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May 19, 2018

Another Beautiful Royal Wedding

Brightest blessings to the beautiful couple, whose love is so strong I could feel it across the ocean and through a computer screen.

Today was the celebration of my uncle’s life, so I didn’t think I’d get a chance to watch the royal wedding. Frankly, I was bummed about that because I’ve watched them all since Princess Anne got married back in the 70s. I’m an Anglophile and a history geek from childhood.

But I woke up far too early and when I grabbed my phone to check the time, I saw notice that the Royal Family was streaming the wedding live on YouTube. Yes, I follow their channel. Sue me.

I watched from the minor royals arriving at church till right after the vows, and I’m so very glad I did.

There was so much love. This wedding sent a message about the power of love, and if you know my writing or me, you know that’s the central tenant of my life. Bishop Michael Curry, I love you. I love you so much. That sermon had me yelling, “AMEN, brother!” It was powerful and true and the message this world needs right now.

Some people scoff at those of us who were invested in the wedding, but I love weddings. Anyone’s weddings. That’s why I officiate at them. Weddings are love and joy and hope with cake involved. Does life get any better than that?

I’m also the same age as the late Princess Diana. I remember Harry being born, growing, losing his mom (I lost my dad when I was 11–I had such empathy), turning into a good hearted man. I didn’t know Megan Markle before the engagement was announced, but she’s lovely. I don’t know them, but the public personas they project are of caring, loving people trying to use their fame to better the world. And they are just so much in love. I getting to the age where I can be unabashedly gooey about things like a happy couple.

Did you see the way they looked at each other?

You can’t beat the House of Windsor for pageantry. The new Duchess was a star before she married into the family, and boy, did she do America proud. Her dress was perfection. Her walking down the aisle solo with the children carrying her veil? I mean gorgeous or what? Then Prince Charles stepping in to take her to his son? Don’t tell me you didn’t melt a little. Prince Harry crying through much of the ceremony? It just made me happy.

I enjoy seeing people happy, joyous even. Why not? Life is short and love is so wonderful.

It was also pretty. The Queen looked lovely, wearing one of my favorite color combos–purple and green. Princess Beatrice wore a nice, boring hat. Poor Zara Tindall looked ready to pop, though. Yes, I know who these people are. See anglophile comment above.

Mother of the bride Doria looked great–you can see where her daughter gets her looks.

Lots of pretty pictures to look at and there’s nothing wrong with a nice escape from the reality that is our world. It’s nice to be reminded that yes, even though we’re killing each other, cruel to one another, exploit one another, we can also revel in each other’s happiness and watch a happy couple get hitched in style.

I wish them long and happy and may they help create a world powered by love.

Edit: I’ve since looked at some of the commentary about the wedding. Yes, I did laugh at the shocked faces of the nice English people when the American preacher was a-preachin’. And then the gospel choir. Wasn’t that gorgeous?

Of course, I now say, duh, African-American culture, but when I was first watching, sans commentators, all I thought was “church culture.” I grew up in a Charismatic family, so fiery preachers and gospel singers? That’s the fun part! That singing? That preaching? that’s love in action right there. Inspired.

Let the side eyes roll, the jaws drop, the mouths smirk. It was a beautiful message and “Stand By Me” is a great love song.

 

 

 

 

 

June 8, 2013

Grattis Madeleine och Chris

It’s a big day in Sweden today. Princess Madeleine, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia’s youngest child, married her Anglo-American fiance Chris O’Neil.  Who doesn’t love a pretty wedding? And as a former Swedish resident, I was curious.

When I was learning Swedish I read the two national tabloids most days to work on my vocabulary. We owned a shop which sold them, so it was easy enough to do.  And the one thing that gets covered ad nauseum in the tabloids is the royal family, so I’m surprisingly familiar with them. That adds to my curiosity, of course. I’ve watched this woman in the media for over 10 years. She’s familiar.

But I was curious for another reason. Princess Madeleine has been living in New York City for the past three years, and I actually came face to face with her early one morning on a coffee run. A narrow door: she was coming out, I was going in, so we were inches apart. I recognized her face, thought she was a former student, but then realized, no, that’s the princess. Five years in Sweden, never see a royal. Here in NYC? Come face to face with one. No words were spoken, just the usual polite smiles exchanged as one person steps aside for the other. Besides, I’m far too much of a New Yorker to react to a famous face, and she was just another New Yorker during the early morning rush.

But having seen the woman in the flesh, I was curious about her wedding.  Three years ago, her sister, Crown Princess Victoria, got married. I was curious then, as well, so I checked out the Swedish websites that day and was truly happy for her.  And homesick for Sweden.

Leading up to today, I was feeling much less nostalgic for Sweden, but of course, the first thing I did this morning was to log on to the website of Sweden’s biggest tabloid, Aftonbladet, to check out the pictures.

I loved it. The Swedish princesses are very pretty women with excellent taste in clothing. The bride’s Valentino dress was stunning and the bride looked like, well, a princess from a storybook. Everything about the wedding was lovely. The flowers, the children singing in the church, the reading by the Crown Princess. And I was struck at how much seeing Stockholm in all its summer beauty made me homesick.

There are videos on the site, of course, and the one that made me go all soft and gooey was the short one of Madeleine going up the aisle on her father’s arm. The shots of Chris O’Neil showed him visibly moved, unsuccessfully holding back tears. Yesterday I didn’t know the guy from Adam. Today, I think he’s a sweetie.

For all the royal pomp and circumstance, the overwhelming feeling I got from the pictures was love and warmth. The bridal pair is obviously besotted. Watching the royal family interact one can see the strong family love and connection. Victoria’s daughter, the littlest princess, Estelle, is 15 months old, but even she was at the wedding interacting with her mother, father and grandmother.

Seeing such obvious joy on the faces of Madeleine and Chris and their families just felt good. Watching something lovely set in the magnificent royal chapel and then later on the streets of Stockholm on a glorious summer day was a welcome respite from the “real world”. It was a moment away from school shootings, illegal wiretaps, financial meltdown and all the harsh realities we usually see in the news.

I feel the same way about all the weddings I attend, but this summer I don’t have any lined up, so I have to look to Sweden. I know there are American celebrity weddings, but I don’t recognize most of the people involved. And those weddings are not semi-state occasions, put on, in part, for public consumption. If celebrities get married and want privacy, they should have it. If they don’t, well, then I’ll look at their pictures, too.

We all need joy and happiness, reasons to celebrate and a reminder that love is something real that should be celebrated.  Part of me feels silly, uncool, and somewhat old fashioned for watching a royal wedding, but after all, I am a child of my times. Back when I was a little girl, fairy tale weddings were something to dream about. So for the most part it made me feel good to watch, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling good.

Madeleine och Chris: Grattis på ditt äktenskap. Må Gud välsigna er med ett långt och lyckligt liv tillsammans.

And Chris? Good luck learning Swedish!

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