By Anne Kingston- Thursday, December 1, 2011 -
Will and Kate give the monarchy new blood and relevance. They gave everyone else a love story to remember.
By Anne Kingston- Thursday, December 1, 2011 -
Will and Kate give the monarchy new blood and relevance. They gave everyone else a love story to remember.
In a year riven by political turmoil, economic malaise and rioting in the streets, a young, fresh-faced couple formally titled the duke and duchess of Cambridge (but affectionately known as Will and Kate) provided ongoing romantic relief—and distraction. The photogenic pair delighted the masses and were a boon to the media that tracked their every move, real and speculative. Their wedding gave the British economy—along with fascinator sales—a bump. More, it injected a much-needed adrenalin boost to the British royal family itself. Dutifully, smilingly, the duo restored a patina of glamour and vitality to an institution tarnished by divorce, scandal and tragedy.
Details of the preparations for their April 29 nuptials were meted out like a slow IV morphine drip on www.princeofwales.gov.uk: the Westminster Abbey venue, the guest list, the name of the wedding cake decorator. An estimated two billion people tuned in to watch the ceremony, a pitch-perfect spectacle of royal pomp amid government-mandated austerity. Millions clogged the streets, among them Jean Seaton, a professor of media history at the University of Westminster, who views the occasion as a rare moment of British unity: “People were enjoying it as a kind of celebration of themselves,” she says.
Part of the cheer stemmed from the faith that the couple’s love match was real, not staged like the prince’s parents’. The union of the blond son of a beloved princess to a comely commoner also suggested Buck House was evolving with the times. There was no discussion of virginity: the couple had lived together for eight years. The bride, derisively dubbed “Waity Katie” by the press before her engagement, proved her mettle over the years, coping with paparazzi and gossip. Her unwavering determination to play the role she now has, once a source of criticism, is her greatest strength—one necessary to navigate an institution known to destroy the women who enter it. “It’s a much more negotiated, tested entry [than Diana’s],” says Seaton, the BBC’s ofﬁcial historian. “She knows—to the extent she can—what she’s getting into.”
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By Nancy Macdonald- Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:15 AM -
Donald Trump gets sued, Rita Chretien is found alive, and Don Cherry is angry about something again
EMPICS Entertainment/Keystone Press
Compassion for bin Laden
Angela Merkel’s remark that she was “glad” Osama bin Laden had been killed sparked a firestorm of controversy in Germany. Hamburg judge Heinz Uthmann even filed a criminal complaint, alleging the German chancellor broke a law barring the “rewarding and approving of crimes”—in this case, bin Laden’s “homicide.” Politicians denounced her, and 64 per cent of Germans agreed: bin Laden’s death was “no reason to rejoice.” In L.A., however, even the Dalai Lama—compassion incarnate—said he had it coming. “If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures,” said the Tibetan spiritual leader.
Mother’s day miracle
After 49 days alone in a Chevy Astro van on a logging road in remote Nevada, Rita Chretien was found barely conscious, but clinging to life. The 56-year-old Penticton, B.C., native and her husband, Albert, were stranded en route to Las Vegas on March 19; Albert, who left two days later to ﬁnd help, hasn’t been seen since. Rita’s faith, and a bit of trail mix, was all that kept her going until finally she was spotted by hunters on ATVs. “We were praying for a miracle and, boy, did we get one,” her son Raymond told reporters Sunday.
By Ken MacQueen- Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 9:50 AM -
Couple, family, Queen and country came together in a ceremony that is being called the saviour of the monarchy and marriage
She wore a tiara borrowed from her new grandmother, and diamond drop earrings, a wedding gift from her beloved parents, and that dress, which so perfectly captured the spirit of the day: a confluence of the modern and the traditional; a sense that the monarchy, the country and the couple were moving forward, with a fond look back. And at the altar of Westminster Abbey her husband-to-be turned, and became what seems like the last person on earth to see his bride in her finery. “You’re beautiful,” he said, as many a nervous groom before him has said. While every aspect of this day—the union of a future king and queen of Britain, Canada and the rest of the realms—would be weighed, debated and analyzed for deeper meaning, there was no arguing that heartfelt statement of fact. And, briefly at that moment, lost in each other’s eyes, this grand spectacle—1,900 guests, and two billion more watching over their shoulders—shrank to a universe of two.
Then, before the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Catherine Elizabeth Middleton and William Arthur Philip Louis Wales gave each other their “troth” in the archaic language of the Church of England, to love and to comfort and to forsake all others—pledges honoured more in the breach than the observance by generations of Britain’s royals. But maybe this time they’ll get it right. At least that is the hope of Queen and country. With that they became husband and wife, and, at the behest of their granny, Queen Elizabeth II, they were granted the titles duke and duchess of Cambridge and a mouthful of others.
Like any royal event, the wedding had elements of the absurd: headgear, for example, which Britons of a certain class embrace and treat with such seriousness that even fashion disasters are elevated into art forms. And so it was that Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, the daughters of Prince Andrew and the uninvited Sarah Ferguson, entered the abbey looking as if they’d been dressed by a blind quartermaster of the Ministry of Silly Hats. In this they were not alone. When television cameras in the abbey swept the bonneted crowd, it resembled the haphazard cluster of dishes and jury-rigged antennae you’d find on the rooftops of a Third World slum.
By Kate Fillion - Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM -
Six young children, two highly eligible wranglers in Prince Harry and Pippa—all the ingredients for royal chaos, but the attendants behaved (almost) perfectly
Nothing says courage quite like including six young children in your wedding party, unless it’s choosing as wranglers a young man who’s been called the bad boy of the royal family and a young woman who’s been called the most eligible singleton in the kingdom. With so many wild cards, anything could have gone wrong.
But nothing did. Pippa Middleton made sure of that. After helping her sister exit the car at Westminster Abbey and expertly arranging the train of the wedding dress just so on the red carpet, she took charge of the children, smiling calmly throughout. Walking up the aisle hand in hand with the pair of three-year-old bridesmaids, she summoned memories of Diana’s easy, natural way with children. And yet the impression she created was all her own: while her unobtrusive manner indicated a willingness to fade modestly into the background, Pippa’s form-fitting dress, with buttons up the back and a small train of its own, made that quite impossible. Unusually, it was only a shade or two away from Kate’s own gown, and the cut was substantially more revealing. There were whispers, and within minutes, squawks and tweets: had the maid of honour upstaged the bride? Online, detractors emerged, sniffing about the chestnut hue of Pippa’s fake tan. But in the church, she dispatched her duties serenely and with dignity.
Prince Harry, too, stepped up, which is to say that he was subdued and entirely proper throughout the ceremony, after cracking his brother up with a whispered aside as Kate approached the altar holding her father’s hand. There was nothing inappropriate in that, though: the best man’s job description is to lighten the mood. And after the ceremony, heading to the palace in a carriage with the youngest members of the wedding party, he was impeccably avuncular, reassuring the children and putting them at ease.
By Nicholas Köhler and Ken MacQueen - Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM -
The guests did not just observe the spectacle—they were part of it, a dizzying mixture of fame, fashion and faux pas
As their Bentleys and Rolls-Royces crawled up the stately thoroughfares lined with thousands of spectators, guardsmen armed with fixed bayonets watched over the royal wedding guests. It was that kind of day—one of contradictions, of whimsy and moving spectacle. A guest list that in the last days threatened to cast a pall over the whole affair—snubbed past prime ministers, slighted foreign presidents, all those despots—dissolved on the Westminster Abbey steps into a confection of colour, occasional poor judgment and elegance. And in an England otherwise made austere by hard times, many of the 1,900 invited used fashion to make their statements.
Carole Middleton strode in wearing an ice-blue wool crepe coat dress, the kind of thing Jacqueline Kennedy might have worn had she been a British royal rather than a bona fide fashion plate. The bride’s mother reportedly got her first choice of colour and outfit, followed by the Queen, who opted for a primrose dress complemented by Queen Mary’s True Lover’s Knot brooch—an appropriate touch. Elsewhere, though, there were real missteps. Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York and ex-wife of Prince Andrew, being herself a prior Windsor slip-up, wasn’t invited, but her two daughters, the princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, in beige and blue respectively, wore garments (particularly those towering, vertiginous hats) that suggested a recent sojourn in the Land of Oz.
Lesser royals arrived in buses like tourists across the tarmac from a charter flight, including Montreal-born Autumn, wife of Peter Phillips, the Queen’s grandson. England rugby captain Mike Tindall, engaged to Peter’s sister Zara, made his debut at an official royal event wearing his incomparably broken nose. And there were others from the farther edges of the royal orbit. Prince Albert of Monaco came with his fiancée, Charlene Wittstock—Europe’s next major royal wedding. Earl Spencer, whose last memorable appearance here came during his sister Diana’s funeral (when he delivered a eulogy stinging to the Windsors), now found himself shunted to the side with his Canadian fiancée, Karen Gordon (her hat: giant, pink, spaceship-like); William found a moment to chat with them briefly.
By Anne Kingston- Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 5:20 PM -
Kate Middleton found the right balance, honouring royal tradition while putting her own stamp on the day
The fact that Kate Middleton’s bridal legacy was assured months before anyone had an inkling of what it was going to be tells you all you need to know about bridal-industry conformity. Before the big day was even over, factories in China were pumping out knock-offs of the dress. Had she arrived in the swan getup Björk wore to the 2001 Oscars, future brides would be shedding feathers as they walked down the aisle.
Yet the path Kate had to navigate was uniquely her own. She had to present as a bride for the ages, which meant pulling off a tricky high-wire balancing act: honour royal tradition while making a personal statement; provide a showy fashion moment yet be sensitive to the dire economic climate; inject new life into a beleaguered royal family; and, most perilously, prevail over the inevitable comparisons that would be made between her and Prince William’s mother, Lady Diana Spencer, on her wedding day 30 years ago.
As the smiling bride alighted from a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI at Westminster Abbey, it appeared all of the boxes had been checked off, and brilliantly. All eyes were on the dress, of course. The restrained V-necked white-and-ivory satin-and-lace gown with a two-metre train won near universal approval for being pitch perfect—classic yet fresh, formal yet fluid. She wore it; it didn’t consume her, unlike the fate of Diana Spencer who was overwhelmed by her billowing organza confection with an unwieldy 7.6-m train.
By Cathy Gulli- Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 12:25 PM -
It was hard not to think of Diana while watching Prince William on his wedding day
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Prince William had his back turned to Catherine Middleton as she walked with her father down the aisle at Westminster Abbey. It was an old-fashioned, austere moment: the demure, veiled bride escorted to her stoic bridegroom, who stared ahead at the altar. To William’s right stood Prince Harry, who also accompanied him from Clarence House to the abbey in a state Bentley, while crowds exclaimed, “We want Wills!” Harry has, in fact, always been at his big brother’s side to provide comic relief and encouragement. Now was no different: Harry broke form by looking over his shoulder and, smiling, advised William, “Right, here she is now.”
Throughout the formal 75-minute service, William remained the picture of regal restraint: he wore the red uniform of the Irish Guards; he was appointed the regiment’s honorary royal colonel by the Queen in February. His blue sash was that of the oldest and highest order of chivalry in Britain. He recited his vows in a quiet voice; he knelt and sang with his head bowed. When William and Kate strode down the aisle, she beamed, chin up, and surveyed the guests; he gave the same shy smiles, slight nods and sideways glances that his late mother Diana was known for.
Also like his mother, William appeared most comfortable during the less formal times. That’s when his charming, even coy, nature revealed itself: he blew kisses to his aunts before the service began. He joked with Kate and her father, “We were supposed to have just a small family affair!” To Kate, he gushed, “You look beautiful.” During the sermon, when the couple was urged to “persevere in prayer,” he initiated a warm exchange of grins between them. Once out of the solemn abbey (where Diana’s funeral was held in 1997) and among the cheering fans, William waved and laughed heartily. By then, he had put on his military cap, which is adorned with the regiment’s motto. Translated from Latin, it reads, “Who shall separate us?”
By John Fraser - Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 11:45 AM -
The palace’s adroit use of new media has created a more savvy, approachable monarchy
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
The marriage of Catherine Middleton and Prince William of Wales came off without a hitch as close to two billion people around the world watched the British dust off their ancient institutions—from Westminster Abbey (10th-century origins) to the state landaus and coaches from the last two centuries—and make a hugely successful fuss over their future king and queen, now titled the duke and duchess of Cambridge.
Out of it all, a new sort of monarchy was seen to emerge, one more approachable, more savvy, and much more likely to survive the assaults regularly hurled its way. And that is thanks not just to a with-it and photogenic young couple, but also to the palace’s adroit use of new media.
The couple has not made one mistake, and the only criticism of their pre-wedding behaviour—that they lived together “in sin”—not only redounded to their credit, it turned out the cohabitation had been almost blessed by the archbishop of York, the second-highest-ranked cleric in the realm. As the archbishop’s daughter said, couples “want to test whether the milk is good before they buy the cow.”
By Leah McLaren - Monday, May 9, 2011 at 5:45 PM -
William and Kate’s mutual affection and tenderness shone through all the pomp and ceremony
Gareth Fuller/PA/Keystone Press
One kiss was not enough.
As a sea of well-wishers roared their approval, the newlywed duke and duchess of Cambridge felt the people’s love—and returned it. It was the second kiss that sealed the deal, a marriage the dean of Westminster had just pronounced a “mystical union,” and one that succeeded in uniting not just a young man and his winsome bride but a monarchy with its subjects.
There they stood, awkwardly assembled on the Buckingham Palace balcony—the royal family in all their silly-hatted glory. Echoes of a similar scene 30 years ago hung heavily in the air, until Prince William acted with the kind of open-hearted spontaneity he could only have inherited from that sadly absent guest.
By Leah McLaren - Monday, May 9, 2011 at 12:10 PM -
‘On April 29, a duchess was made and a star was born,’ declared the British press. Pippa took it in stride.
They don’t call her Perfect Pippa for nothing.
When Kate Middleton arrived at Westminster Abbey on the morning of her wedding, there was a collective gasp around the globe. The bride was radiant, to be sure, but so was the maid of honour, trailing her sister in a slinky frock that slipped and sizzled in contrast to the bride’s demure lace sheath.
In one moment, Philippa Charlotte Middleton stole the show with her now much-replayed bend at the waist to straighten her sister’s nine-foot train. It was an act of sisterly love and bridal attendance to be sure, but one that also inspired a torrent of lust from red-blooded men the world over.
By Stephanie Findlay- Monday, May 9, 2011 at 11:50 AM -
Pippa’s show-stealing behind, the frowning flower girl and Bea’s batty headgear dominated Web chatter
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images; National News/KEYSTONE PRESS; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Image
When Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles got married in 2005, Facebook had just extended its membership eligibility to high school students, YouTube was in its nascency, Twitter didn’t exist, and no one really knew how to live-stream video. Fast-forward six years, to a brave new world. Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding set online viewership records, dominated social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and created instant Internet stars.
The big winner? Live-streaming video providers. Livestream, which provided online video for the Associated Press and CBS, said the royal wedding was its most popular stream ever, with 300,000 concurrent viewers. Yahoo also saw big gains: its royal video stream exceeded the record set by Michael Jackson’s funeral by 21 per cent. “Consuming video on the Internet is an increasingly complementary choice to broadcast TV, even when the event is available on TV,” according to Jennifer Donovan, spokesperson for Akamai, another Web streaming service. (The official royal channel provider, YouTube, expected an unprecedented 400 million viewers, though the numbers aren’t yet in.)
Major television networks, too, are finally leveraging social media to their advantage. Indeed, being on every platform—namely Facebook and Twitter—is becoming a necessity: “It’s about providing people with information they want in the format they want it,” says Wendy Rozeluk, a Google representative in Toronto. “One of the advantages is the ongoing commentary that people can make, as well as the participation people can have with an event.”
By Jessica Allen- Monday, May 9, 2011 at 11:35 AM -
Key ingredients for the wedding-day feasts—aside from the French bubbly—were sourced from the royal realm
Bubble and squeak, smoked-haddock fish cakes, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding sounds more like dinner with Jaime Oliver than with the newly minted duke and duchess of Cambridge. But in keeping with the overarching narrative of this royal wedding, where everything from Kate’s dress to the ceremony has been steeped in tradition, British patriotism reigned supreme at the afternoon reception that immediately followed the newlyweds’ two pecks. At the reception, hosted by the Queen, at least 10,000 canapés in 24 varieties—prepared for the 650 guests by 21 chefs led by royal chef Mark Flanagan—were topped with ingredients showcasing the bounty of Britain’s produce. That’s 16 canapés per guest, for those keeping score.
The bubble and squeak (a hash made from leftovers of a roast-beef dinner) was topped with confit of lamb shoulder, the lamb raised at the Queen’s own Windsor estate; the goat cheese stuffed into the roulades was sourced from Britain-based cheesemonger Paxton and Whitfield; and the smoked haddock for the fish cakes, crowned with pea guacamole, arrived from the east coast of Scotland. Even the organic celery salt dusting the quail eggs was made in Wales. In fact, nearly all the canapés’ ingredients were sourced from the royal realm, including English asparagus, rhubarb and crayfish, duck from Gressingham, langoustines from the northwest coast of Scotland and pork from the Cotswolds.
To wash it down, only French bubbly, of course, would do, speciﬁcally Pol Roger reserve. For those who didn’t fancy champagne—including both Prince Charles and his father Philip—a selection of other soft and alcoholic drinks were available. The guests sashayed through 19 state rooms echoing with music by Claire Jones, the official harpist, and nibbled on the canapés buffet-style. After all, even the Queen doesn’t own a table fit for 650.
By macleans.ca- Monday, May 2, 2011 at 12:05 PM -
12 million Canadians were up early on Friday to watch Kate and William tie the knot
A full 38 per cent of Canadians watched at least some royal wedding coverage, and 5.22 million were tuned in from 6 to 8:30 am. The most dedicated watchers were in Atlantic Canada, where 56 per cent of residents tuned in to coverage at some point, while only 13 per cent of British Columbians—who would have had to get up at 3 am to catch the show—watched. Reports have U.S. numbers at just under 23 million viewers, while an estimated 2.2 billion tuned in worldwide, compared to only 750 million for the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana.
By Claire Ward- Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 4:33 PM -
George Pimentel had the best spot in front of Buckingham Palace
(George Pimentel for Maclean's magazine)
Q: How would you describe this assignment?
A: It was the highlight of my life. Definitely the best thing I’ve ever photographed. There was so much pressure to get this shot.
Q: How did you wind up in front of Buckingham Palace?
A: At the time I applied, there were ten positions to choose from. You couldn’t be everywhere. You had to pick one spot. You could be at Buckingham Palace, the church, the Mall—all these designated areas. My first choice was obviously…well for me, it was always about the kiss.
CLICK HERE TO SEE HIS PHOTOS
Q: So where did they put you?
A: Where we were standing, the balcony was about 400 feet away. Which is quite far. Even with the longest lens, they’re still going to be small in the frame. It was very difficult on a technical note…. When I first got to the riser, they had my position marked. All I had was a card with a number on it. I didn’t know where I’d be standing. It was a crapshoot. If you were on the left side, you wouldn’t get a clear shot. The gate would be in your way. So they had a lottery process. And I got lucky! I got, well Maclean’s magazine got, the best position. They put me dab in the middle. I wasn’t even a yard over. I had a huge advantage over everyone.
Q: Why was the kiss an important moment for you?
A: I just think it sums it up. When you look back at Diana and Charles—I studied all those photos—it’s just so iconic. There were a million people below me screaming ‘Kiss, kiss, kiss’. That photo—it’s about history. It’s a photo I’ll be able to pass down to my grandchildren. After they kissed, there was this moment when all the photographers shook hands. We all looked at each other and we knew we got it.
Q: Why did they kiss for a second time?
A: I don’t think the fans were satisfied with the kiss. It was very staged. I could see in my lens when I was shooting, I think I saw his lips say “Are you ready?”. So they knew they were going to do it. It was romantic and graceful. But it happened way too early. It’s like they got it out of the way. Then the fans waited a couple of minutes and started chanting again. There was definitely more feeling on the second kiss.
Q: Did the little girl [Grace Van Cutsem] covering her ears ruin your perfect shot?
A: Not at all, she added to it. There’s always something funny in these moments. It made it a quirky shot. It was just so cute. When the kiss happened, the crowd roared and she put her hands over her ears like she was startled.
Q: What was your most memorable moment from the whole assignment?
A: That would be the first time I saw Kate Middleton, which was the night before. I got word that she was going to the Goring Hotel to check in, which is literally a minute away from my hotel. So my wife and I went for a walk and we saw all the photographers in front of the hotel, and we decided to stay. When Kate got out of the car, she was just stunning. I’m so used to celebrities and their big entourages, their attitudes—the Lady Gagas and the Angelinas. But she got out of the car with just her mom and sister. She smiled, she waved—she embraced her fans and embraced the media. I thought that was so classy. It was just such a nice, simple and pleasant moment. She looked like she was really enjoying this. The most famous woman of that week just acted like a real person. I realized that this was the last time she’d be photographed like this, on her own and single. Maybe this time next year you won’t be able to get anywhere near her. So that was a highlight.
[transcript has been edited for length]
By macleans.ca- Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 1:57 PM -
George Pimentel’s latest snaps of Prince William and Kate Middleton on their wedding day
Click on a thumbnail to enter gallery
By macleans.ca- Friday, April 29, 2011 at 1:55 PM -
No, it’s not Pippa, but Wills’ goddaughter
It was all a little much for three-year-old Grace Van Cutsem, William’s goddaughter. While Kate and William, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, exchanged a kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, little Grace put her hands over her ears, presumably blocking out the sound from the screaming hoards of royalists below. According to Vanity Fair, she’s also Prince William’s goddaughter and the great-great-great-granddaughter of William Waldorf Astor. And now, thanks to her cute furrowed brow, she’s an internet sensation (see bottom link).
By macleans.ca- Friday, April 29, 2011 at 10:11 AM -
Scotland Yard cordons off anarchists during wedding ceremony
Police responded to anarchists masking up in central London by throwing a section 60 cordon around the royal wedding zone, which allows them to stop and search anyone without discretion, The Guardian reports. By imposing a section 60a, they were also given the power to remove masks and balaclavas from anyone within that zone. At least one arrest was made after plainclothes officers encountered an individual who started singing, “We all live in a fascist regime” to the tune of “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine”, and by 12:45 p.m. London time, 43 arrests had been made across the royal wedding exclusion zone. Scotland Yard reported the section 60 order was made after people were seen putting on masks. 5,000 officers, including a 1,000-strong rapid response team, have been deployed. Also, in a pre-emptive action earlier this week, officers raided five London apartments and one in Hove, arresting 21 people who were later released and bailed, although they remained barred from the City of Westminster on Friday.
By Jaime Weinman- Friday, April 29, 2011 at 9:42 AM -
I for one will be interested to find out how many people around the world watched the wedding on the television box, and how many more streamed it over the internet tubes. A lot, obviously; that we know. It also seems to be a foregone conclusion that it will be more, probably a lot more, than the approximately 750 million viewers who watched the Charles/Diana nuptials. Some sources are predicting 3 billion viewers, and since my mind is not made to process numbers larger than the viewership of American Idol, I can barely fathom such a number, let alone whether it’s plausible. But this is a major television event, even if not a great deal happened.
We think of television as being more fragmented today than it was when Charles and Di got married, but to some extent that’s only true of scripted programming, where we can all choose the shows we want on the channels we want. Where a show offers something unique that cannot be duplicated – there’s only one Super Bowl, only (for now!) one English monarchy – combined with something a lot of people want to see, the numbers can be bigger than ever.
Update: Early reports suggest that the multi-billion viewer estimates were not plausible. It’s still big – thanks to the presence of more different channels all carrying the same event, the U.S. viewership surpassed the number for Charles and Diana. But it looks for the moment like the the 2-3 billion estimates from “British officials” may have been either wishful thinking or just a way of getting extra publicity in advance. It worked, too.
One thing that has changed a bit since the days of Chuck n’ Di: the coverage is much less frenzied. Really. I know that sounds strange. But the coverage of Charles and Di was the culmination of a long tradition of obsessive coverage of royal marriages, one that went back far enough that Cole Porter wrote a whole song in a 1932 Broadway musical making fun of it: “What will become of our England,” an English butler laments, “when the Prince of Wales finds a wife?” (The idea being that the Prince’s search for love – and every woman’s dream of marrying a prince – is the only thing the media cares about when it comes to England, and when he’s married off, the whole country is doomed.) The collapse of Charles and Diana’s marriage, and the backlash against the tabloids that followed Diana’s death, has caused the media on both sides of the ocean to be a little more circumspect: there’s still lots of talk about fairy-tale romance, but it’s tempered by a fear of going too far and hyping the marriage too much. This article in the Los Angeles Times explains it in a little more detail:
For the most part, the news media have been much more respectful of William, 28, and his privacy, striking agreements with the palace on photo ops and the extent of their encroachment on his life as a teenager, a university student and now a young man in military service.
“They’re very conscious of the fact that this boy is the son of Diana, and they don’t want to be unnecessarily offensive,” Greenslade said.
At the same time, the palace has learned how to run a tighter PR operation. The prelude to Friday’s wedding has been a master class in providing a slow drip-feed of information to the media (Today the identity of the cake maker! Tomorrow a look at the royal carriage!) while preventing major leaks. Only the royal household, the Middletons and their confidants know, for example, the true cost of the wedding or who designed the bride’s dress, which has become the object of almost fetishistic speculation.
Finally, I would be remiss in not pointing out that the saddest corporation during any royal wedding is the company that theoretically owns the movie Royal Wedding. It would be so incredibly exploitable, except that the film is one of the ones that fell into the public domain, meaning that anyone can show it on TV, release it on cheap DVDs or post it on the Internet. It’s not a particularly good musical anyway except for the famous dancing on the ceiling sequence (casting Winston Churchill’s daughter was a bad choice), but still, it is the ultimate royal marriage tie-in movie.
By John Fraser - Friday, April 29, 2011 at 6:00 AM -
Now they’re both in waiting. Whoever prevails, there’s never been a better time to renew our royal roots
Highnesses-in-Training greet Monarch of the North" © Charles Pachter 2011
Everything is in readiness for Prince William to receive Catherine Middleton on Friday, April 29, when she takes the long walk down Westminster Abbey’s storied nave and they pledge to each other “to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.”
The RAF trumpeters will be standing ready for their post-signing fanfare; the princess-to-be managed to get herself confirmed into the Church of England in the nick of time; Prince Harry will be planning some sort of practical joke in the manner of the better sort of best men; and the Middletons, père et mère, have probably worked out what on Earth they will say to the Prince of Wales and Camilla, duchess of Cornwall as they ride together during the carriage ride from the Abbey to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony.
Most of the burning questions of the day will have been answered by the day’s end, from the name of the fashion designer who got to make the Dress of Dresses to whether or not the bride’s over-the-top millionaire uncle (his colourful-sounding residence on the Spanish island of Ibiza is called La Casa de Bang-Bang) behaved himself at the palace. The only real question that can’t be answered, despite all the royalist hoopla, is whether or not William will ever be king. That’s king as in King of Canada.
By macleans.ca- Friday, April 29, 2011 at 5:42 AM -
Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot in London
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