What is it that creates moments of magic?
What is it that causes a country, a world, to stop and watch as a fairytale comes to life?
What is it that still has the world talking, debating, awing, about the Royal Wedding of May 18th 2018, so many days after the day when HRH Prince Harry took as his bride an American divorcee – an act for which his great granduncle, King Edward VIII, was forced to abdicate the throne?
What allows us the pause our thought for a day and open our hearts?
What is it?
As the wash of the colour purple fades across the world, once again we are reminded that we, as a global community, sharing such often indescribable challenges around our core humanity, need hope and love and dreams to remain human.
The world will continue to watch, to evaluate, to analyse, to care…. because somehow, through it all, it keeps the world in touch with something positive, something hopeful, something bigger and better than the battles of global co-existence.
Because somehow it drip-feeds our need to dream. To love. To wish for better…for others. And to celebrate the simple joys of the heart.
Viewing parties took place across the world. global media watching closely in the lead-up to the big day for any details that may act as a keyhole into the big day inside the grandness of Windsor Castle. From carpeting to canapes, calligraphy to choir selections, puffs of detail filled the warm, sweet, slightly purple air around all things and everything Harry & Meghan.
It is impossible not to think of the royal wedding acting as a BandAid, helping some of the hurt that so many are feeling across the world as, through fiery people, politics, policies and pointed attacks on principles
As the day neared, with all of its family drama sadly unfolding in front of the world’s press (especially as opportunists crossed lines of decency to find a way into the story, either as the message or the messenger), the underlying values of the occasion shifted, forced to make way for the value of the occasion. Pricetags were confidently and creatively put on the big day. The cost of the ceremony. The cost of the flowers. The cost of security. And of course, the cost the much anticipated dress. All of these add up to amount that is being put into the ‘wedding of the year’.
And then there are the price tags of the purple glow surrounding the grand event: the money to be spend on memorabilia, by tourists travelling from near and far to be in Windsor and the UK per se, on the day, the money to be spent filling glass after glass of Prosecco from the first moments of arrival of the glittering guests of both Hollywood and British royalty. GBP 80 million, GBP 500 million, GBP 1.2 billion. The speculation around the economic impact was ever-inflating. A surge in spending was, however, absolutely clear. Likewise the surge in global interest, with viewership of the nuptials in the US morning reaching unprecedented levels, with over 29 million people watching in the early morning hours, no doubt in their PJs with bubbles in hand.
Was the buzz of royal wedding business as high as the royal wedding of Prince Harry’s brother, the heir to the throne? No, and it was never expected to be. History was being made, in a different way, at a different time, with different expressions of excitement and excess. Eight years back, on the April 29th, 2011 occasion of the marriage of HRH Prince William to his college sweetheart, now Princess Catherine, the official figures revealed that, according to PwC, “William and Kate’s wedding generated roughly £107 million ($145 million) in extra spending: Good for retailers, (and just) less than 4% of the amount spent in the UK on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.” This time around, the ‘I Do’s didn’t in terms of UK spend stimulation. But that does not reduce its worth at penny.
While in the moment the recent royal wedding may show lesser spend levels and no direct benefit to the UK’s tourism, retail or related economies, still, the value of the national interest cannot and should not be underestimated.
The royal wedding offered the UK, and the world, a pause to the problems of the day. It offered a time when people across the world, hearts across the world, were given permission to just sit back and breathe some fresh air. Conversations stretched for days around the simple things, tiny details of the day that had the world commenting, critiquing, complaining, and celebrating, the sometimes silly, superficial, sentimental.
That was the magic. It was the gift of the pause, The gift of the fresh air. The gift of the time knowingly spent being nothing but touched by the beauty of a moment – someone else’s moment. By the beauty of a commitment: stand by me.
Long may the newlyweds be happy, and long may the hearts of the world heal through the gift of the simple beauty of their day.
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2018