Jilly: Did You Watch the Royal Wedding? Why?

I’m writing this post on Saturday morning. I plan to be finished around 11.30am UK time. Then I’ll grab a cup of coffee, fire up the BBC’s live streaming and watch Meghan Markle marry Prince Harry and become Duchess of Sussex.

According to the BBC television commentators, the global audience for Harry and Meghan’s happy day may be more than a billion people.

A billion? Why?

Harry’s a royal prince, and there aren’t many of those around anymore. He’s Princess Diana’s son. He’s young, rich, nice looking, an ex-soldier who served in Afghanistan and who is now actively engaged in supporting charities that help former members of the armed forces and their families, environmental projects, and other worthwhile causes. He’s said to be liked and respected by his peers.

Meghan is young, beautiful and American. She’s a person of color, an actress and social activist. She’s been married before. She seems smart, strong, and interesting.

They strike me as good people. They appear to be well matched and crazy in love. It’s a beautiful, feelgood story in these days of fake news and global saber-rattling, but is it necessary for them to plight their troth in front of a global TV audience, with all the associated expense, pomp, circumstance, and media feeding frenzy regarding every tiny detail of the occasion? Harry is now sixth in line to the throne and his marriage isn’t a state occasion. Would he and his fiancée have preferred to exchange vows privately, in front of just their families and friends? I hope they’re truly happy to share their commitment with the world.

My interest in the ceremony is partly patriotic, definitely for the spectacle, absolutely for the hit of happy, but also writerly.

From a purely story perspective, and especially from a romance writing angle, I’m thrilled that they have decided to make a public event of their marriage, because it’s a visible expression of what I feel is the best of my home country: ancient traditions that shape and adapt themselves in response to a changing world.

Sometimes I feel that romance readers want to keep the UK preserved in the past. They love to read about the rakes, governesses, bare-chested Highland chiefs and feisty lassies of yesteryear, but they don’t see that the descendants of all those princes, dukes, earls, and clan chiefs are alive and well and living among us. Those people have held on to their heritage by changing with the times. Jeanne and I just visited a couple of spectacular locations on the Isle of Skye where the clan chiefs have leveraged social media to reconnect with clan members whose families emigrated to the four corners of the globe.

At some point I want to publish a series of contemporary romances set in the UK, exploring the challenges faced by the heirs to all those beloved historical archetypes. When I tested my plan in some local RWA chapter contests a few years ago I had a degree of success, but also met a fair amount of resistance. Now I’m thinking it might be time to try again. Judging by the interest in Harry and Meghan’s wedding, surely I could find a few Brit-loving romance readers who’d be willing to move with the times?

Did you watch coverage of the royal wedding? Why? What are your impressions of the happy couple, and the occasion, and this scepter’d isle?

5 thoughts on “Jilly: Did You Watch the Royal Wedding? Why?

  1. I didn’t watch the live stream (I was hiking in the hills near Cheltenham), but I did watch a mashup of the best moments later. Beautiful ceremony. I hope they are always as un love as they appeared to be yesterday.

    • I thought it was very moving. Gorgeous. It felt true, and they looked totally in love. I hope they have a long and deeply happy marriage.

  2. I wasn’t one of the folks who got up in the middle of the night here in the U.S. to watch the wedding live, but I did watch the rebroadcast later in the day. With all of the bad news that we seem to be constantly bombarded by, watching a real-life “happily-ever-after” story had extra appeal. Besides, I remember watching Charles and Diana get married all those years ago, so there was a little bit of nostalgic-appeal to watch their grown-up Harry get married. I loved how happy they seemed, how excited people who had waited just to catch a glimpse of them were, and of course, the tiny bridesmaids and pages. What an adorable tradition!

    I’m afraid I am one of those romance readers who tends to want to keep the UK preserved in the past, though I’d be happy to make an exception for your series of contemporary romances (whenever they make their appearance). I’m guessing this might be a good time for that.

    I did notice that today the Hallmark Channel had about six different “commoner marries royalty” movies on. You’d think the word was overflowing with handsome, unattached royal males from random countries hiding in plain sight just waiting to fall in love with a random girl.

    • Thank you for agreeing to make an exception for my contemporary romances, whenever they see the light of day. Hopefully I can persuade you to enjoy the modern-day fairytale as well as the historic one. After all, if the royal family didn’t keep changing with the times, yesterday’s beautiful wedding could never have happened 😉

      I really must watch the Hallmark Channel some day. They aren’t *wholly* wrong. There are a surprising number of unattached royal males from random countries hiding in plain sight. Take Crown Prince Fredrik of Denmark. He married Mary Donaldson, an Australian girl he met in a bar in Sydney. Apparently he first introduced himself as “Fred from Denmark.” I’d love to know whether he spilled the beans later or she figured it out. That would have been a scene worthy of a classic historical romance.

  3. (-: I really like contemporary Brit romances. Sophie Kinsella’s books, Bridget Jones’ Diary . . . although, I know these are on the fluffy side for you, Jilly. Part of the fun for me is how the class structure is preserved and ignored.

    I didn’t watch the royal wedding, and I’ve been feeling a bit guilty all week, to tell the truth. This is a blog for romance writers! How often do we get to see a trope play out like this?

    I have seen some of the coverage. Whoo-boy, some of the commenters in the Guardian are very snarky about what they saw! They seem very surprised that The Line Was Not Toed.

    I think this couple may be quite interesting; he’s sixth in line, as you say, so has a certain amount of freedom. I think it would be funny as all-get-out if he winds up moving to California with his bride, and becomes a Hollywood producer or something. Maybe with a winery out in Napa.

    I did enjoy the pictures from Elle. Elle’s editorial staff was just over-the-moon about the whole thing, and while I might feel somewhat uncomfortable gate-crashing the happy couple’s joy, I had a ball observing Elle’s joy and happiness over the whole affair!

    I hope the pair have a lovely marriage, and cope well with all that comes from being royal in the 21st century.

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