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Pippa Middleton - Star of the Royal Wedding
Completely sucked in
After completely ignoring the build-up, I caved and watched the Royal Wedding out of sheer boredom last Friday night. I had no intention of watching it but it was on almost every TV channel here in Australia, difficult to avoid really. Well, I was completely sucked in. The sickly-sweet fawning media were off-putting to say the least, the fashions left me cold and the hype was rubbish as far as I am concerned, but when I saw the faces of the participants, the proud looks from parents, the adoring eyes of the groom and and even Prince Harry's silly smile I was completely hooked. The thing that sucked me in the most was the electric energy of the British public, so vibrant it travelled right through the TV network to become a palpable force right there in my living room. The minute I felt that, I was a goner.
Royal Wedding Crowd
The crowd cheering in celebration
The Crowd were so excited they even cheered for Prince Charles and Camilla! I couldn't help but lean forward and take notice when the diverse celebrations unfolding throughout the UK and the world were shown. There were people dressed up in Union Jacks, waving flags, having tea parties, getting completely inebriated at the local or at street parties, and even having mock royal weddings in England, and the world, even here in Australia. Royal look-a-likes abounded, and festivals sprung up everywhere. The ones that actually braved it to line the streets even made these funny telescopic device things so they could get photos of the passing royals. Pretty amazing really.
So what does it all mean?
Apparently there were 8,000 media professionals in England to cover the event. I suppose this is not surprising as the wedding was apparently viewed by 2 billion people world wide, a huge increase on the 750 million who viewed the vows of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Who knows how many millions it all cost, from the airforce doing fly-overs to the world-class security to the machines spewing out bulk confetti? Who knows how many tourists dollars it has brought in and how much it will bring in future as Britain's profile is raised even higher? And what did it mean to the British, who have a cultural and national identity so intertwined with their monarchy? Was this an occasion to celebrate what it means to be British? Who knows what it meant to us here in the former colonies, who carry the Union Jack on the flag but really don't identify with the English in anything like the way we used to? Was it a way of re-affirming any feelings we Australians might hold about the monarchy? Was it simply a global bonanza for journalists and paparazzi?
I suspect it was all of these things. I know for me, it really got me thinking about the Queen, someone I, like a lot of Australians (both migrants and of English origins), deeply respect. I started to think about my position re the republican debate. My view that we should wait until she passes, out of respect for her, was strengthened. Of course I know the Queen is bigger than that and would not be offended in the slightest were Australia to finally chose a local Head of State, but I still feel that way nonetheless. It got me thinking about Prince Charles, someone I really don't care that much about (I really softened when I saw how proud he was). I thought about Diana and how sad it was that she could not be there to see her boy get married. And of course I thought about the Middletons, and I wondered about them.
For the Middletons this event means many things, not just their possibly uneasy induction into the Royal family with all of their foibles and oddities. It means the loss of any privacy they might have wanted, it means economic success and social prestige, it means they can never put a foot wrong for fear of what it might do to their new extended family. The effect has already begun with the extraordinary media attention currently being focused on their second daughter - Pippa.
What do we know about Pippa Middleton?
We know she is the youngest daughter and middle child in her family. Her name is Phillipa Charlotte and she was born in 1983. We know that Prince Harry was purported to be flirting with her. Even if this were true, what would be surprising about that, given Harry, and the way she looked at the wedding?
We know that her family are respectable, wealthy, middle-class English people with an upright background. They share a common ancestor with the Royal Family, going a very long way back. The Middletons are business people, with a successful party-planning operation started in the 1980s by Carole Middleton. They live in the town of Bucklebury, in Berkshire.
Pippa studied at the same University as Kate and Prince WIlliam (University of Edinburgh) and commenced a career as an event organiser in 2008. She has apparently had some love interests in the past is currently dating a successful cricketer turned banker/businessman. A lot remains unknown (which is how it should be) and a lot is just sheer speculation and innuendo by the media (which is unfortunate).
One thing we know we know for sure about Pippa Middleton is that the media will make as much as they can of her in order to boost interest and sales. She will always be a celebrity now, whether she welcomes the media attention or not.
The Bride Arrives
Did you enjoy the Royal Wedding Coverage?
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