The Patriotic Impulse

The Mall

The Mall. No sign of a red hoodie though.

I haven’t really been following the preparations for the nuptials of William and Kate; I have a tendency to get bored by preparations for most social events, although I’m quite happy for the rest of the world to revel in it all. I realised this morning however that it would be exceedingly difficult to not become taken up in the whole thing in some form or another, and I shall be watching it all,  not least because it really is an extraordinarily fascinating social and societal event which says a lot about Britain today.

It has been one of those times in the media where you gather information purely by osmosis. No active concentration is needed. So I’m aware of the guest-list shenanigans, (who’s in and who’s out) and at least one burning question I did have has now been answered. The Beckhams are there because William got to know David in the attempt to secure the World Cup at some point. Two subsidiary questions remain though. Will David shave for the occasion? And will Victoria smile?

The Abbey

The Abbey

My interest really took hold though as I lay in bed this morning listening to the Today programme on Radio 4. I was fascinated to hear the story of how Richard Burton came to commentate for Radio 4 at the time of Charles and Diana’s wedding. I had missed the 1981 event, being on a BA flight over the Atlantic, which did absolutely nothing to celebrate the occasion. This explains why I hadn’t even known Burton was involved. And the Today programme followed up with a genuinely interesting interview with the organist of Westminster Abbey. And then we got a text from our son who it transpired is sitting halfway down the Mall in a red hoodie behind two short guys so now I’m really excited that I might be able to spot him if I spend enough time in front of the screen.

In taking the shots above, I became quite caught up in the excitement of watching the guests arrive at the Abbey. This is no bad thing. It is nice for once to cast aside my cynicism about such events, and rediscover some latent blurry patriotism. If my son, who cannot name British Monarchs from the time of Victoria to the present day (as I discovered last week much to my disgust) can rouse himself at 5.30 am to secure a viewing position on the Mall and is feeling patriotic and proud to be British “for pretty much the first time in my life”, then who am I not to sit and watch?

Along with the rest of the nation, I offer my very best wishes for today and the future to the happy couple.

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