By Eleanor McKie
It is fair to say that the coronavirus has changed life as we know it, and the repercussions of the virus will linger in our society long beyond the last hospital admissions. This pandemic has affected people from every walk of life, whether it be financially, socially or biologically. Nobody knows what the future will truly hold, but there have been certain boosts of morale to keep the public positive. Every Thursday evening, we clap for the NHS; children are drawing rainbows and placing them in their windows to brighten our days, and now Princess Beatrice has expressed her wish to have a bigger and better wedding next year to lift our spirits.
The royals have always been stoic in their attempts to inspire national pride and lift our spirits. The Queen’s Christmas message is as cherished by the older generations as Santa leaving presents is to wide-eyed children. Their visits to schools and hospitals in the country and abroad are also always a source of joy, especially if one glimpses themselves on the news afterwards. Yet, opinions of the monarchy have left the nation divided in recent decades.
The 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was easily one of the most iconic events of the decade, if not the century. Approximately 26.3 million watched Kate Middleton walk down the aisle of Westminster Abbey and mass crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace to watch the ever-iconic kiss on the balcony shared between the newlyweds. The Duchess herself has been a darling of the nation since she was first reported to be getting close to William at St Andrews, and the handsome heir to the throne has himself strived to continue the good work of his mother, the late Princess Diana. Therefore, some royals are integral in boosting tourism and epitomising what it means to ‘be British.’
Yet the royal family is much more diverse than just the Queen, her heir and her spares. She has, admittedly, a lot of spares and their influence is debatable. In truth, the nation’s overall opinion has never fully healed after their treatment of Princess Diana and there have possibly been one too many faux pas since. There was ‘tampon-gate’ where a phone call of Prince Charles expressing his vehement desire to be Camilla’s sanitary product was uncovered; the ageing Prince Philip causing a serious accident after speeding; Harry and Meghan cutting their losses and running for the glitz and glam of LA and finally the Duke of York’s ill-fated friendship with disgraced paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and possible dalliance with the then teenage Virginia Roberts. And now his daughter has come up with the enlightened idea that her wedding of the whatever-in-line-to-the-throne-she-is will be the best thing in 2021 to cheer us all up after the pandemic.
I will concede. A royal wedding is nice. The cheers, the bunting, the day-drinking and national holiday. Who is she wearing? Who will be there? But beneath the very pleasing surface of a wedding, the machinations are not half as seemly. Although Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are much more well-behaved than their father (Randy Andy), the girls have not brought half as much to ‘The Firm’ as their more important cousins. They were only given jobs in the last several years, they holiday more times in a year than many will holiday in a lifetime and still they insist on the same benefits as their more hard-working relatives. Princess Eugenie’s October wedding at St George’s chapel trumped her cousin Harry of Wales’ May wedding in both costs and guest list. Yet 23.7 million watched Harry and Meghan’s nuptials, compared to a meek 3 million watching Princess Eugenie marry Jack Brooksbank. What makes her elder sister think her marriage to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi will be more popular? Zara Tindall, the untitled but accomplished daughter (and rumoured favourite relation of the Queen and Prince Philip) wed in a relatively small ceremony in Edinburgh in 2011, despite being an accomplished Olympian and one of the more celebrated members of the family.
There is a time and a place for royal weddings. Perhaps if it were Kate and Wills again, vowing to marry in a more modest ceremony after the recovery of the pandemic, some spirits would be lifted. As the future of the monarchy, it would possibly be their duty. However, no one knows what the world will look like once this lockdown is lifted. One thing we know for sure is that we will all struggle financially, and royal weddings are expensive. There is a time and a place for royals too, and there are some within ‘The Firm’ who need to learn that, sooner rather than later.