British Culture and Royal Weddings
For centuries royal weddings in the United Kingdom were secretive affairs, with the general masses being given little in the way of information about when or where they would be held.
The first Royal Wedding to be filmed for mass viewing was the wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York and Elisabeth Bowes - Lyon at Westminster Abbey on the 26th of April 1923.
Televisions were not the norm in the family home at this point, so the film of the future King and Queen of England - not that the country knew the Prince would become King at this point - was shown as a news reel at local cinemas, garnering only mild interest as a historical news item, amongst it's paying viewers.
The next royal wedding however, was shown on TV and garnered much more interest from the viewing public.
The wedding of the glamorous, Princess Elisabeth to her cousin, the dashing Prince Philip, Prince of Greece and Denmark took place on the 20th of November 1947, two years after the end of WWII.
The wedding not only encouraged a feel good factor amongst the British public - lets face it, everyone loves a love story - it also garnered a feeling of celebration, unity and hope amongst a war weary people, still battle scarred and confused from the aftermath of war.
Businesses cashed in on the wedding, manufacturing plates, mugs and other practical souvenirs.Those that were able, travelled down to the capital to be amongst the crowds to cheer the young couple on, bringing a much needed income to the ailing coffers of the capital's hospitality industry.
Flags were waved, films of the occasion watched, future brides aimed to copy the dress, headgear and flower arrangements of the blushing, princess bride and babies born in the nation during the months after the wedding, were named after the royal couple.
The Brits loved it and dined out on it for months afterwards, and the government certainly knew a moneyspinner when they saw one.
So you see, today royal weddings in Britain are not about love and romance between the beautiful people, but are contrived affairs, used either to curry favour with the Royal family, stop the masses whingeing about austerity cuts or to boost the coffers of an ailing economy.
The Royal family is not just a family, it is a firm, a brandname and a corporate logo, which is used to it's very best, money spinning advantage.
Think that I'm being cynical? Read on and you'll see exactly what I mean.
The second televised Royal Wedding, was the ceremony of the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret Rose and her beau, Anthony Armstrong - Jones at Westminster Abbey.
The Queen had taken some flak from the public right at the beginning of her reign regarding her sister, after denying her the marriage to her former love, Group Captain Peter Townsend, during 1952.
Princess Margaret was heartbroken at being told her divorced and much older lover - 16 years her senior - was not suitable stock for marriage into the highest family in the land.
The public were outraged and the whole country cried along with their beautiful Princess, as she stoicly told the country in a radio broadcast that she would not be marrying Townsend after all.
The Queen needed to rally support from her people, before this situation turned nasty, and at the first sniff of a man, the Princess Margaret was married off to Armstrong - Jones at a lavish ceremony on the 6th of May 1960.
In all fairness to the Queen, she was young and inexperienced at the time and was only doing what her advisors - mostly the church - had advised her to do, but it would have grave ramifications for the Queen in her early days as monarch and she had to do something to curry favour with her subjects once more.
The wedding had the desired affect, the Princess Margaret was happy, the Brits were happy, the Queen was happy, job done. Oh and the government made a pretty penny from it all too.
The royal wedding of the Queen's only daughter Princess Anne to commoner Captain Mark Phillips was a large, televised affair on the 14th of November 1973 - the day of Prince Charles' 25th birthday - at Westminster Abbey in London, that was screened across the world.
Edward Heath was the head of a hated Tory government at the time that had caused a miners strike, a three day week and the British working classes were fighting tooth and nail with trade unions, about just about anything and everything.
A royal wedding was just what we needed at the time, a bit of pomp and peagentry to instill national pride. The fact that Princess Anne was probably the most disliked of the Royal family at the time, and captain Mark Phillips was a complete unknown, made not a jot of difference.
The wedding went ahead, the Brits danced in the streets and the government reaped the financial benefits.
The fourth Royal Wedding to be screened in the U.K was the wedding of the Queen's eldest son, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and the English rose, Lady Diana Spencer on June the 20th 1982 at St Paul's cathedral in the City of London.
This wedding took place during a precipitous, national decline, great racial tension and mass Asian immigration.
Margaret Thatcher headed a little liked, Tory Government that was causing severe problems for the working classes and trade unions of the country. There were riots on the streets of the Motherland and the working men and women of Britain's moral was at an all time low, spirits needed to be raised.
' Let's get Charlie married orf ' one could her her majesty cry. And so she did.
At that time, the British public were not aware of the affect the new Princess of Wales would have on their country or even the world, but her marriage to the Prince buoyed up not only the spirits of the British people at that time, but the governments coffers swelled considerably, as well.
Televised royal wedding number five was between the Queen's second son Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Lady Sarah Ferguson on 23rd of July 1986, and by jingo did we need a wedding at that time or what ?
Thatcher had been on the throne - whoops, head of a Tory government is what I meant to say - for 7 years at this point and had brought the country to it's knees.
The country's workforce were in melt down and the British public's spirits were at their lowest ebb for years, well, since the previous Tory government, at least.
' What we need to do is sell a few aircraft carriers and get Andrew married orf ' suggested the Queen, and again, so she did.
A lavish affair was held at Westminster Abbey in London, much to the annoyance of the British working classes and trade unions of the day.
But despite the cynacism at the time, the royal wedding, yet again, had the desired affect, encouraging street parties all over the land, British businesses to boom with future brides vying to copy Sarah's wedding apparell and loads and loads of tourists flocked to the streets of London to spend their yen, dollar and francs.
The Queen's youngest child, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex took part in a lavish, televised ceremony held at St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle on the 6th of January 1999 to Sophie Rhys - Jones.
Edward had managed to stay a foot loose and fancy free bachelor for all of his 35 years at this point, but a royal wedding had been organised in order to dispel rumours that the Prince was in fact gay. Heaven forbid !
Did it change the opinion of the general British public, did they even care ? Perhaps not, but again, a royal wedding with a handsome prince and a beautiful woman, certainly helped pay a few of the cash strapped government's bills of that year and gave the Brits an excuse for a bit of a knees - up.
So folks, do you see a pattern emerging here? A Tory government, social unrest, austerity cuts and lo and behold, another royal wedding coming up.
William and Kate have known each other for nearly nine years, that is one hell of a long courtship in this day and age, winning poor Kate the nickname of Waity Katy, by the British press. But you see, there was method in the ' firm's' madness and a very good reason why Katy had to wait nine years to get her man, the time just wasn't right, but now it is, Tory ( Conservative ) government, austery cuts and all.
However, despite my cynical write up - which is all true I hasten to add - I truely do wish our future King, William and his beautiful bride, Katy all the love and luck for a happy and long life together.
God Save The Queen !
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