Royal Wedding: Big day turn on or switch off?

1982: Prince William is introduced to the world
1982: Prince William is introduced to the world
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WILL you or won’t you be watching the Royal Wedding? Here The Star’s columnists, Jo Davison and Martin Smith, go head-to-head with opposing opinions on the marriage of Willaim and Kate.

But we also want to know what you thin- so leave a comment belolw.

We'll agree to disagree: Royalist Jo Davison and grumpy-old-man Martin Smith.   Pictures: Steve Parkin

We'll agree to disagree: Royalist Jo Davison and grumpy-old-man Martin Smith. Pictures: Steve Parkin

JO DAVISON WRITES: I can’t wait to sit down and watch the event of the year.

THE dress?

Honestly, I couldn’t care less whether it’s lean and lacy, or as full and flounced as that of the mother-in-law she will never have.

The certainty is it will be white, long, very expensive – and as stunningly elegant as the woman wearing it.

Will it all end in tears?: It's Wills and Kate's first tiff, isn't it?

Will it all end in tears?: It's Wills and Kate's first tiff, isn't it?

But don’t take that as a lack of enthusiasm for the biggest Royal event since ... er, the funeral of the bridegroom’s mother. (Let’s not go into that just yet).

I will be one of the global two billion watching Kate marry William, seal her destiny as the future Queen of England (divorce, abdication or republican coup not withstanding), and turn the fairytale ending of every girl’s wistful childhood dream into a reality.

I wouldn’t miss it. All that pomp, ceremony and spectacle, for which the British are top of the world; all that feel-good factor and sense of belonging? It does it for me.

The misery guts moaning it’s a waste of money are surely missing the point; every wedding is, if you choose to look at it through cynical and totally unromantic eyes. But fundamentally, a wedding is a celebration of love and commitment. And even if you don’t believe in either the monarchy, or the need for a wedding certificate, you surely want to believe in that, don’t you? Otherwise, what have you got?

The royal couple, William and Kate

The royal couple, William and Kate

And, of course, this marital union is a modern landmark. A beautiful commoner becoming a princess because the handsome prince fell under her spell when they were both students; it’s an incredible story.

It’s proof that love can still win out, even in this cynical old world. Even in a family which should have dysfunctional as its middle name. In German and triple-barrelled.

So this Friday, from some ridiculously early hour on a very welcome day off, I will be sitting in front of the TV, curtains drawn against any distracting burst of April sunshine, most likely with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat.

I think Kate is perfect princess material, but it isn’t her story I want to see concluded at the altar of Westminster Abbey. It’s William’s.

Centuries of tradition: A flashback to the young princes with mum Diana

Centuries of tradition: A flashback to the young princes with mum Diana

For me, and I suspect for every mother in the land, it’s all about the boy.

He got me at that first hello, when Diana, looking so young and full of hope, proudly presented him to the world the day after his birth.

I was of the Diana Generation; we were the same age. I married two years after her and, if I recall, I just beat her to the divorce courts.

To us she wasn’t an icon, she was one of us, only posher. Most of us found that, no matter how high your hopes and expectations of life, love and husbands, you don’t always get what you wish for.

In the same way we’d clasped her to our bosoms, we felt a rush of affection for her little princes. Like proud maternal aunts, we watched William grow into a solemn little dead-ringer for Christopher Robin, then a toothy eight-year-old and a bashful teen who, with his chubby-cheeks, downward gaze and floppy fringe, looked so like his mother.

And then we all lost her. The Diana Generation broke their hearts over the sight of William and Harry, stooping to read the floral tributes left for their mother, then just days later, numbly walking behind her coffin.

I want to see him walk to his happily ever-after. To watch him exchange vows with the beautiful girl he has had the common-sense and the strength of character to choose for himself. A woman who, it seems to me, is courageous and sensible enough to realise that the reality of her storybook romance will be a hell of a lot harder than anyone could possibly predict. But a woman who wants to be William’s wife so she can help him through it all, from Friday forward.

It’s corny but true; I feel that all the women watching this wedding are doing it on Diana’s behalf. It’s her pride I’ll feel for him and her approval for the girl following in her footsteps.

Without her, we could now be looking at an aloof, emotionally-stunted heir to the throne preparing to marry someone chosen for him because she fitted the Royal tick-list.

The woman they all had down as deranged and dangerous turned the British monarchy human.

The union of William and Kate; it is Diana’s lasting legacy.

MARTIN SMITH WRITES: Sorry, I’m busy that day...

How can so many people be wrong at the same time?

Two billion around the world are expected to watch the royal wedding on TV tomorrow.

How can so many fall for the great fairy-tale lie of the British royal family?

Why would anyone want to celebrate the continuation of 1,000 years of debauchery, in-breeding, institutionalised womanising, gambling, political chicanery and wild spending?

The continuing soap opera of the monarchy is an insult to us as a nation

It makes money?

So does Rolls-Royce, the Premier League and Marks and Spencer but we don’t get a day off to watch them on television.

I say don’t look. Go into Derbyshire for a walk, work in the garden, clean the car, tackle that dusty corner, open a bottle of wine and sit in the shed with a good book.

Do anything, but don’t watch, even if you have to build a a bunting-proof bunker in your back garden.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the royals.

Despite their lead-weight around our nation’s neck I wouldn’t go in for any Bolshevik-style solutions in a cellar.

They could be pensioned off and hired to give guided tours of the palaces and houses they used to live in – like retired footballers who show people round football grounds and tell amusing anecdotes in the executive suite.

Their wealth would go to urgent national projects, their vast estates of land, stockpiles of art and jewellery would be on permanent public display.

Nothing would be destroyed or wasted.

On another, far lower level, that Catherine’s a bit tasty. 25 years ago I reckon I would have had a chance.

All I would have needed was to have been posh, rich, better connected and not in any way me.

I’d have been in there like a Duke at a debutants’ ball, so to speak.

The royals haven’t always given us days off to celebrate their nuptials. They didn’t care what we thought and we threw rotten fruit at them.

Charles I didn’t even turn up to his wedding, he sent a surrogate in his place.

Henry VIII’s short-lived marriage to Anne of Cleves was nullified because Henry believed she was misrepresented in the picture he was shown of her.

If only he’d been able to check her out on Facebook.

The divine right of kings has been replaced by the divine right of the public to gawp at kings.

But why would anyone want to watch this over-privileged pair create £20million worth of security alert in London just to legitimise their liaison?

If he’s anything like his dad he’ll be off with an old flame in a couple of years and she will succumb, eyelashes fluttering, to a Major or the captain of the England rugby team in a fit of self-pity.

She is just another beautiful but unexceptional individual thrown in to a looking-glassed, secret-passaged, ritualised royal existence, to be held up to forensic inspection by the world, found to be human after all and sacrificed so the whole liveried and boot-blacked charade can rumble on.

Don’t you think it’s time we grew up and stopped doffing our caps, bowing and scraping to a strange and dysfunctional family of toffs?

I do, as they will say tomorrow.

Some clever German bloke, not related to our royal family, once said: “Nothing is worth more than this day.”

He was right.

And nothing is worth more than this Friday, certainly not a royal wedding.

Enjoy your day off.

* See The Star this Saturday for a 12-page Royal Wedding Retro souvenir supplement - then, on Tuesday, enjoy an eight-page Your Royal Wedding pull-out only in The Star,