Britain: A royal wedding to boost sagging spirits

More than 11 million people tuned in to watch the engagement interview with Prince William and his bride-to-be, Kate Middleton.

“Jaded old cynic that I am, I can’t help but get stupidly excited over the engagement of William and Kate,” said Fiona McIntosh in the Sunday Mirror. And it’s not just me. More than 11 million people tuned in to watch the engagement interview with the prince and his bride-to-be, Kate Middleton, “which just goes to show at heart we’re a nation of hopeless romantics.” Not that this was any sort of surprise. The two 28-year-olds had been dating for nine years, and the tabloids had long ago dubbed Kate “Waity Katie,” since it seemed the prince would never marry her. When he finally popped the question last week, using his doomed mother’s sapphire ring, our hearts thrilled as much as Kate’s. Now the nation has something to look forward to—not the brutal public-spending cuts that were recently announced, but a royal wedding filled with pomp and glamour. “Maybe I’ve read too many fairy tales, but, my God, we need one now.”

And so it begins, said Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian. The press finally has a new “people’s princess” to obsess over. Diana sold millions of newspapers and magazines. And Middleton’s face is “surely bound for the cover of Hello! and OK! every week from now until the wedding and for years afterwards.” Will we ever escape this tedium? It’s going to be “hell on earth,” said Matthew Norman in The Independent. “Barring some heartrending split between this depressingly inoffensive young couple, we’re stuck with months of mawkish drivel from determined royalists and vinegary carping from committed republicans.” Most of us, of course, belong to neither camp. We wish Wills and Kate no ill, but as for the hoopla surrounding their nuptials: Please “make it go away.”

But this wedding might actually have a fairy-tale ending, said Alexander Chancellor in The Guardian. True, Kate is no royal—in fact, she’ll be the first commoner on the throne since the time of James II, whose wife was smuggled in at midnight for the nuptials. But Prince Charles and Prince Andrew chose their brides from among the ranks of lower nobility—and neither Diana nor Sarah Ferguson proved able to handle the pressure and attention of royal life. Both of their marriages ended in scandal and divorce. Kate, though, over nine years as royal girlfriend, “has already shown herself to be more controlled and more discreet than Diana ever was.” Queen Elizabeth is said to be sincerely pleased at the match, and no wonder—“she must already sense that Kate will cause her far less trouble” than her erstwhile daughters-in-law. And Kate’s even prettier than previous royal brides, said Giles Coren in The Times. “Wills has gone out and got us a future queen who can receive the Sarkozys and make Carla Bruni look like second prize in a sack race.”

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