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Does this royal wedding mean anything?

Written By: - Date published: 9:22 am, May 5th, 2018 - 38 comments
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Once upon a time, there was a fairytale in which the perfect boy met the perfect girl and got down on one knee and pledged everlasting devotion with a fat diamond rock and had an enormous wedding. Boy, meets girl, in the World Series of Love. She is a Queen, he is a Prince.

Now, we let it go.

Marriage means less and less to New Zealanders. Marriage in New Zealand is in reasonably rapid decline.

On the positive side, our own Prime Minister is showing how unnecessary marriage is to having a baby within a successful relationship. You know you are on the right track when even the New Zealand Police – that most notoriously hidebound and morally conservative of institutions – comes out and defends an unwed partner and father-to-be from mere rumour, an event I have not seen ever before.

On the negative side, the idea of marriage is not helped when it is trashed live before a studio audience with such televised wonders as Married At First Sight.

And it’s a useful measure of weddings as debased spectacle when finding the right wedding dress needs its own (very popular) reality show.

In fact wedding television shows have an entire Wikipedia category all of their own.

So in analogue reality we are less and less convinced that marriage has relevance to us, yet in our entertainment and digital imaginations, these great theatrical spectacles have a powerful place for ritual and social cohesion in so many of our lives.

Such pure spectacle of idealised relationship is vital. It unites us – or at least the female half of us – more than the Rugby World Cup ever did or could.

The impending marriage of Prince Harry and Megan Markle has no official political content at all. Once married they will be a full-stationwagon-over-a-cliff away from royal succession.

It will have little pageantry. No politicians – not even the British Prime Minister – have been invited.

Fifty years ago this impending royal wedding would still have been a vital instrument in foreign-policy ambition. Just thirty years ago with Princess Diana, the United Kingdom had an outstanding international ambassador. (If you want to get a mere glimpse of the beatific heaven of the circumstances of our own Governor-General’s places, see if you can get a sneaky peek over the high fence of the Governor-General’s houses in either Auckland or Wellington. Like Little England encased in aspic. And yes, I can attest from going to an investiture last week, they do still serve cucumber sandwiches.)

It was but a century ago that English royal weddings were a carefully calibrated international diplomatic exchange that secured important alliances. They were the way deals were done.

Sic transit etc … the Queen will die soon. Prince Charles will take over.

In the Queen’s firm 70-year tradition he will be resolutely distanced from political affairs and have almost no political opinion of his own.
Leaders are symbols that we look up to in society, and without official political content we fill them up with our projected ideals regardless. But other than in the clothes they wear, and a few temporary magazine covers, these two lead nothing.

Royal Weddings. Sigh. Prince William’s opinions are largely unknown, though he has followed his mother Diana in many of his charitable activities. As for Harry and Meghan, they have advertised the now wholly unpolitical significance of their marriage by refusing to invite any politicians to it, not even the British prime minister.

Prince Harry’s opinions are largely unknown. But he does know how to party.

The world and its global media are interested in them because they are celebrities who pull fantastic audiences, because they are young, wealthy, good-looking, and glamorous, not because they are identified with any particular political cause — nor even, really, with the international interests of any particular country, including their own.

The best this couple could do is renounce their titles, lives as rich citizens, and devote their lives to charity like all the good rich should.

38 comments on “Does this royal wedding mean anything?”

  1. ianmac 2

    And that’s a No from me too.

  2. AsleepWhileWalking 3

    I dunno. It probably means they are no longer living in sin if you believe in that sort of thing. (But clearly they don’t)

    The whole crown thing should be relegated to fairy tails. Separation from the general population by bloodline is not something NZ should support.

    • Bill 3.1

      The whole crown thing should be relegated to fairy tails.

      The tail of the fairy…is that near the anus?

      Are you suggesting the Royal Couple get showered in fairy shit as opposed to the more traditional fairy dust?

  3. mac1 4

    Yes, it means that people can still be charmed, deflected, seduced away from what is important. It means that for insufficient reasons certain people are looked up to, and what they do determines the behaviour of many, for good bad or indifferent. It means titles, money, breeding still matter. It means power still is retained by some for reasons outside of skill, ability, education and universal access.

    Do I still wear creases in my trousers? How do I tie my tie? Do I listen to Herself’s message at Christmas?

  4. Koff 5

    I once worked for a while in a London park.One of the old codgers working with me reckoned the Royals should be given jobs brushing up millions of fallen leaves and dog shit like he had to.Think his opinions of Royal weddings were unprintable.

  5. james 6

    “Does this royal wedding mean anything?”

    to me no, to others yes.

    The concept of marriage is personal to the people involved – there is no right or wrong answer.

    My wife is English and loves the royal family – no doubt she will be watching it.

    But will we buy the souvenir tea-towel? no.

    • Rosemary McDonald 6.1

      “My wife is English and loves the royal family.”

      This is not a tautology.

      There was talk on Natrad a few weeks ago about the royal breeding program…a birth? A marriage? I forget.

      A youngish tourist from Sussex came down to the wharf where we were fishing so I randomly asked him what he thought about the royal family.

      “A bunch of fucking parasites.” This was his abbreviated response.

      I have Scottish ancestry, and born in the UK and raised on a steady diet of disrespect for the monarchy.

      I have never actually met a royalist.

      • james 6.1.1

        tautology – good word (I admit I had to look it up).

        “A youngish tourist from Sussex came down to the wharf where we were fishing so I randomly asked him what he thought about the royal family.

        A bunch of fucking parasites.” This was his abbreviated response.”

        Of course there are many people with many different views.

        I have never actually met a royalist.

        Im not one – but there are lots out there – you will see many thousands on TV next week.

  6. Draco T Bastard 7

    Does this royal wedding mean anything?

    No.

    Apparently, even the people getting married have realised that.

  7. greywarshark 8

    A lot of cynicism here. People who want to live in a world where people care about each other’s welfare in general, and who want to live in a community that pays attention to having a balanced and enjoyable society, shouldn’t be turning their noses up at marriage whether it is of Royals, the wealthy, or other classes.

    A positive society supports groupings that regard themselves as having special ties to each other, families, or even those from particular Marriage is just the legalised ceremony uniting a couple who wish to have and maintain a special tie. But in our present society there are many pressures on people and marriage , money being one, time to spend together another, and a zeitgeist that is reflected in this post.

    What has happened in my family is that the couple lived together and then decided to make a lifetime step, got married and started a family. It follows a logic set up in society last century, and does work if people have the wish to make a good relationship happen, and have acquired maturity and ability to problem solve and plan a future satisfactory to them both.

    It is very likely that the Royals will have reached the necessary level of maturity to make an enjoyable life. That doesn’t mean they will be happy ever after, maybe 80-20 would be enough. And it gives hopeful people a lot of pleasure to see happy people wanting to commit to partnership with each other, marry and have a relationship that can be so fulfilling when they can work through the inevitable problems.

  8. millsy 9

    No real point to having monarchs any more. The thing about these institutions is that they are all recent inventions given an aura of timelessess. The Windsor’s have only been round for the past 100 years and the name was taken from a tea brand. Buckingham Palace was only the royal residence since the 1860’s, and titles such as Knighthood, MBE’s etc only been round for the same time.

    • Stunned Mullet 9.1

      The ‘wrongness’ or your comment is truly impressive.

    • Gareth Wilson 9.2

      The English monarchy is so old that the Queen’s ancestors were once thought to be descended from Odin himself.

  9. Gabby 10

    Not inviting politicians is an extremely political act.

  10. jcuknz 11

    My wife’s comment “I hope she doesn’t hurt him” Mainly how could a catholic become CoE.
    Though I knew a CoE who was as catholic like as any catholic. even had her own consecrated chapel in her home and Bishops licence to speak in church.
    I am not exactly sure who Harry is, there being so many ‘royals’ these days.
    Nothing to do with me anyway … not like the sisters Lis and Maggie and I spent the night before the great day waiting outside Buck House with newspapers around my legs to try and stay warm.

  11. alwyn 12

    ” (If you want to get a mere glimpse of the beatific heaven of the circumstances of our own Governor-General’s places, see if you can get a sneaky peek over the high fence of the Governor-General’s houses in either Auckland or Wellington.”

    I can’t comment about the Auckland Property but that is a very snarky and unfair comment about the real Government House in Wellington. Tours are readily available, even if not every day.

    There will be, according to their published schedules, at least 7 in June for example. They let everybody in you know.
    https://gg.govt.nz/tours/upcoming

  12. cleangreen 13

    I’m with James on this one,

    there is no way all of us will think the same about the values of marriage.

    i married my English girlfriend in Canada in 1976 and we have always been together since and will do until my death at least.

    We have a bond that has grown through all the good and bad years leaving an ‘enduring’ partnership.

    In a word to sum up our relationship it would be “loyalty” that will bind us to eternity not love or simple infatuation all which has never been at the heart of our partnership because we met at the late 20’s old our life and realised then the need to bind our lives together into an enduring partnership for life.

    So marriage was only our chosen vehicle to get there, and un-married folks may be able to get there in the same way should they choose.

    Still married after 42 yrs now to a (non-practicing) catholic girl and I was raised as a Presbyterian Kiwi by birth.

  13. Macro 14

    Well there was one Royal Wedding that mattered for we of Aotearoa :

    Lady Davina Elizabeth Alice Benedikte Lewis (née Windsor; born 19 November 1977) is the elder daughter of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and his wife Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester.[1][2] She is twenty-ninth in the line of succession to the British throne

    On 31 July 2004, she married Gary Christie Lewis (born in 1970), a New Zealander. Lewis is a carpenter who runs a property renovation business[8] and a surfing enthusiast, and has a son, Ari (born 1992) from a previous relationship.[9] The couple had known each other for four years, having met on holiday in Bali.[10] For several years, the couple kept their relationship secret.[11] He is the son of Larry Lewis, a Māori builder[8] who was runner-up in the Golden Shears in 1982.[12][13] His uncle is the prominent Maori author Witi Ihimaera who wrote The Whale Rider which became a film of the same name.[8]

    Gary Lewis is also the first person of known Māori descent to join the extended Royal Family, or to marry the daughter of a British prince.[14] As she is a legitimate descendant in the male line of King George II and therefore a potential heir to the British throne, the Royal Marriages Act 1772 required that Royal Assent to the wedding be obtained in advance for the marriage to be legal and the descendants thereof to inherit rights of succession to the thrones of the Commonwealth realms, including that of New Zealand. On 20 July 2004, the Queen-in-Council formally declared her consent to her marriage.[15] The wedding took place at the private chapel of Kensington Palace, Lady Davina’s childhood home.[16] Apart from the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the bride’s siblings, no other members of the Royal Family were present at the wedding; only close friends and family were involved.[17]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Davina_Lewis

    I think these weddings indicate a move away from the pre arranged marriages of yesteryear where political alliances were the order of the day. Now they indicate an alliance between royalty and the rest of society. Ultimately the concept of inherited privilege will die and “Royal” personages will become a thing of the past and replaced by the new “aristocracy of the uber rich” (Note: I don’t see this progression as a good thing)
    Royalty still does have a function as head of state. For instance, The fact that our military obtain their commission, not from Parliament (although they serve the wishes of Parliament), but from the Sovereign, means that they are in essence separate from the government of the day.
    Te Triti is also a covenant between the Crown and Māori, not between Māori and the Government of NZ, so again Royalty have a special place in our constitution. Just how that will develop in the years ahead is something we need to consider. An elected President has serious deficiencies, as the current calamity that is the US right now demonstrates.

    • veutoviper 14.1

      That is fascinating, Macro.

      Thank you so much for sharing that piece of information about a very NZ connection to the Royal Family via Lady Davina Lewis that I suspect many NZers probably don’t know. I certainly didn’t.

      And IMO excellent points re the place of royalty in the future generally; and their place in our NZ constitutional arrangements via Te Tiriti.

      People, I highly recommend reading Macro’s comment.

    • solkta 14.2

      Te Triti is also a covenant between the Crown and Māori, not between Māori and the Government of NZ, so again Royalty have a special place in our constitution.

      Well they would do if they gave a fuck. But the Queen has done absolutely zero to progress treaty rights. It is a complete waste of time having such supposed separation when it is simply symbolic. In effect the Government IS the Crown.

      • Macro 14.2.1

        In effect the Government IS the Crown.

        Essentially that is correct. However there are still constitutional issues that need to be addressed. Ministers of NZ Parliament also receive their warrant from the Sovereign. A G’G can ask that regulations and matters of state be re-examined, ( a colleague who was aide de camp to the G’G in the 70’s commented to that fact on a number of occasions.)
        As for the lack of action by the Sovereign of honouring Te Tiriti – that is true. However it still remains a founding document of our nation. If you haven’t read or seen He-Tohu at the National Library in Wellington – I strongly recommend it.
        Perhaps one day the true injustices of the past will be fully understood and realised by all NZers.

        • solkta 14.2.1.1

          Still can’t see any reason there for keeping the monarchy. On the contrary, a Head of State who actually had knowledge in constitutional law would be far more beneficial. One who might even act more so.

          • Macro 14.2.1.1.1

            Don’t get me wrong. I’m just noting that in any transition away from our current situation we need to take into account the requirements for a functional Head of State. After watching the cluster fuck that is happening in the US, I’m not sure that an elected President is the most sound way to go. In almost any country with a Westminister parliament that idiot would be gone by now.
            Socrates thought that the best training for King was Philosophy.
            https://www.britannica.com/topic/philosopher-king

            • solkta 14.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes having the Head of State also the leader of the Executive is a silly way to do things. One thing though that is better about their system is that the Courts are supreme and can judge the Presidents actions illegal, as has happened with Trump’s travel bans.

              It seems the most basic of principles that the government must obey the law. Not so here unfortunately.

              We could just elect our Governor General.

  14. Morrissey 15

    Since he’s getting married, I guess he won’t be doing THIS any more….

    https://www.her.ie/celeb/tales-of-prince-harrys-vegas-sexcapades-get-worse-as-eyewitness-reveals-cocaine-use-at-his-party-21349

    And will marriage spell the end of this brave and bonny prince heroically shooting Afghan shepherds from the safety of a gunship helicopter?

  15. Ffloyd 16

    It’s all a load of offensively expensive bollocks. I read a comment in the Guardian that according to a local Bobby the most likely people who will come out to watch and wave will be ‘cat stranglers’. Aka known as mad old ladies who strangle their cats’ I dunno.

  16. Pete 17

    Does this royal wedding mean anything? Yes, it means that someone in the royal family’s getting married. Simply as that.

    If it were 1923 it would be important because the Kardashians wouldn’t have been invented or Dancing with the Stars.

    Go into a big supermarket. Stand back and look at all the bottles of wine or all the brands of beer. In 1923 there would’ve been one. Now there are a lot. The royal wedding is just one of them.

  17. patricia bremner 18

    On May 1st N and I have had 53 years together.
    Marriage is a choice, for Harry as well these days. We hope they are happy.
    It does not matter what people outside any marriage think, it is a personal thing after all.
    We have a lovely niece and nephew who announced their union over the “phone, and have been happy going on 20 years. So each to their own I say. Class doesn’t figure.

  18. Timeforacupoftea 19

    Advantage asks :
    Now politicians are not invited to the wedding ceremony.

    The wedding means a bit of excitement for me, possibly another future breakup or whatever I love these shows Married at First Site.

    But the comment broke me up “Now politicians are not invited to the wedding ceremony”
    Who on earth would ask a politician !
    They are just low life like car salesmen definitely no better, huge salary, life time perks the list goes on.
    Virtually stuff the country by 9 year term, then reversal, left right left right left right left right left right left right OH THE PAIN !
    We purchase a new vehicle get a new govt the car and the govt is stuffed after 9 years straight into the dump.
    Lets celebrate.

  19. Jenny 20

    The thing is, they couldn’t invite Trump. And they couldn’t not invite Trump. (If that makes any sense), And so they chose to ban all political guests, so as not to be seen snubbing the most noxious US political leader ever.

    (Nobody would want their nuptials to be marked by huge public demonstrations at the presence of a racist and misogynist?)

  20. Chris T 21

    Old Harry seems a pretty cool bloke to me.

    It just seems like he is trying to make it as low key as he can, when it’s a pretty impossible thing to do.

    Yes they are rich, but it ain’t like he chose the situation

    And as for his stupid indiscretions when he was younger.

    We all did dumb things

    He just had 20 cameras to take photos of it

  21. J L Browne 22

    There is just two things that are important to us regarding royalty. That is that the Queen or King holds office to protect our Protestant freedoms from being taken away by secular government. That is why every day some red boxes from Parliament are delivered each day to the palace for the sovereign to go thru and sign.
    And that Royalty are heads over the military to keep them on the side of the people. This includes NZ and is why we have a royal governor.
    All the rest is actually to enable them to keep their place in the hearts n minds of the people and so that some maybquery their existence and dig a bit deeper. There is purpose to it.

  22. Glenn 23

    Mandatory abdication at the age of 70 so that new blood gets a chance. The more I read about the royals the more I find them rather despicable especially when it comes to the treatment of their disabled relatives. 5 young relatives locked in an asylum on the same day and ignored.
    I think deep down they are a rather nasty bunch. Wouldn’t cross the road to look at any of them.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2059831/The-Queens-hidden-cousins-They-banished-asylum-1941-left-neglected-intriguing-documentary-reveals-all.html

    • patricia bremner 23.1

      She knew nothing about what her family had done. The family retrieved the remaining cousins and helped them once they learned of it. This was a common way to remove embarrassing relatives. Only needed two medical signatures.

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  • Funding boost for four cultural events
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  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
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  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
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  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
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  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
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  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
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  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
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  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
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  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
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  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
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  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
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