I love a good wedding, but I wasn’t invited at the weekend so I cleaned the windows instead. Nonetheless, catching up on clips of the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton’s nuptials, the healing quality of the images were undeniable. Weddings force participants to smile and drink, pastimes which in combination are guaranteed to result in feelings of happiness and well-being. Indeed, on a national scale, only two things have the capacity to bring people together in spite of their differences: Royal families and football. With David Beckham in the audience, this weekend’s happy event gamely tried to cover all bases.
Look at Belgium, a state that some claim barely has a right to exist. Yet it unites to celebrate and castigate its royals, and come the World Cup they will celebrate the Red Devils dumping England out at the group stage. Scots should seriously consider getting on board.
But this wedding did something more. With debate about modern Britain as divisive as ever, the nation’s image was reflected with blinding clarity from unlikely direction. There was companionship between different races and nations, not just between the royal couple, but touchingly between Prince Charles and Doria Ragland, two people with as little in common as any in St George’s Chapel but united as lone parents supporting their children.
And although it wasn’t by design, the performances by a London gospel choir and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason were a rebuke to the treatment of Britain’s minorities as strangers in their own country.
There are those who, in everyday life, would lash out at such sentiments, but in the context of a royal wedding, all such objections are quieted. Little else could do that.