The announcement of the engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton has produced a level of breathless reporting not seen in quite a while. Gushing announcements that the ‘whole country’ is absolutely thrilled for them are a little hysterical.
The Royal Family doesn’t enjoy the same forelock-tugging deference as it used to do, and the reasons for that are many and well documented.
However, before I’m labelled a curmudgeon and a killjoy,
I’d like to say that I genuinely hope they have a long and happy married life – in that respect, my wishes for them are the same as for any couple embarking on this somewhat perilous enterprise.
While there is much talk about the cost of it all – and thankfully this seemingly level-headed pair appear to be somewhat attuned to the nation’s mood and ever-tightening purse strings, – there will of course be a huge boost to the economy in terms of tourism and for the retail sector. That’s surely to be welcomed, however short term that may be and however temporary the jobs which will be created.
On the day that the engagement was announced, a beaming American reporter excitedly stated that America was ‘thrilled’ because, as she said, “we don’t have this sense of history, of kings and queens stretching back through the centuries”.
She went on to say that Americans are expected to travel to London in significant numbers to be part of the pageantry, even if the wedding is of a lower key in our straitened times.
The Washington Post is just one American newspaper that has reported exhaustively on the whole topic of the wedding, capturing a level of interest in the Royals that is quite clearly ever-present, even down to a discussion on Kate’s choice of dress for the announcement.
Whatever our individual feelings on this new chapter in the saga of the House of Windsor and whatever our opinions as to who should foot the bill, one thing is clear: the country can expect an influx of visitors who will be thrilled to be here.
While the financial analysts will be balancing the books of cost vs. potential income boost to the economy, it’s not all about money.
Extending the hand of friendship and a warm welcome to our visitors from around the globe will leave a feel good factor that will continue long after the last hooters and banners have been swept from the streets – and that will be good news.