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来源:百度文库 编辑:学校大全网 时间:2019/12/11 07:49:50

Royal theatre captivates the world

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2011-5-1 15:09

Prince William of Wales, a junior air force officer and future king, married Miss Catherine Middleton of Berkshire on Friday on what various royal officials have been pleased to call a family occasion.

It was attended by 1,900 guests inside Westminster Abbey, a cup final-sized crowd on the streets outside and millions who will have at least glimpsed the ceremony on television and seen Britain at its battiest – and best.

On one level, this was absurd: another wedding in a family whose marital failure rate has lately been much worse than the national average. But it was also a demonstration of what Britain can do, and what only Britain can do. Only these royals can turn a domestic rite of passage into a piece of global theatre.

The day appeared to go off just about perfectly. Miss Middleton did not suddenly remember the experiences of William’s mother and rush out screaming, the weather was kindly, the mood on the streets was fantastic, and no one fluffed a line.

The only surprises were those crafted by the royal public relations department – the design and style of the wedding dress, and the titles awarded to the couple, who become Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The service was rather more God-centred than is generally the case at British weddings and, at an hour and a bit, a touch long for modern tastes, especially for earlycomers inside the abbey, some of whom had been there for almost three hours before the ceremony began.

The couple then processed to Buckingham Palace in the open-topped state landau, and the theatricals really started. The crowds gathered on The Mall were allowed to push forward to the palace gates until the Queen Victoria Memorial outside became an island in a sea of flag-wavers.

Bang on schedule, bride and groom appeared on the balcony to be joined by the rest of the wedding party. The first kiss was a touch perfunctory and even the second unconvincing, as any kiss might be with an audience of millions.

The crowd still cheered wildly and everyone waved frantically although the Queen discreetly positioned herself to the edge of the group and conserved her poor, overwaved hands.

Then half-a-dozen aircraft flew overhead – “That’s the whole RAF,” said someone – the balcony emptied and so, more slowly, did the streets, long before the couple nipped out for a quick joyride down The Mall in dad’s Aston Martin.

Everyone had been relaxed long before the start. The Tube was no more crowded than on a routine Friday but it felt totally different from the normal surly London rush hour. This crowd spoke – to each other and to strangers. And it smiled.

Some of the most enthusiastic Union Jack-carriers were actually foreign. “Does this mean you’re British patriots?” I asked a group of Thai students. “Kind of,” one replied. And there was Nancy Boileau from Oregon, who had come over specially with her friend Pattie Lovejoy.

“There’s nothing like this in the US,” said Nancy.

Mostly, however, these patriots were homegrown but they were not the Britons who were on the street for the wedding of Will’s parents, Charles and Diana, in 1981 – they weren’t born. This lot were overwhelmingly under 30.

One did not, however, sense a deep-seated passion for the monarchy.

They might just as easily have been here to celebrate a sporting triumph. But though the British are short of bread, they have been granted a most glittering performance by the glorious and long-running circus that is royalty. “Do you think you ought to have a king or queen?” I asked Nancy from Oregon. “Hmm,” she replied, “you can’t just create one.” Quite so.




Financial Times