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Royal Wedding

2011 April 30
by Gordon Reid

I rose this morning at 4 o’clock in order to see the marriage of Prince William of Wales to Miss Catherine Middleton, and frankly I did it reluctantly. But I had an enthusiastic parishioner and an equally enthusiastic house-guest who were determined to watch the wedding; so I joined them in the sitting room, armed with strong coffee, and turned on BBC America.

From that moment till 9 a.m. I was transfixed by the television, except that I  had to leave for half an hour to say  the 7 0′clock Mass. 23 minutes later, I was glued to my seat again. The only  interruption was when a champagne bottle popped and I was forced (first lie!) to quaff a few glasses in honour of the happy couple, and in celebration of how beautifully the Dean of Westminster, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London had played their several parts in the ceremony.

I had the unworthy Schadenfreude of imagining the fury of the  liturgical modernist  brigade at the perfect appropriateness and comprehensiveness of the traditional Prayer Book rite. My second bout of this came later, when I saw the hundreds of thousands of ordinary people crowding the royal parks and the Mall, and especially because the great majority of them were young. So much for those who declare that the young are not interested in royalty and tradition.

When, faint with emotion (and hunger) we ate delicious scrambled eggs on toast, prepared by the worthy Precentor of Norwich Cathedral, I thanked God for all that had happened this day. God save the Queen!

12 Responses leave one →
  1. Afra permalink
    April 30, 2011

    Dear Fr. Gordon,
    First: Happy Easter!
    Next: I’m glad you enjoyed watching the royal wedding. I didn’t wake up to watch it live, but savoured the highlights posted on various websites afterwards.
    I am struck by your remark “so much for those who declare that the young are not interested in royalty and tradition.” I realize your comment was probably meant to be a light-hearted observation; but I would still like to offer an observation of my own. As a “young person” (if I still qualify) whose official head of state is apparently the Queen, I affirm that I am indeed interested in tradition (foremost) and royalty; but, frankly, save for joyous and public celebrations such as a royal wedding, maintaining this interest requires great effort. It is an effort that most of my friends are not willing to make, because their lives justifiably require that efforts be assessed worthy of expenditure, and matters of royalty and religious traditions are deemed unworthy. I understand and sympathize with them, and often feel the same. Royalty and many other types of tradition (of course we must qualify what kind of tradition), appear to have little connection to our lives as we live them. While I try to make the effort to peel back those appearances, because I am aware that traditions have been instrumental in shaping my identity and that of my peers, there is only so far I am willing to go in order to meet tradition where it stands. I’m sure that what I say is nothing new or shocking. But it continues to be a challenge for those (including myself) who do not wish to see their traditions disappear. The truth is that occasions like the wedding of royals provide entertaining distraction–a bit like a Madame Tussaud’s installation come alive for a day. We all want to experience the fairy tale once again. But then it’s back to “real” life.

  2. Michael Zubitis permalink
    April 30, 2011

    Thank you, father, for your kind words! I am so pleased you enjoyed the Service.

    God’s blessings be upon you!

  3. Russell Fuhrman permalink
    May 1, 2011

    I would appreciate your take, Father Reid, on the prominent presence of the two Anglican nuns immediately at Prince William’s right and the clutch of semi-vested Roman Catholic bishops deep in the congregation. I, too, was enchanted by the service and proud to be an Anglican-Rowan Williams looks and speaks like God!

    • May 1, 2011

      The two nuns belong to the Community of the Sisters of the Church. They have been appointed as Chaplains in the Abbey, with the duty of welcoming visitors. I believe they do a very fine job of this. It was a bit odd that they were so prominently positioned, but nevertheless a good reminder that the Church of England has monks, friars and nuns.

      • Russell Fuhrman permalink
        May 1, 2011

        Thank you, Father Reid, for answering the first part of my question. Might you have any thoughts on the second part wherein it appears to this layman that the semi-vested Roman Catholic bishops were placed in the congregation with the laity. Might this reflect the current chilliness between the two Faiths? Of course, even they fared better than the two previous Labour prime ministers who were not even invited-and, frankly, nobody believes they weren’t because they aren’t members of the Garter.

        • Paul Goings permalink
          May 2, 2011

          Semi-vested? They looked to me like they were wearing the Abito Piano, which is not vested in any way, but their ordinary dress.

  4. Chris Bates permalink
    May 3, 2011

    Speaking as a product of 12 yrs. of RC grammar school, I was comforted at the sight of pious and devout nuns during the wedding. Would that some RC nuns dress like it in this country. It is such an incredible witness and committment to the Church.

  5. Bob Warsham permalink
    May 5, 2011

    Dear Canon:

    Thanks for identifing the Sister’s who sat next to the royal couple. I also remember them being present during the visit of Benedict XVI and I was considering emailing the Abbey to inquire as to their part in Abbey life.

    Best wishes,

    Bob Warsham

  6. John Reilly permalink
    May 5, 2011

    Father: The ceremony was sober and pious, reminding the couple, and the watching world, of the gravity of marriage. I was startled for a moment when I thought I spotted reliquaries on the altar, as at S. Clement’s, but alas it was only church plate.

    The RC priests I surveyed in Lourdes, Irish and American, all agreed it was beautifully done. They hoped it might encourage good taste, which they tell me is in short supply at modern weddings.


  7. Stacey permalink
    May 15, 2011

    I’m another “young person” who finds royalty and tradition fascinating. I was 11 when Diana and Charles wed. When I was older, I studied the history of British royalty. Then I studied the Anglican Church. Then I actually became an Anglican!

  8. Michael Arrington permalink
    May 21, 2011

    I also got up to watch it on BBC America, and recorded the whole thing (close to six hours worth!)

  9. Georges of Burgos permalink
    July 22, 2011

    As a young Roman Catholic, I´m very interested in royalty, because understood as the Church has always done, they are one of the choicest ghifts of God Almighty, the Anointed to Reign and RULE upon the christians and protect Faith and Holy Church. Sorrily, such a theologically and politically important issue for christians is one of the most ignored, not only by laity, but by clergymen themselves. May the merits and intercession of our most beloved King Charles The Martyr obtain from the Divine Throne light and force in bringing again a Holy King like David or Solomon, Louis of France, Ferdinand of Castile and Leon, Edward the Martyr or the Confessor!

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