Princesses, dresses and too much make up

I had sworn to ignore the royal wedding. Yes i live in London, yes i like England but it doesnt doesnt mean i buy into all of the Brits’ oddities. And hardly anything is odder than admiring a bunch of millionaires with no surname who dont even have any real decisional power, which might be for the best, I’m sure, but the point of kings and queens was to rule countries, if they cant do that they are just a decoration, and i truly have no time for people whose job is being part of the furniture…

Plus if there is something about Britain I truly despise is its cast system, and I mean cast as in a social condition you were born in and you’re not supposed to change. I’ve hardly ever seen a country with less social mobility. A country where upper, middle and working class aren’t just denominations based on wealth but labels that mark you for life and that determine the way you speak, move, live, study and marry.

All the talk about Kate Middleton being a “commoner” made me sick. What’s common about somebody whose father is a millionaire and whose lifestyle involves spending thousands of pounds every time she goes out for a drink I really don’t know. Yes she doesn’t have aristocratic blood but I thought since the French revolution we had kind of all got over the idea that kings and princes descend from God, most them descending mainly from thugs who killed their way to the top…
So who cares who William marries?? Provided he’s happy, which is his business not ours, anyone would do.
But no, of course no. So since the engagement’s announcement we’ve been bored with endless discussions about Kate’s family and manners, her affected posh accent, her sense of fashion, her ancestors’ jobs and hundreds of tiresome details.
All this while the Tories cut libraries and hospitals and invaded Libia in their spare time.
Sorry if I wasn’t exactly paying attention to the content of Kate and Wills’ vows…

To be fair most of the Brits I know didn’t care either. Listening to people up to the day before the wedding, you’d think the event would go virtually unnoticed, watched only by Canadian tourists and old ladies from the Home Counties…
But the day came and everyone goes mad. At 10am London looks like a ghost town or a place waiting to be stricken by an air bomber: empty streets, shut down shops, even the Asian people running the corner stores, who usually work 24/7 Christmas and new year included, are on holiday, waiting to watch the Wedding. Street parties are planned to start the moment the splendid couple says “I do” and public transport is paralysed.
I have no choice: I switch on the telly.

What a circus! Better than the oscar night and the Eurovision contest put together! The first people to arrive at the Abby are the commoners, a bunch of “poveracci” – poor sods – like Beckam and Spice, Elton John and boyfriend, David Cameron and wife minus hat coz they are like us, of course, so they go to a royal wedding dressed as if they’re attending their sister’s barbecue in Muswell Hill, pity none of us would dream of going to the prince of England’s wedding in a dress from marks and spencers… Nick Clegg’s wife, uncertain on whether to look posh or common opted for a Cruella Devil’s outfit, just in case there was a 101 Dalmatian tribute party to go to after the service. The humongous geraniums on her head were just a very delicate, subtle detail…

Tony Blair hasn’t been invited, apparently he’s too controversial because of the dirty tricks he allegedly pulled in order to start the Iraq war. This to me seems quite unfair considering Maggie Tatcher is there – not exactly the most popular woman in the country – not to mention a whole row of dictators, tyrants and thugs.

The mother of the bride arrives, the ex British Airways hostess nobody is ever going to forgive. Her sin? Being a social climber of course! Never mind she’s going to be the only person in the Royal entourage who’s ever actually WORKED, which in my opinion makes her more worthwhile than all her soon-to-be relatives.

After this lovely bunch of “normal” specimen have taken their seats, it’s the turn of the minor aristocracy. Those f-un-employed who are as useful to human kind as appendixes to our digestions. Dukes and countesses with names like Tara, Lavinia, Arthur, Hermione… Why can’t an aristocrat be called Hayley? Or Stacey? The group includes princess Beatrice, whose greatest achievement in life so far has been getting drunk in every posh club in the country. She sports a pink hat with a gigantic spermatozoa on top. The single, ugliest piece of accessory human kind has ever seen, probably focused at distracting people’s attention from her far from pretty face… Poor thing, money and aristocracy can’t buy you good looks…

Perhaps she was going to the same party as Nick Clegg’s wife…
Camilla has improved with age, I think. She doesn’t look like a horse anymore, she’s quite dignified. Her relationship with her in laws however is seriously wrong. She has to bow and make a curtesy at her mum in law, whilst her dad in law gives her snog! Honestly, he DID. Prince Phillip went straight for one!
The Queen is in yellow. Of course.

William is ageing fast. Him and Kate are called “the young couple” but there’s nothing that young about the two of them, him with his receding hairline, her with her posh accent and boring clothes. They look older than their age and very much aware of their role.

Anyway, the groom could have invested a couple of pounds in some hair gel or even better gone to a barber. Come on, I know every posh person nowadays wants to look casual (hence Sam Cam with no hat) but Wils could have tried harder to tame what’s left of his mane. Instead He has a tuft of fuzzy hair standing on top of his head like Tin Tin.
He should ask Berlusconi to provide some advice on hair transplant, really. He’d be only to happy to oblige. Might even throw in an underage prostitute as a present.

When the camera goes back to Kate’s hotel and the car she’s just got into, the first thing I notice is the number 2 bus to West Norwood stuck behind the bride’s car. Now, West Norwood is the God forgotten piece of nowhere in South London where my boyfriend lives. The Number 2 is his only link with the civilised world. We cheer up and raise our cups of coffee at the driver who’s managed to drive the bus into the royal lane, despite the area being cordoned off. He’s going to be in trouble, no doubt.

Finally Kate is in full view. The mystery that has kept the press abuzz for months – who’s designed her dress – is finally revealed: she’s wearing a design by Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen “heiress”.

The dress is not bad. Not a fan of the lacy bodice, it’s all a bit nun, but Kate’s fashion sense isn’t exactly innovative, she’s about as creative with clothes as my 70 years old aunt. She’s all about playing safe and modest and simple, and safe, modest and simple the dress is. A bit plain if you ask me, doesn’t take a genius of fashion to come up with that, but there you go. If I could have my pick among all the greatest designer in the world to make my dress I SWEAR I would come up with something less soporific.

But Kate is soporific. That’s another reason why I wasn’t fussed about the wedding. That’s nothing fun, witty, exciting, mischievous about this woman. She behaves as if she was 45, and a boring 45 too. Camilla is far more exciting – at least she had lovers – and that says it all. The only ‘original’ thing about Kate is her lack of aristocratic ancestors but personality-wise she’s about as interesting as a polo match. A sport I’m sure she enjoys, together with lacrosse, golf, and fox hunting. Awesome.

Anyway, fashion commentators on the bbc are in pure frenzy, as if they’d reached an orgasm after having sex with Brad Pitt.

Kate’s dad looks a bit like Harrison Ford minus the Indiana Jones attitude, and seems the only one honestly amazed by what’s going on around him. His face says “how the hell did I end up here? I make party balloons for a living!”
Kate’s sister is hot. Pity she has the most ridiculous name ever, Pippa, because she looks way prettier than her sister and prince Harry is quite taken with her, “helloooo!” he’s obviously thinking. “any plans after the function?”

The abbey is beautiful, trees have been lined all along the nave and the camera shots from up above make it look even more majestic. It’s such a pity you get charged a fortune to get into Westminster or I would visit it every now and again. But it’s so expensive the last time I went in was in 1995…

My boyfriend arrives and starts a live commentary of the ceremony.
“will you social climber take you horse face as a faithful husband?” he goes, whilst the priest is actually pronouncing a sentence that includes the words “betwixt” and “troth”.
“What exactly is a troth?” I ask.
“No idea but apparently she’s going to give him one.”

Kate is swearing to love, keep but not to “obey” her husband, which seems fair considering he’s a prince with no power nobody is supposed to obey anyway.
He gives her a ring but has decided not to be given one, total absurdity. Either the ring has a symbolical value of mutual loyalty and belonging, or it doesn’t. Either both bride and groom wear it or nobody does. Why should only the bride wear a symbol of belonging to her husband? It’s medieval if you ask me. But the Anglican church is notorious to invent rules on the go, and Britain is still Victorian when it comes to marriage, with women automatically changing their surnames and taking their husbands’ the moment they say I will. And if you don’t you’re considered some weird feminist…

The hymns that have been chosen sound all pretty much the same and are basically variations on Christmas carols. Cameron clearly doesn’t know them and mimes. Harrison Ford Middleton is even more overwhelmed than earlier on and wonders whether from now on he will have to buy Christmas presents for Camilla. Victoria Beckham is dying to know whether there’s going to be any salad at the reception. The queen nods benevolently whilst everyone else sings God saves the queen – it must be odd being the head of the country but not being able to sing the national anthem. I mean she could, but how undignified to be singing God saves the gracious ME… No Brit would ever do it, self deprecation in this country is almost more important than tea… Can you imagine Italy having an anthem going “God saves the president?” We would get rid of Berlusconi…

The ceremony ends, and people start leaving the church accompanied by a Star Wars style march. There are no Jedis in sight unfortunately but there’s a guy whose jobs is giving out hats. I imagine him waking up in the morning thinking that he will have to spend the day standing inside Westminster abbey waiting for his moment of glory when the cameras will show him giving hats to the princes. What if he went wrong? Well, the important thing is that nobody ends up with Mrs Clegg’s hat. Can you imagine Charles in a Cruella Devil’s attire?

The couple remains in the abbey behind closed doors to sign the register etc and we all imagine finally some fun music being played, something showing their personality and tastes and age, because yes yes classical British hymns are great but dear me they’re boring. And I don’t believe for a second the music selection comprised Kate and Will’s favourites, they might be conventional and lame but they are also people who spend their nights in clubs dancing at the rhythm of lady Gaga…

Kate and Will leave Westminster on a carriage, exactly like princess Diana and Charles and I can’t but remembering that summer day in the early 80s when I watched lady Di dressed like a cup cake getting married. I can recollect the day in details. In the morning my mum and I had driven to the Fabbri outlet to buy stationery. Fabbri produced notebooks and drawing pads with Candy Candy on the cover and I adored Candy Candy (a Japanese anime cartoon about an American orphan with blond pigtails and a boyfriend called Terence of Gloucester). We drove back fast to watch the wedding on tv. It was one of those hot Milanese summer mornings and all windows in the flat were open. I had never seen a princess before and I thought Diana was perfect. She was young and blonde like Barbie and wore a tiara… I was immediately sold.
Fast forward 30 years and all I notice is that Kate is wearing far too much make up and her smile is stilted and all the people who have been camping for 2 days in order to catch a glimpse of it are just bonkers.

On the carriage together with the royal couple are two men who look like lackeys but are in fact bullet catchers. What does it mean? That in the event of somebody shooting at Kate they will throw themselves in so that the bullet will hit them and not her. Now, devotion to your country and its royals is a sweet thing… But these guys’ job is just a bit much… would you do it? Oh come on, confess it! If you were on that carriage and a hitman started shooting you’ll use Kate as a human shield!

Buckingham Palace swallows the carriage but the couple reappears after 15 minutes at the balcony. And here’s the funniest moment of all. Mr Harrison Ford Middleton is beyond amazed. He looks at the humongous crowd extending from the palace’s forecourt all the way to the mall and st James’ park and clearly just wants to laugh. It can’t be true he must think. And now what do I do? Wave? Or take my camera out?
Even Kate for the first time seems to loose her perfect aplomb and stilted half smile to let go a “oh my God” in close up.
Will smiles at her benevolently and starts pointing at something. What is he saying? “oh look I can see my auntie Giuseppina on the right”?

RAF planes fly over central London and everyone seems happy apart from one of the little bridesmaids – who must be about three years old and who is obviously so tired by now, and annoyed by the planes roaring over head and the people cheering under the balcony. She covers her ears with her hands and squeezes her eyes shut hoping this nightmare will end and that soon a grownup will pick her up, give her some food and allow her to watch cartoons. Yes the business of being part of the princess’ entourage sounded great but she’s sick and tired of it, especially since no fairy godmother has appeared, only Camilla Parker Bowles, how disappointing.

The best touch, something I must admit I liked, was when Will and Kate left the palace on a convertible car driven by him. For the first time in the whole morning they looked like two young people having a bit of fun.

The show is off, the end, they’ll live together ever after, the microphone now goes to the hundreds of tv commentators who are dying to express their opinion. I switch the tv off.

My mind goes again to that morning in 1980, to my chunky tv sitting on a shelf in my parents’ sitting room.
We were all so much younger and so much more naive then. Diana was naive, and young and virgin, and clueless and gullible. Now we’ve grown older and cynical, and we have a princess who looks like one of the many Chelsea girls, has a dad who makes balloons, goes clubbing, looks over 30, has slept with her prince several times, wears too much make up, seems to know exactly what she’s doing, and whose marriage might actually last, maybe, because she’s not naive, she’s not a virgin, she plays the game dashingly well, and, ultimately, doesn’t really believe in fairytales.


2 thoughts on “Princesses, dresses and too much make up

  1. I had exactly the same question: what is a troth??!?
    Lara bellissimo post! Tu che cappello ti saresti messa per l’occasione? :-))

  2. caspita che analisi dettagliata, scommetto che non hai staccato un momento gli occhi dal televisore, eh?!
    Beata te, io dall’ufficio ho dato solo qualche sbirciatina al Corriere on line, ma se avessi potuto seguire tutto, che soddisfazione! Le storie dei relai restano le mie preferite, nessuna pop star le puo’ eguagliare!!!!

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