The French and the Royal wedding

The French and the Royal wedding Royal Wedding by

This article was written by Charlotte Derrett, published on 27th April 2011 and has been read 4302 times.

Working on the Dauphiné Libéré, a daily newspaper in the Rhône Alpes region, year abroad student, Charlotte Derrett, has realised that it is not only the British who love a Royal Wedding... But the French too. William and Kate have been headlines all over France and whilst she won't be in England to watch, she’s certain she won't miss out too much...Here is her take on France and the image of patriotic England.
Unfortunately, I think my invite got lost in the post. I also forgot to pack my Union Jack flag, so I won’t be hanging it out of my window on Friday. However, I most certainly will be watching in anticipation, like most girls across the country. Will it be a meringue-style-dress or simple and classy, and who will be the next designer boomeranged into the spotlight?

On the 16th November 2010 it was announced that Prince William and his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton were to marry. “Hooray!”, everyone thought, “that means a day off work!”. A bank holiday for the whole of England. But unfortunately, not here in la douce France. I was considering mentioning it at work, after all I am English. However, I decided to compromise in the end, watching it on the telly in the office.

According to the BBC, the government estimates the global television audience for the celebration, on the 29th April, will be two billion. I have never understood the craze of the Royal Family, despite being British. In fact I don’t really know any one person who is particularly royalistic. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against them, I have no personal objection or grievance, in fact I quite like the magic and aura of their existence…I just don’t eat my lunch off a plate with their faces printed on, staring back at me.

I know the image of the British with their Union Jack towels on the beach is famous across the world, however, over the past few years the concept of being ‘evidently’ patriotic has dwindled. The idea of ‘political correctness’ is something that hovers over the whole of England and has, in my opinion, taken control. Last summer during the World Cup, there was a national unease as pressure mounted to be ‘PC’. Many people were advised at work not to hang the St George Flag during the World Cup as it could ‘discriminate’ against those who are not English. Yet, in spite of this, England is set to celebrate the Royal wedding in style, even if it is just to say thank you to Mr Cameron for the day off work.

Truthfully, we all love a Royal wedding involving a handsome prince and a beautiful princess…It’s the childhood fairytale becoming reality, and, after all, the Royal family’s main business is to maintain its Disney-like aura to boost the UK’s tourist industry, is it not?

Since being in France you would not believe the number of comments I have had thrown at me, simply because I am English. I am English…Therefore I am obviously Kate’s best friend, an old flame of William’s and of course, I often do lunch with Princess Eugenie. In fact, I have discussed the monarchy more times - since I have been in France - than over the past 20 years I have lived in England. No we do not learn the Monarchy at primary school, no I cannot name every Duke, Princess, Prince, Queen nor King ever to have lived and no I do not know if the Queen drinks a cup of PG Tips every morning (let’s be honest, it’s more likely it’s Twinings anyway).

There is an impression, according to the French press, that England is in complete hysteria over the royal wedding. It is true…We like a good excuse for a party and what better excuse than the marriage of our future King? It is also true that the English enjoy being patriotic (when the occasion occurs) and yes, I presume there is a large percentage of people who have bought the souvenir spoons, but it really isn’t everyone.

It has been said that Kate will wear a wedding ring made of Welsh gold (assuming it is not lost by Harry), but William will not wear a ring, as it is rumoured he is not one for jewellery. I am sure that they will receive wonderful presents, after all in 1947 the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh received over 2,500, including 131 pairs of nylon stockings and 500 tins of pineapple…Who knows what 2011 will bring? 

France is just as excited. The wedding has made front page of many magazines and newspapers for the past two weeks. The French are just as interested in William’s receding hairline as well as Kate’s extreme pre-wedding weight loss…As if she had anything to lose anyway! Having said that, there is a serious lack of souvenir cufflinks, magnets, garden gnomes, tea towels, plates, sick bags, false nails etc. More importantly, there is no ‘Kate doll’ (maybe there is a quick money-making sideline for me here…).

Despite my initial cynicism, I am actually quite excited to sit with my cup of tea and pack of Rich Tea biscuits and watch the celebration - you can take the girl out of England but not the English out of the girl - and anyway, it will most definitely be something to tell the grandchildren about.

If you would like to comment, please login or register.