Unless you live under a rock, you may have heard that Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement yesterday. I’m as happy for them as I am for any complete strangers who choose to get married. Good luck to them, I say, but I can’t pretend that I care.
However, if the British press is to be believed, I’m a freak for not starting to design my outfit and plan a street party to celebrate the blessed event. This is the Telegraph’s online coverage of the story, barely 24 hours after the announcement. To keep things accurate, I’m writing this on the afternoon of 17 November and, at present, there are no fewer than 89 different links to stories about this couple, the vast majority of which take you to stories written in the past day. That number doesn’t include various pieces written by regular columnists. Perhaps a trifle excessive? In the spirit of ‘when in Rome…’, I’m delighted to report that the chief executive of next year’s New Zealand-based Rugby World Cup has offered his congratulations by inviting the happy couple of coincide their honeymoon with the event. Never let it be said that the grass grows under a Kiwi’s feet. As the Telegraph notes:
Prince William, whose grandmother Queen Elizabeth II remains the official head of state in New Zealand, reportedly expressed an interest in attending the World Cup when he visited the former British colony in January.
His fiancee’s views on spending her honeymoon watching the All Blacks perform the haka and England fans belt out boozy renditions of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” are not known.
The Telegraph is a traditional, old-school newspaper, so their royal hysteria isn’t entirely unexpected. The more left-wing papers have been significantly calmer. As I write this, the Guardian’s ‘royal engagement’ section boasts 29 stories, which makes me wonder what type of rabid republicians it employs. The Independent doesn’t even have a dedicated section for stories about the couple, telling you all you need to know about their coverage (yes, they seem to realise that there are still other things going on in the world). At present, I count a mere five front page links to relevant stories. Their editor shouldn’t expect an invitation to the shin-dig.
The BBC has responded to its role as the state-funded broadcaster by going completely flipping mental and filling this morning’s breakfast news coverage with wall to wall wedding stories, seemingly oblivious to the fact that most sensible adults would like to know about the economy, young carers, the London Living Wage, or any other of the plethora of important stories which have been pushed from the public eye in the wake of this news. Its ‘royal wedding’ section features video and audio coverage and numerous pieces of analysis and reaction pieces. The Queen is, apparently, delighted by the news. Imagine: a grandmother happy to hear that her grandson is getting married! That really is remarkable. What did they think she was likely to say, in reaction to the news?
I can’t even be bothered unearthing all of the coverage on the Daily Mail website, but I would like to share with you this piece by Liz Jones, an absolute lunatic. Early in the article she says:
Kate will have to ditch, overnight, much that she loves: the long, scuffed boots and woolly or fishnet tights. The sequins. The awful, ubiquitous baseball cap. The skinny jeans and wedge shoes. Wearing a Topshop dress on her birthday. The wraparound shades — we need to see her eyes.
Later, she goes on to advise:
Most of all, she will have to stop not being too bothered and simply pulling on something nondescript in black from Next.
However, Liz also says that:
She needs to develop her own style, her own taste and to be a little bit brave.
And finally, great advice from a journalist who, despite her enormous salary, regularly tells the world her about dire financial situation, caused by her complete inability to cut her cloth to suit her means (follow that link and you’ll join me in wanting to track down Liz Jones and give her a slap around the chops):
My best piece of advice? Ignore all the politically correct doom-mongers who will insist she shows restraint in these austere times: Princess Primark will not do at all.
Great advice to a public figure who will be part of an institution already being urged to spend a little less excessively during these straitened times (questions about who will pay for the wedding are already being raised, and I hope that the answer is ‘Prince Charles and Mr Middleton’).
Anyway, I’m sure that this is only the start of the crazy wedding coverage, so I might draw your attention to ridiculous wedding-related news as it crops up. It’s important that we all share in this great and meaningful event. The Daily Mash put it perfectly and also provided the added service of bringing together some of the more cringe-worthy media comments (all snarky one-liners written by the Daily Mash):
Each and every one of us will be deeply affected by the looming royal marriage… (Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph)
In an important sense, this betrothal has far more to teach a new generation about relationships – and fidelity, too. (Bel Mooney, Daily Mail)
As somebody whose business it is to study the human heart… (Bel Mooney, Daily Mail – she actually wrote those words)
Today we are wiser and perhaps more humane. The unrealistic expectations that destroyed Charles and Diana have gone. (Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph – he’s playing a blinder)
It is rare these days that we glimpse broad sunlit uplands, but this is one such moment. (Daily Telegraph editorial – sweet f*cking Jesus)
And the winner is (obviously)…
Diana, the bride at every royal funeral and the mourner at every royal wedding, was present in more than just the engagement ring which sat so heavily on the hand of this young woman who must now walk a mile in her bloodied shoes, on a road leading who knows where. (Julie Burchill, The Independent)
Who edits these munters? In that final quote, it should be ‘the engagement ring that sat so heavily’. Duh.