What kind of man enjoys the Royal Wedding more than the FA Cup Final?
The kind of man who works at ShortList and is called Bobby Palmer
This Saturday, my mates will be waiting in feverish anticipation for the FA Cup final. They’ll be at the pub early doors, Amstels in hand, counting down to kick-off. The Chelsea fans will scream; the Man Utd fans will roar. Even if their teams lose, nothing will compare to the feeling of pure exhilaration they get from what’s unfolding before their eyes.
And me? I’ll be standing outside St George’s Chapel in Windsor with a mini Union Jack, tears streaming down my face.
OK, I won’t be going that far. I’m not the sort of fervent royalist who stitches portraits of Meghan Markle into pin cushions and tries to gift them to her in public. Nor do I post Photoshopped pictures of bonnie Prince George on Facebook, smiling and playing beneath the heavenly and watchful gaze of his grandmother, the People’s Princess. I’m even inclined to admit the monarchy is outdated, that most (if not all) of them haven’t done much to earn our adoration, and I certainly won’t put up too much of an argument if you say they should abolish the whole thing.
Yet I’m excited about the Royal wedding – really excited – and I just can’t keep it in any longer.
So how do I do it? How do I square my existence as a relatively normal 24-year-old man with the joy I feel imagining the happy couple beaming from the end of the aisle? Simple: I’m content in my belief that it’s all just a lot of fun. Put aside any anger you feel about hereditary sovereignty, and what you’re left with is a big, old fancy spectacle. In the same way a lot of guys love watching people they don’t know (or necessarily like) boot a ball towards a goal, I get my kicks from enormous displays of ostentatious pageantry.
There’s horses and carriages; there’s huge, ornate upholstery; there are suits spun from the finest silk and dresses which cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. I was glued to my TV, mesmerised, when Wills and Kate got hitched, because it was like the end of every Disney movie or straight-to-Netflix romcom I’d ever seen. But for real, right in front of my eyes. How could I not find it all just a little heartwarming?
“Seeing Harry get married is like watching your sort-of-terrible-but-likable cousin get the joyful resolution he maybe, just maybe, deserves.”
And then there’s Harry, a prince who seems like he’d be a lot of fun to have a pint with. Which is possibly the result of an extensive PR campaign by Clarence House to make him seem like A Prince Who Seems Like He’d Be A Lot Of Fun To Have A Pint With – despite a truly horrific Nazi costume that would have been a well-deserved career-ender for any celebrity not born into the House of Windsor.
But hasn’t it been a journey, watching him go from a wide-eyed boy to an awful man to a slightly-less-awful man? We’ve all grown up with Harry, we’ve watched him f*ck up (a fair few times), but we’ve also seen him emerge from his de-ladification process a better man. Seeing him get married is like watching your sort-of-terrible but sort-of-likable cousin get the joyful resolution he maybe, just maybe, deserves.
Weddings might not be your thing; royalty might not be your thing. But togetherness is good, and watching the country get excited about something so vain warms the cockles. Even though the Brexiteers will be sure to use it for their own agendas, the Royal Wedding is sort of the anti-Brexit; it’s a big old cheesy c which doesn’t care about where you were born or what you think about the EU rules on fisheries.
It might be schmaltzy and it might be jingoistic, sure. But like the Spice Girls reunion at the Olympics opening ceremony, or Daniel Craig glumly signing up for another Bond film, or our collective disgust at the dissolution of the fatberg, a Royal Wedding does something that only happens once in a blue moon in this country: it brings us all a bit closer together.
Follow Bobby on Twitter: @TheBobPalmer