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Sweatpants & Culture | A Royal Wedding

By Julia Park Tracey

I won’t say I’m giddy, but I am pretty darned excited about the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and soon-to-be-princess Meghan Markle. The big day is Saturday, and we commoners can watch from home in the predawn hours (click here to see what time the event takes place in your region). This will be my fourth royal wedding (after Charles, Andrew, and William), and it’s giving me deep thoughts as well as shallow ones.

I come by my Anglophilia honestly; almost all of my family lines head back to England or Scotland (there are a few that get lost in Germany, but they say the British royal family is as much German as it is English, so no matter). My mother is such a fan of royal weddings that she went to the hospital three days early to have my elder sister; Princess Margaret’s wedding was slated for May 6, 1960, and my mom wasn’t going to miss it because of a little thing like childbirth! I stayed up late to watch Charles and Diana wed (I was in college), and got up early to see Andrew and Sarah, and Will and Kate (I had kids!).

But, as I say, I’m thrilled at the upcoming nuptials, and here are some reasons:

The dress: It spawns an industry of copycats and wannabes. Royals are trendsetters, and who doesn’t want to look like a princess or prince on her/his wedding day? I remember leafing through the Simplicity and McCall’s patterns book for months after Charles wed Diana, just gazing at the poofy-sleeved gowns that Diana’s dress inspired. Puff sleeves and ruffles were de rigueur for years afterward. #longlivethe80s

The British know how to do pomp and circumstance right. Whether it’s a royal wedding or a royal funeral, they know how to do it with grace and style. Is it the accent? Or the stiff upper lip? #anglophile

It’s nice to know that royals have the same kinds of ups and downs that we commoners do – whether it’s wedding day disasters like Diana spilling perfume on her white dress, or messy divorces, or the unquenchable ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, who drove her in-laws crazy. #oneofus #teamFergie

Fairy tale carriages are real. #pumpkin #midnight

Romance is so…romantic. (And we appreciate programs like Victoria to remind us that true love is real.) #somedaymyprincewillcome

We’ve loved watching the little princes grow up and it feels like we have earned the right to see them get married. #princecharming

Controversies abound in wedding planning. It’s always a little spicy to watch them unfold on TV or in the tabloids when it’s a royal getting jabbed. If you’ve followed the Netflix show The Crown, you learned about Princess Margaret’s heartbreak when she wasn’t allowed to marry her sweetheart, Group Captain Peter Townsend, because he was divorced. She wed Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowden, but bitterness remained. #soulmates

Despite the Disney Princess trope being shoved down our throats every time we go to Target or turn on the TV, British princesses sometimes grow up to be queens, and though these women might have to put up with a lot of scrutiny and protocol, they are no pushovers. Never doubt that Her Majesty the Queen has a spine of steel and a will of iron, and that the next queen, be it Camilla (doubtful) or Katherine, is sure to be as steadfast. There’s a reason why royal spouses are looked on with such gimlet eyes – they have to be ready to take on the world. And not everyone <koff Sarah Ferguson koff> is up to it. #mumsofsteel

Who doesn’t want to be queen for a day? Who doesn’t want to sit in the big chair? Who doesn’t want to imagine she or he has everything they could wish for, anything they desire, at a single command? A wedding day gives you that, or feels like it, but add royalty on top, and you have a frosted delight that makes the world go crazy. Look for memorabilia in junk shops for years to come – a Charles and Diana spoon rest? Tea towels with Meghan’s face on them? My mother owns a cake plate featuring George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the great-grandparents of William and Harry. #tchotchkesgalore

Happiness for Harry at last. In recent years Harry has opened up about his mental health struggles with depression and anxiety, issues he’s had since the death of his mother. I watched the funeral of Princess Diana, that tragic white flower arrangement that said “Mummy” on top of her casket breaking my heart. The young princes followed her bier, their slim shoulders bowed with grief, leaving us weeping for them. To see young Harry grown up, having found his true love, and taking marriage vows will feel good to this Royal watcher. My heart sings for him instead of weeps, and I can’t wait to see him smile afterward. Long live Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and I wish them much joy. #teamHarry

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About Julia Park Tracey (32 Articles)
Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, blogger and author. She has written for Redbook, Salon, and many other publications. She is Poet Laureate emeritus of Alameda, CA, and an alum of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Find her on social media @juliaparktracey.

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