Ronnie Polaneczky: Sure, they're cute, but, c'mon ... $9 billion cute?

He cooks. She wears sunglasses other people have touched. Just another one of your typical Brit couples, guided by love, struggling to make divine-right ends meet.
He cooks. She wears sunglasses other people have touched. Just another one of your typical Brit couples, guided by love, struggling to make divine-right ends meet. (Photos: Associated Press)
Posted: April 28, 2011

I REALLY WISH I could join in the happy hoopla surrounding tomorrow's wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William. The couple is so adorable, so obviously smitten with each other, who wouldn't want to cheer their televised I-dos?

And William, bless his resilient heart, seems to have survived with grace the implosion of his parents' marriage, their subsequent tacky romances and the violent death of his mother, whose smile he wears.

If anyone deserves a champagne bucket's worth of rice pitched skyward for giving committed love a try, Wills does.

So believe me, I have nothing personal against Kate and William when I say that watching plans for the royal wedding unfold makes me grateful all over again to be an American.

Let's start with the fact that tomorrow has been declared a national holiday for Brits.

Really? An entire country will come to a halt because a woman too young to have accomplished anything has fallen for a man whose greatest achievement to date is that he was sired with the right sperm?

Talk about setting the scepter low.

On our side of the pond, national holidays commemorate stuff of greater import - the dawn of independence, the sacrifice of war vets, our Founding Fathers' births. OK, so we tend to spend those days going broke at the mall, but at least they're rooted in something more noble than the luck of birth.

Tomorrow's day off has been described as a morale-booster for Brits, who could use a pomp-and-froth distraction from an economy that's shakier than a bowl of figgy pudding. But the estimated cost of the wedding is so obscene, it only shows the oceanic gap between the country's haves and have-nots.

(And no, the sale of all those wedding chatchkas to tourists doesn't come close to mitigating the potential $9 billion hit to the economy once you figure in the costs associated with shutting down businesses for the day, according to one estimate.)

If I were a financially struggling Brit, I'd feel like a fool cheering such a lavish event. Especially when the government is footing a $35 million bill for security, preparation of the parade route and the sprucing up of Westminster Abbey.

For that kind of money, I think Kate and Wills ought to at least enlist some of their friends to polish a pew or two at the church. Just for decency's sake.

Instead, we've been treated to breathless stories of how amazing the couple is for, basically, breathing.

Wills, one British commentator noted with awe, likes to come home from his day job with the Royal Air Force, relax and make dinner. I'm sorry, but for most adults that's the least they ought to do with their days: Work, then figure out what to eat.

And you'd have thought that Kate was selflessly mingling with lepers the way she was commended for buying the last pair of a certain style of sunglasses from a boutique, even though "possibly hundreds" of shoppers had tried on the glasses before her.

Move over, Mother Teresa, for this champion of the unclean!

Speaking of commoners, it's obscene the way Kate's family was at first regarded as boorish by the House of Windsor, because the Middletons own a party-planning business, which is less posh than, say, being a paid dilettante of royal blood. (Fergie, anyone?) But, at least the Middletons, millionaires who've laughably been referred to as "middle-class," earned their bucks instead of inheriting them.

Anyway, they now have their own coat of arms, so apparently the playing field is leveling out for them.

Look, I get why the royal wedding needs to be one of those "go big or go home" affairs. This is a monarchy so anachronistic and irrelevant in modern-day England, it's got to stage elaborate ceremonies like this one to keep up the charade that it still matters to anyone but tourists.

Only outsiders could be charmed by the weirdness of a royal family forbidden to marry Roman Catholics or allow female heirs to nab the throne before males get the chance. Religious bigotry and misogyny exist in America, no question. But at least they're not merrily sanctioned by an official body.

All of that aside, I wish the young couple much luck in the eccentric House of Windsor, whose octogenarian queen would rather die on the throne than abdicate to her oddball son. Kate and William didn't bring this nonsense on themselves (well, maybe Kate did, but the heart wants what the heart wants). They're just acting out the ancient script they've been handed.

But talk about an expensive, silly show.

Email polaner@phillynews.com or call 215-854-2217. For recent columns: www.philly.com/Ronnie. Read Ronnie's blog at www.philly.com/RonnieBlog.

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