non-ironic (almost) patriotism

If you had asked me a year ago, or even just 6 months ago, if I would take any interest in the Royal Wedding, I would look at you as though you were mad. Don't get me wrong, I bloody love weddings (lucky really, what with having to plan one) but this is a wedding between two people I don't know and will never meet, so it seemed a little futile to take any interest. Plus, they are members of the Royal Family, which in itself is a concept I have always been a little wary of...

Oh, how much can change in 6 months! My obsession in the Royal Wedding began with an intense, mocking sense of irony, as such things often do, but I found myself watching the wedding with a sincere smile and such genuine enjoyment that I can no longer possibly believe it is just an ironic fancy. Oops.


My cultural identity shouldn't really be something I question, it should be pretty straightforward: I was born in and grew up in England, and my family are Scottish. However, I have never thought of myself as British - I think of myself as 'European'. I feel as though I am unlike the majority of Brits in many ways: I am fiercely pro-Europe, I travel the continent as much as I possibly can, absorb myself in the cultures of the countries I visit and always learn some of the language, out of respect as well as genuine cultural interest. On my many travels in Europe, I most often get mistaken for a German or Scandinavian tourist - it never occurs to people that I am British, so it never really stuck with me either.

The day of the Royal Wedding was the first time I have ever had any sense of pride in the nation, or any inkling of feeling British. The merriment that was shown by (almost) the entire nation couldn't not have had any effect on me - I immensely enjoyed seeing all the bunting and flags, seeing excited faces in the crowd outside Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, and found I was excited myself while waiting for the royals to appear on my screen.

As for my original thoughts, "why should I care, I'm never going to meet them..." etc, I have realised that isn't really the point: this wedding was the coming together of two young people in love, one of whom happens to be royal, and who will one day be King of this country. They are well-loved by the public of the UK and beyond, and give a very (unusually) positive impression of the British Royal Family. So good, in fact, that even my opinion changed.

2 hellos:

ana b. said...

Great post. I think, yes there are serious, quite important things going on in the world but then not feeling happy for these two people who are in love would just be really churlish.

Vixie said...

Thanks, Ana. I do hope that this new partnership will help modernise the monarchy a little - it could certainly do with it! When is your trip to Europe btw?

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