours and official duties? Or will it all disintegrate into dysfunction, scandal, tell-all books and televised confessions?

I know which destiny I wish for them. But the other one would be far more interesting.

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Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman is a truck-driving, supermarket-going, horse-riding mother-of-one who is still married to her first husband. As a Herald online blogger, she specialises in First World Problems and delves fearlessly into the minutiae of daily life. Twice a week, she shares her perspective on a pressing current issue and invites readers to add their ten cents’ worth to the debate.

Read more by Shelley Bridgeman

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