Already habitually awake at that hour--5:30 A.M. which translated to five hours later London time--I turned on the TV this morning "to see what I could see" in this Wills-Kate event. After all, I've enjoyed watching a royal wedding or two and even remember seeing (then) Princess Elizabeth and Philip's 1947 wedding. Since no one really had TV then, we saw it in one of the news-reels that accompanied movies in those days. But, as today's ceremony unfolded, I was not prepared to be so moved. There was a bet in the news last night: who would tear up first: Kate, her mother, Elton John, the Queen? (Long odds on that one.) Well, the answer was: me.
English tradition simply swept over me. As well as a very ingrained familiarity. (I can remember my first arrival on Britain's shores. It was 1963. I'd taken a boat from Bergen, Norway, to Newcastle and had no sooner stepped ashore and gotten an onward train than I felt as if I knew this land, like a DNA connection. The countryside, the hedgerows, the abbeys. Some of it was undoubtedly from seeing English movies. Some from sharing a common language and literature. Maybe some from my British ancestry. But, whatever, we seemed kinfolk.)
So, watching the ceremony this morning, I felt Britain's tradition and history surge up in me again as the glorious bells rang out. Here was Westminster Abbey from 1066 and its chapel of St. Edward the Confessor where the ceremony was held. (One of my favorite spots in London.) Besides history, here, too, was continuity. The longevity of the Queen who had been a young woman during the war. I was even moved by the fly-over in formation of a 1940's Spitfire, Hurricane, and Lancaster bomber.
And then, it was a joy to see elegance in action. A quality that gets short shrift these days. Elegance, dignity, and tradition. Something the Brits are good at. And something that we could use a few lessons in.
Of course, the bride and groom were stunningly gorgeous. And it was a delight to know that times had changed enough that it no longer mattered that she was a commoner. That their feelings for each other were more important than station.
I took a few snaps of my TV. They're wobbly, but you get the idea.
|Entering Westminster Abbey|
|The Maid of Honor holding the Flower Girls' hands|
|The ceremony from on high. (The bride's train is in the lower center.)|
|In the open carriage on the way to Buckingham Palace|
With this last photo, I just want to say, here's to the celebration of beauty, joy, and happiness!