No one has encapsulated my overwhelming sense of ambivalence towards the royal wedding quite like British actress Emma Thompson.
When asked by an interviewer to comment on the upcoming union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the 59-year-old said, “really, I have nothing to say about it.”
“Really?” the interviewer presses, as though he expected her to have some profound insight into the relationship of two people she has never met.
“Really…” she replies, with a look in her eye that says, ‘I care more about what you dreamt last night than I do about this goddamn wedding… and I don’t care what you dreamt about even a little bit.’
“Do you wish them well?” the interviewer probes, and she responds: “Obviously… yes. But I don’t know them? Of course I do. Just stop it. Stop it OK?
“Stop doing the ‘Ooh let’s talk about the royal wedding’…” she says before walking away.
This exchange, particularly the part with the mocking and the yelling and the storming off in a huff, has been my attitude towards the royal wedding since the 27th of November, 2017.
I never watched their engagement interview, and I’ve not seen a picture of Markle’s engagement ring. I couldn’t tell you where the ceremony is taking place, or who is invited.
At this point, after five and a half months of 24 hour coverage, it is surely impossible not to be fatigued.
The bridal party. The possible designers of the dress. The engagement photo shoot. The very strict rules. The invitations. Prince Harry’s unusual hands. The cake. The royal titles. Prince Harry’s decision to wear a ring. The hot wedding photographer. The history behind their wedding date. The guest list. To tiara or not to tiara. The wedding gifts. The dress code.
Indeed, let’s talk about the cost.
Their wedding is set to go down as one of the most expensive in history.
According to British bridal website, Bridebook, the day is expected to cost around £32 million, or AUD$58.3 million. That’s approximately $22 million more than Prince William and Princess Kate’s 2011 wedding.
It’s worth noting that Prince Harry and Markle have set up a charitable gift fund in place of wedding gifts, and though a lot is being spent, a great deal is being donated, too.
But perhaps my exasperation towards the royal wedding also comes from a deep discomfort with the very institution it upholds.
We are supporting a family with an estimated worth, according to Business Insider, of $700 million. For that – you could house every homeless person in the UK for a week. You could hire thousands more nurses. You could provide 10,000 hospital beds. You could invest in education or affordable housing. You could feed millions of hungry mouths.
Despite the growing disparity between rich and poor, and the truth that no one is willing to acknowledge; You are poor because they are rich, we celebrate and encourage this absurd spectacle of conspicuous consumption.
We live in a western democracy that believes in class mobility, achievements based on merit, the rule of law and elected officials. The royal family is the antithesis to everything we value.
Yet we salivate over a royal wedding.
Some people just love weddings of course, and that’s not hurting anyone. I do not begrudge the person planning to buy a $2 tiara from the Dollar Shop, have all her girlfriends over for a royal wedding party, and will cry as Markle walks down the aisle in a dress I’m sure will be remarkable.
It’s entertainment. It’s silly. It brings people together.
But for a great many of us, who have tried our best to keep our lips shut, and wear a polite smile in the midst of all the royal chatter, we cannot wait for this to be over.
Surely we can agree, it’s time we talked about something, anything else.
OK so maybe you don’t care about their wedding, but what if you like weddings in general? We’ve just launched a new podcast called Hitched that’s your non-nonsense guide to planning a wedding without losing your marbles. It starts in two weeks, subscribe to Hitched now.