Thursday, April 28, 2011

Defense of the Royals: My Two Cents

I'll admit it straight up--- I know very little about England's royal family. I am American and we don't have royalty here. The little bit I do know comes from passing glances at the rack of magazines and such while waiting in line at the grocery store. Therefore my base of knowledge is small and likely inaccurate as well!

This is what I have read. The wedding costs are: 8 million, or 32 million, or upwards of 70 million.

What I want to comment on is the loud level of complaining I keep hearing regarding the cost of the upcoming wedding of Prince Whatever and Kate. Certainly, a gazillion dollars is a lot of money. A quantity as foreign to me as those itty bitty cars built  like a soup can with wheels that they drive over there. I'll never have a gazillion dollars, really. Most people on this planet will not either. What I keep hearing is how folks think that kind of money could be better spent. Opinions. Which we all know are like assholes, right?

(everyone's got one)

I cannot argue that it is not a large sum of money. I know as well, that a lot of people could benefit from that money. There are people starving all over the world. There are people who are homeless. There are people who need to be in a rehabilitation clinic to detox from drug addiction and get treatment but there is no money to pay for it. Children who need surgeries to survive. Women who need employable skills to support their families but cannot afford the education. 

A cake that cost $30,000 better be damn tasty. An orgasm for the mouth. I suspect it will be.

Here is the thing with weddings though. Most of the money spent on a wedding goes to other people. The bride keeps her dress of course, there are tangible items that will go into memory boxes or books. But a good amount of the money is going to go to things that are intangible. I mean, imagine a couple arrives in your community wanting to get married with a 5 million dollar budget. Willing and able to spend $400 on a haircut, per hair. Renting tables. Buying flowers. Hiring a driver and a car. Buying dresses, shoes, jewelry. Security and bodyguards sought out. And I mean, that is like 1% of the services that will be purchased and goods that will be sold or rented. Suddenly the working people in your town are flush with jobs, opportunity and a big financial boost. You, your friends, your neighbors.

Millions will be spent by guests, spectators and media. Food, drinks, hotels, airfare, just to note a few things. 

Maybe it is my perspective as an American (not all Americans, just me, I'm not stereotyping). Maybe, and this is quite possible, this is my personal unemployed way of looking at it. And I know, some of this is being paid for with the tax dollars collected from citizens. However, is there a better way of spending taxed money than pumping it directly back in to the hands of the people who live and work there?

Should the happy couple skip the big wedding and give the money to an organization like Doctors Without Borders?  I can't say that they shouldn't. I mean, the argument essentially ends the discussion. Save a child, help a child, or have massive amounts of rare, imported flowers for a bouquet. Right. I don't have to decide. That's good.

As it is, William and Kate are donating all of their gifts to charity. Now personally, I find that offensive. My immediate reaction was positive. What a great thing to do- certainly they won't want for anything and charities of course survive on donations. It just seems like, here is my token gift honoring your love and respecting your future together, my share of enjoyment in your happiness, my special contribution to your most special day, and you want to throw in the bin? Why don't you throw it at my head while you are at it. If you are going to be so rude as to eschew your gifts, you may as well be rude enough to tell folks "no gifts, just a check please".

From what I see, they are spending huge amounts of money on services, and whatever goods are received will be given away. I don't know, is that so bad? What was spent on your wedding? What more deserving place could that money have gone?

( I know, I know, some people got married at city hall and only spent $40 for the license. I don't mean you. It's just an idea for comparison).

So I will probably watch whatever is still on when I get up. I seem to remember from Diana's wedding that the time difference is unholy. I am sure all the interesting details will be rehashed ad nauseum for months. What do you think? Does it all cost too much? Is it worth it? Will you watch? Do you care?

I put in an opinion poll to the left of this post just for fun. It's right under the blogher ad and should line right up!


  1. I agree with you Essie. People grumbled about Chelsea Clinton's wedding which was in a small town down here in NY. The funny part was, her parents paid for it so I'm not sure why people were complaining -- oh wait, that's right, he's a former president so we have to pay for his security, which we would have had to do no matter what, so yeah, I guess I still don't get it, but anyway.

    I totally agree with you, sure the Clinton's spent alot on Chelsea's wedding, but hot dog, they pumped alot of money into that small town's economy. A whole lot of people in that small town had a great financial year last year, you can bet.

    I think sometimes people forget to consider the other aspects-- like the tourism that something like a royal wedding brings in, and all the other money MAKING things that surrounding the event. It's easy to focus on the wedding itself and all the opulence and extravagance because that's what the media shows us, but there is a money making side to this as well, especially, as you pointed out, to all the artisans and small business owners.

  2. I am totally meh. Whatev. Do not care. I am not paying for it. Not invited. Not watching it on tv.

  3. Confession: we are NUTS about it, and I plan to set my alarm for 4 am because the kids and I are going to get up and watch it. We're baking scones tonight for the event (you know, very Brit-like of us...tea and scones). I think we all just need a little fairy tale amidst the reality that is life. Also, I have always respected the work of Princess Di (after all, she was one of the first to speak out against homophobia during the initial HIV/AIDS hysteria), so I feel like I want to honor her son and it's sad that she's not around to do so. Okay, this all sounds weird...will you still hang out with me?!

  4. Of course now Teena has gotten wind of the whole thing and wants daddy to wake her up to watch. LOL, she knows asking me to get up at 4 is useless ha ha.

  5. i read on someone else's blog (and i'm too lazy to do the research to check) that the taxpayer contribution is actually minimal for this particular event.

    As a colonial, we have a love/hate relationship with em (queen is our head of state). I reckon as long as they do good works and don't say stupid stuff they can continue to live lol.

    I think it's a bit rude to give away your wedding gifts: the rest of us have to keep the salt and pepper shakers in the shape of kangaroos and emus to please the rellies! Price you pay for being "special".

  6. I'm a Brit lurker and fan of your blog and couldn't resist responding to this post. William is the heir to the British throne, with all the responsibilities that will entail, and it would be very difficult to cut down the ceremony and numbers involved without causing serious offense and breach of protocol. It's also important for his future relationship with the British people, there's an ownership of the royal family and they have responsibilities there too. What I was very aware of today, having seen Princess Diana's wedding 30 years ago, was the simplicity, elegance and lack of ostentation in William's wedding. In a country with severe economic problems, it was a good gesture - everything was done properly but very simply, and my family who watched the wedding together today, agreed we were very proud of him.

  7. I meant to add too - William's working life, like his mother's working life, and now his wife's too, will be devoted to service and nothing but service in various forms. His grandmother at the age of 85 is still devoting her life to service, with no retirement or end in sight until the end of her life. That to her, and her family, are the duty they were born to.

  8. personally I was pretty unengaged in the whole thing, heard about this morning, looked at the pics of the dress, that's it. I must say that I think the money is a bit ridiculous but I feel that way about a lot of things that are big and excessive

  9. I totally agree with Corey - I'm just meh about it all. I remember my aunt watching Diana and Chuckie's wedding when I was younger and it was just so long and boring, and then all the repeat coverage, etc. Those memories, along with having never been a Royal Watcher (bad Canadian!), equals drea is not interested. I suspect my little one would have been pretty psyched if she'd caught wind of it, but I didn't go out of my way to bring it to her attention.

    I was content to be meh about it... until this morning... when I started getting stupid calls at work related to the wedding... and I had to spend time hunting down information for responses, etc. Then I became pretty freaking pissed about damn thing.

    As for the gift thing - I heard they were actually requesting donations to their personal selection of charities in lieu of gifts... so Essie you were bang on when you said "cheques please." (Note the UK/Cdn spelling!)

    You raise excellent points about the economy surge too.

  10. i just hope with all those people watching they got to elope before the wedding, but even though i am not interested in the royals, weddings, or anything related, i sat and watched, as it was history in the making. it is quite possible that this wedding will be the last of the big royal weddings. ever, i find it hard to belive that the windsors will still be around in a hundred years or so.

  11. Okay, you had me at the bum story. My 13-year-old Rad boy DID NOT enjoy my enjoyment. He did not think parents should talk about pee fingers with little girls. He was very upset that I laughed and cried for about 5 minutes, I was so loud I woke my 80-something Aunt. But Casey outdid my scene. Surprise!
    I loved the wedding, serene,Grace Kelly style works for me and the new Royals. Money is like water, it just changes form and rains down again.
    I will follow you.

  12. It's oddly exciting to have a British lurker pop up with an inside perspective on the royals!

    Dreag- what do you do (should I know this?) that you had to answer questions about?

    I think if that sassy redhead gets married soon his will be a big wedding as well. It is weird to me to remember so clearly the Charles and Diana wedding, Will's birth and now he is married. I can't be old enough for all this.

    Sam, so sorry to wake your aunt, LOL! And cause some wango tango in your house. That post is probably one of my all time favorites, I giggled just writing it!

    Ha ha, the rest of us have to keep emu shakers- LOL, that is SO true.

  13. Not quite sure how I got to your blog -- bouncing here and there -- but couldn't agree with your wedding perspective more. I got up and watched at 3:45 a.m. I wouldn't miss it. Fun stuff. Unfortunately I did not contribute to the economy by buying the Will and Kate bobble heads. I had no room what with all the kangaroo and emu salt shakers I've been collecting!

  14. I totally agree with you - and just look at how much pleasure so many people got out of it (even me, who never saw a bit of it live, spent twenty minutes looking at photos of the guests' hats on yahoo - and enjoyed every stolen moment of it! I heard the BBC interviewing some poverty stricken woman in Kenya or somewhere, watching from her shelter and LOVING every moment!

    I hear this same thing about the cost of political campaigns. And, I want to ask - "What do you think they are DOING with the money? Burning it?" Because in the next breath they'll be bemoaning the fate of the "small business person" in our economy...all the while the printers, the caterers, the car rental folk, the hotel owners (even the maids) are just jumping at the idea that some of that money might be coming their way.

  15. I just LOVED the whole thing. And of course, when you're IN the UK, the time difference isn't a factor so I got to see it at the very civilised hour of 11am :) With cupcakes. And and a free holiday. What's not to like?


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