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there is no store of intelligence to which young couples can turn



relationships • 29.04.11   

In bygone days there were a lot of things I was indifferent to, a position I reflect back on as luxurious. As an angry old sod now there are too many issues in the world that make me bristle. Mercifully, royals doing their thing is not one of them. I see them as slaves to tradition, all the privileges gained are balanced by the burdens. I bear them no ill will.

Actually there is something oddly pleasing about today’s occasion, it being rare for any event to bring a sense of national feeling. And agreeable or not, the British royal family represents a long lineage, a chunk of historical continuity. The Brits are far from alone using terms like Victorian, Georgian or Edwardian in meaningful ways. That the old institution has been stripped of its political muscle renders it a pretty harmless instrument of state, there for symbolic value only, akin to a museum piece.

Moreover today is about the newly-wed Windsors, William and Kate. How will their relationship be? No one knows of course, not even them. My guess is that they will have a better married life than the groom’s parents though that would not be hard. Charles and Diana always looked like a disaster in the making.

Interestingly, I watched Abi Morgan’s brilliant film, Royal Wedding, the other day which used footage of Charles and Di as a backdrop to a story about relationship life in a small Welsh community. How naive and clueless the characters were about their love lives, just like the young Princess about to embrace her regal future, clueless of how lonely she would be in a troubled union, clueless that she was entering a vortex, that she was embarking on a journey that would take her from the fantasy of marital bliss all the way to her tragic end in a Paris underpass. Morgan’s point was clear: idiocy presides when it comes to romance.

Yes none of us knows our fate. We go forward only in hope. I would like to think that over thirty years, knowledge might have been gained to impart to the emergent generation about how to do it right, but I doubt it. There is no store of cultural intelligence available to which young couples can turn for relationship values. If Will and Kate work out it will be from their own endeavour or simply a throw of the dice and not from any wisdom that has been acquired from the transgressions of their forebears.

I saw a satirical sketch last night where the interviewers asked Snow White and Cinderella for tips to give to the betrothed. That’s about right I thought. That about sums up the mentality of approach when it comes to matters of matrimony royal or otherwise.