22 May 2018

The Royal Wedding ...

... just carries on and on in the Meeja.

I can only say that I find aspects of it puzzling and alienating.

Some things I just don't even begin to understand: such as why Ms M keeps describing herself daily as a Feminist while apparently happy to be called a Duchess simply because she has married a Duke.

Alienating? The host of  'celebrities' invited to the party alienates me. I suppose in a different age the 'invitees' might have been from other Royal Families, from the Bitish Aristocracy, and from people in our public or political life. Like most ordinary Englishmen, I could discover members of aristocratic families among relations by marriage, or Oxford acquaintances, or former pupils. Foreign Royalty? I met on comfortable terms the late King of Romania; and a Duke of the House of Bourbon. I have mingled socially and bibulously with Members of Parliament. Being quite a small nation, we are comfortably integrated and surprisingly egalitarian.

But all these International Celebrities ... I think they are known technically as "A-list" ... Sir Elton John ... Clooneys ... Serena Williams ... Ophra Winfrey ... Batman, probably ... etc. etc. ... there is not a snowball's chance in Infernis that I have or ever could run into any of them, such is their inaccessible greatness. They are of a mighty altitudo far, far above my humiliated reach. I imagine they are the sort of people whose doings are related in the glossy Celebrity magazines one sees adolescent girls devouring in omnibuses. Looking at the TV clips of those confident lordlings striding into Windsor Castle, I knew how the French must have felt when Herr Hitler visited Paris in 1940 and was photographed in front of the Eiffel Tower.

                     *               *               *               *               *               *

Incidentally, according to the Times, the music played included Greensleeves ... and the wedding took place on the anniversary of the day Anne Boleyn lost her head. And there was a Henry with Welsh connections involved in all that, too ... perhaps I should take more interest in the blacker implications of last Saturday's events ...

What a cheap fool that American 'bishop' is ... it would be fun to see him taking part in a 'historical  reenactment' in the road outside the front door of the Master of Balliol.

Conveniently, the spot is already marked.

36 comments:

Suzanne Jacklin said...

Fr. Hunwicke: I'm afraid that I have to AGREE with you, as regards to the crass 'spectacle' of this Royal Wedding! I'm Canadian -- so, part of the British Commonwealth -- but, under what is now a "Constitutional Monarchy". That is to say, that we scrapped the BNA Act, and replaced it with our own 'Constitution', with Queen Elizabeth II's gracious approval.

I actually watched the whole thing on T.V. and was literally, 'appalled' by the media coverage! It was DEFINITELY presented in an American-style, 'Celebrity Worship' manner! So many truly IGNORANT comments were made in the non-stop, running 'commentaries': even to the point of making 'assumptions' about the couple, and 'dissing' the Duchess of Cambridge for 'publicly, wearing (her) outfit for the 4th time'! How 'rude'! How 'UN-kind'! As well, I felt really sorry for 'Ms. M's' mother -- sitting there, all alone, and surrounded by 'celebrities' and 'Royalty' -- WAY OUT of her element! She looked to me to be extremely 'uncomfortable'. While Harry seems to 'love' her, I worry for him. At some point, he will begin to see her 'true colours' ...

Tom Broughton said...

While I liked the message of his sermon, it missed the mark. Why? Well, it started off nicely talking about love and how God is love; however, he then transitioned into a civil rights speech by bringing up slavery. I do not have a problem with civil rights speeches, but a wedding is not the proper place to do that. Additionally, he adds more civil rights themes by talking in a very verbose way about how the history of fire and then segueing into how we should come together as one community via love. While I do agree that we should come together as a community and love each other, the sermon again misses the mark because until it is not until the very end does Bishop Curry finally relate his homily to the couple getting married. Moreover, he clearly did not cater his talk to his audience; instead he made his discourse about him and the civil rights message he wanted the attentive world to hear. He should have catered his message to the couple waiting to receive the sacrament of marriage by talking about Harry and Meghan's vocation to married life, and then relating that to Christ and love. Finally, his talk ran way too long. Compare his sermon with that of Bishop Richard Chartres, and you will see what I mean.

Father, if you could please explain the "it would be fun to see him taking part in a 'historical reenactment' in the road outside the front door of the Master of Balliol" comments, I would love to learn what you mean. I want to laugh, too.

Jesse said...

I had not noticed the Boleyn anniversary, Father. I had, however, contemplated the significance of holding the wedding on the feast of a former Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Dunstan (d. 988).

In 955, Dunstan, then abbot of Glastonbury, attended the coronation feast of King Eadwig. The new king's seat at the feast was mysteriously vacant. Dunstan and his kinsman Cynesige (bishop of Lichfield) were deputed by the nobles to bring the king back. They found Eadwig in his chamber, and first noticed that the royal crown had been carelessly dropped on the floor. Eadwig himself they found lying between two women -- the voluptuous future queen Aelgifu, and her own mother! -- velut in vili suillorum volutabro, creberrime volutantem. Dunstan forcibly dragged Eadwig out from the women's embrace, slapped the crown back on his head, and marched him back to the feast.

Needless to say, Dunstan's estates were confiscated, and he had to flee to Flanders. He returned only in 957, when Eadwig was overthrown in favour of his brother Edgar.

Which all goes to show that princes ought to take great care in dalliances with ignominiosae mulieres.

(Of course I do not mean to imply that the Duchess of Sussex is among them! I'm sure she will encourage her husband in great liberality towards Glastonbury Abbey. Er...)

1569 Rising said...

Father,

Can I echo your sentiments exactly. I am a confirmed arch-Royalist, and one who rejoices in observing the splendour and dignity of our very British way of conducting public ceremonials.

But, I have but two comments to make: Bishop Curry's "sermon" for me was the wrong speech (which is what it was), in the wrong place, to the wrong audience and embarrassing to our most wonderful monarch. Secondly, who was the Archbishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and why was he there?

My only consolation, and I think I echo Father's sentiments here, lies in the fact that apart from Her Majesty and the Royal Family (and my greatly respected Sir John Major), I hardly recognised any of the crowd in the choir stalls. Of course, I don't read Celeb Magazines, for which I am truly grateful.

Fr Martin Fox said...

"What a cheap fool that American 'bishop' is..."

Dear Father, may I ask you to expand on that? What was so terribly wrong with him?

Archer said...

Serena Williams Is Queen of Wimbledon, and Elton John is Queen of Glam. The celebrities, who earned their status through individual talent and not through accident of birth, are the new royalty, beloved by the common people who experience their own fellowship in this shared love.

It’s unfortunate you’re such a crusty, loveless old snob.

GOR said...

Yes, it was difficult to avoid the coverage here across the pond also. Not only BBC America had “wall-to-wall” coverage but just about every ‘celebrity’ channel, not to mention the national networks.

With little interest in “A-list” personages - who appear to be famous for being famous – I reflected more on the succession of divorcees entering Royal circles - going back to Wallis Simpson, continuing with Parker-Bowles and now Markle-Engelson. But I gather getting a ‘Duchess’ moniker covers a lot of…what?

Sadie Vacantist said...

Very funny. Was the best gag unintentional?

... perhaps I should take more interest in the blacker implications of last Saturday's events ...

William Tighe said...


"Father, if you could please explain the "it would be fun to see him taking part in a 'historical reenactment' in the road outside the front door of the Master of Balliol" comments, I would love to learn what you mean. I want to laugh, too."

Well, here are two hints: 16 October 1555 and 21 March 1556.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Tom

Outside the front door of the Master's Lodgings, there is a cross marked into the cobbles indicating the spot where Ridley, Latimer, Cranmer, were burned for heresy.

I have a strong suspicion the Coptic gentleman was the Coptic bishop in Londom and that his presence was the idea of Prince Charles. He has been taking a great interest in the persecuted Christians of the Middle East, and has been a visitor at London's Coptic Church. For which, God bless him.

Dear Archer

Not so much, please, of the "old".

Gilbert said...

I managed to keep awake for the entire service from my online vantage point on the West Coast of Canada.

The wedding ceremony was a puzzling affair for its mishmash of aesthetics, and politics. Syncretism comes to mind. Big on looks, low on substance. Which is to say, no one should be surprised that it lacked the proper focus. The St George’s Chapel Choir did well, as should be expected. As for the Kingdom Choir—the director's magnificent hairdo, the Choir's excellent singing, and a wrong choice of music. There's plenty of gospel music out there from which to choose. So, why a version of "Stand By Me" and other trite ditties?

Kathleen1031 said...

The British royals have obviously decided there is not enough coffee in the cream, and have added some color to the proceedings. The PC obsession and guilting over being white have made it all the way into the royal family. Harry had virtually the entire world to pick from, and he chose an African American woman, and shipped in a Rev from America to jazz it up. It is pretty incredible, Americans tuned in and perhaps the world tuned in, to see something elegant, lovely, different from what we all have every day, and pretty much saw what we all have every day.
I heard literally 6.5 seconds of the sermon. He was just hitting the Martin Luther King bit and out I went. Not the place for it, nor the setting. As an American, I was embarrassed.
It should have been an English bishop. That was the setting, this is historic. I am utterly miffed at all the royals right now. They could have saved Alfie Evans and they didn't.
I don't wish to be a party pooper and mention her first marriage, nor their chances for a lifetime of bliss, although I can't help but hope for it for them.
And Archer, those people you mentioned, they are perfect for today's "royalty", vulgar, worldly people. Perfect.

Etienne said...

I wonder if the problem with that "cheap fool" Bishop Curry is that he is American? For that, evidently, he should be burned to death? I ask the same question as Fr. Fox. What was so horribly wrong with him that he deserves such remarks from you.

tubbs said...

Only if Curry would stick his offensive tongue in the flames...

Arthur Gallagher said...

Everything about the royal wedding was cringeworthy. The delegation of black celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams, who are certainly not friends of the bride, and who are only there because of their race. The divorced "bride" wearing white, a disgusting and grotesque act, not only because of her previous marriage, but because she has been, by all accounts, notably unchaste. The attention-seeking Episcopalian prelate, brought in for the occasion, again, because of his race, who gave a political speech, dressed up as a christian sermon, which was totally out-of-place. Since the bride was a nominal Catholic, I can only assume that she is a very newly minted Anglican, if she is one at all. With no relationship to the bride, the prelate was evidently there for the added "pizazz" I suppose she thinks that "She showed them" Even the ordinary niceties, observed by any decent people, were not followed. She was well and truly "shacked-up" with the new hubby before the wedding, and actually used HIS stationary to issue a statement regarding her father, before the wedding. That is just not done. She felt the need to have someone give her away, and none of her male relatives were willing or able to do so. Perhaps Mother could, under those circumstances, have walked her down. But, mother is not a celebrity, so, Voila! Prince Charles stood in! Just Not Done! Not ever done! Wrong side of the family! I am aware that the British Royal Family have abandoned the requirement of "equal blood", but it should be expected that the bride come from a respectable and superior house. This is not the case. People might think that this last observation is snobbish, or cruel, yet social rank cannot be arbitrary. If he can marry the likes of her, then I should not have to refer to him as a Royal highness. Or her. Ever. In the mad rush to appear "relevant" the royals have surrendered their status as exemplars. Again. I could go on and on, really. The music was "in your face" They might as well have chanted "WE are here---GET USED TO IT!!!" It seems that the congregation sensed a good deal of this, since they looked, for the most part, uncomfortable, unhappy, nervous, or insincere. Their facial expressions made the event look like a mass administration of enemas by the National Health Service.

Thomas Beyer said...

There is no such thing as an unassailably logical or practical criterion for nobility, but there must be an aristocracy. Therefore, the blatantly-random (and consequently impartial) criterion of birthright is the only criterion that truly makes sense.

God save the Queen!

Franciscus Priscus said...

Hear, hear! It was a sad rigmarole. While non-dynastic, non-equal marriage crept in with George V and George VI, at least their spouses were of near royal blood or of ancient noble stock. That little Harry of Gluecksburg has been allowed to "marry" that person indicates perhaps a loss of self-identity and self-confidence on the part of the reigning house. Which is also, perhaps, a loss of the Mandate of Heaven. Perhaps a reconstituted House of Hereditary Peerd could send an invitation to that wee principality nestled between Switzerland and Austria...

William Arthurs said...

A comment from my American correspondent, who got up before dawn to watch the whole thing: 'Why did he not say "with my body I thee worship"? That's what they said in "Four Weddings and a Funeral". '

I had to write back with a history of 20th c. liturgical reform. I also sent scans of some pages from Wordsworth's "The Old Service Books of the English Church" discussing the vernacular elements in the mediaeval services: the words spoken by the bride and groom, substantially as in BCP, are ancient.

It occurred to me yesterday that Prince Harry's father is Patron of the Prayer Book Society. I wonder who that Royal Patronage will be passed on to, when Prince Charles decides to retire.

Jhayes said...

Arthur Gallagher wrote: "Since the bride was a nominal Catholic, I can only assume that she is a very newly minted Anglican, if she is one at all"

The New York Times corrected an article to say that Ms. Markle was a Protestant, not a Catholic.

"And it was only in 2013 that the law was amended so that members of the royal family could marry Catholics without losing their place in the line of succession. Ms. Markle, a Protestant, was not baptized as a child. She attended a Catholic girls’ school in her native Los Angeles.

Correction: November 28, 2017
An earlier version of a summary accompanying this article misidentified Meghan Markle’s faith. She is a Protestant, not a Catholic"

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/28/world/europe/uk-royal-wedding-harry-meghan-markle.html

I recall reading that she was baptised and confirmed by the Archbishop of Canterbury recently, so was Anglican at the time of the marriage.

Alan said...

Hmm, I spotted the Greensleeves connection, and someone quickly drew to my attention the coincidence with the date of Anne Boleyn's execution.

On the "divorced" thing, may I point out ecumenically that the Archbishop of Canterbury, in presiding at Prince Harry's marriage to a woman previously married in a non-Christian ceremony, is doing precisely what the Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid did when he celebrated the nuptial Mass for the then Prince of Asturias, now King Felipe VI, and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano. Dr Ortiz had married her Ph.D. supervisor in a civil ceremony.

Ms Markle is NOT a Roman Catholic, and was actually baptised before her wedding. While not as erudite as Queen Letizia, she is only the second royal bride to have a degree, Her skin colour isn't particularly relevant - and the "coffee in the cream" reference is just plain nasty.

And, finally, for a real duchess in her own right, there's another victim of H8, more sympathetic than AB - Blessed Margaret Pole.

Jhayes said...

Regarding the validity of Ms. Markle's prior marriage, the National Catholic Register (EWTN) says We don't know.

"Meghan Markle was not baptized as a baby, and her family — her parents divorced while she was a child — had a mixed religious heritage. Church attendance does not seem to have played much part in her life at any point. She had a lavish beach party stretching over three days when she married a longtime boyfriend in a civil ceremony. They divorced two years later....

And then the wedding. A ceremony in St. George’s chapel, Windsor, amid massive public excitement. Was that earlier beach ceremony valid?

The Church of England has no procedure for discussing nullity, so we just don’t know."

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/joannabogle/the-mystery-of-meghan-markles-baptism

If she had been a baptised Catholic and had applied for an annulment, it is likely that the beach wedding would have been held invalid for lack of canonical form if not for other reasons.

Roseanne said...

And, guess who wrote Greensleves. None other than King Henry the 8th, reportedly for Ann Boleyn. True fact.

Ma No said...

Very surprised to see anyone ask what was so wrong with the "bishop's" sermon, and very disappointed to see anyone defending it.

Jonathan Dandridge said...

"...a mass administration of enemas by the National Health Service." Perfect.

Although that lot could probably afford to go private as it's probably a 6 month wait for an enema at the NHS.

Anonymous said...

Those wondering why Michael Curry is held in such low esteem by our host might consider the following from Wikepedia:

"In January 2016, Primates in the Anglican Communion gathered at Canterbury Cathedral, mother church of the global Anglican Communion, at the invitation of the Most Rev. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was the first such meeting attended by Michael Curry as presiding bishop. Human sexuality and the Episcopal Church's July 2015 approval of same-sex marriage rites were prominent topics of discussion.

"The primates in attendance unanimously resolved to walk together before a majority of Anglican Primates also publicly sanctioned the Episcopal Church, for a period of three years, demanding that it 'no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.' In the aftermath of sanctions, Curry maintained his public support for same-sex marriage"

That, above all, was why he was really asked to speak at the recent celebrity event, and that is what he was driving at with his insistent theme of universal 'love'.

Patrick Sheridan said...

With regards to Fr Hunwicke's "cheap fool" comment, I think it's a totally merited observation, and it has nothing to do with anti-American "snobbery." What was great, or original, or insightful, or even memorable about the black American bishop's rather appalling sermon? I saw many people in the congregation trying to hold back laughter at what was obviously a political screed, totally inappropriate for any wedding let alone the wedding of a Prince to...someone. If you think that Lancelot Andrewes, a rather brilliant man, used to preach before King James I at Windsor, the contrast with to-day is astounding. How far standards have dropped! Throughout the whole thing I felt sorry for The Queen.

Arthur Gallagher said...

I am pleased to be corrected, that the former Ms. Markle had not indeed apostasized for gain, but the revelation that she was an unbaptized person, enjoying the gravy train of a Catholic education rather confirms my suspicions about the kind of family that she comes from, and the kind of person she is. And, now that it suits her, she has received the Sacrament of Baptism. I wonder, was it the beautiful hymns, or the dignified services that brought her into the Church of England?

Fr Martin Fox said...

I asked what was our genial host was so terrible about the American bishop...

NOT because I was offended...

NOT because I suspect anti American prejudice...

NOT because I am defensive, but because...

Rather than guess at Fr. H's reasons, it seemed better to find out!

So, I asked.

P.S. I too, found the "coffee and cream" comment nasty. And utterly baffling. I simply do not grasp any good reason to care about someone's skin color.

Woody said...

While I only saw a few excerpts of the wedding (still following Archbishop Lefebvre’s advice against viewing the TV, except when Her Honor has it on and I pass by), my uneducated speculation is that some in the Royal Family saw it as a chance to add a multi-ethnic component to the brand, fitting in with the changing demographics of the UK, it would seem.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

I felt that the Primus was attempting to rerun the role and rhetoric of a Martin Luther King. Whatever any of us think about MLK, he was a brilliant rhetorician ... emphases, pauses; every detail worked out. And he knew that he was taking a risk. And he was.

I rather pity people who make themselves feel big by heroically refighting yesterday's battles. I thought that was happening here.

I agree with what some comments say about colour. I don't know how well Ms M is acquainted with each of those she invited. It may have been her custom to take tea with Mr Curry every thursday fortnight ... perhaps she and Serena curl up together daily for girly chats ... but I was left with an uneasy feeling that there might be politics in some of those black faces. If I am wrong, I am sorry.

I suppose Ms Jefferts Schori, if she were still in office, might have been invited because she is female and 'feminist', despite being disappointingly unblack. But I wonder if poor Mr Griswold (III) would have made the cut. Too male, too white ... or am I wrong here too?

And if I am wrong in everything I have written above: well, I thought the Meejah hyperbole about Curry being the finest preacher in the Anglican Communion needed to be cut down to size. I've heard better homilies from seminarians on placement. And, in my view, there's nothing 'charismatic' in going over one's allotted time in a carefully timed event. Just bad manners.

I am not really in favour of burning anybody. Readers who thought I was should stop reading this blog until they've done an extensive course in English humorous literature.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

I too, found the "coffee and cream" comment nasty. And utterly baffling. I simply do not grasp any good reason to care about someone's skin color.

Dear Father. You may not care but you are not amongst those who control cultural discourse and cultural discourse is about many things, including identity politics.

American cultural life would automatically exclude your opinions as valid because you are white, male, catholic, ordained, and straight

Alan said...

Don't quite understand Arthur's point about the "gravy train" of a Catholic education for Ms Markle. The school she attended was, of course, the decision of her parents - as were the schools attended by Messrs Corbyn and Cameron and Mrs May, which are sometimes politically weaponised.

My understanding about Catholic schools in the USA is that, because of interpretation of the provision in the country's constitution prohibiting establishment of religion, they are all private, and rather than a gravy train, Ms Markle's education may have required some sacrifice from a family of modest means. By contrast, of the dozen or so primary schools within a couple of miles of my home, seven are denominational - 4 Anglican, 2 RC, one Muslim, and all state-funded and free of charge.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Do asI do and support the House of Plantagenet. The heir is catholic.

Jhayes said...

A Coat of Arms has been created for The Duchess of Sussex. The design of the Arms was agreed and approved by Her Majesty The Queen and Mr. Thomas Woodcock (Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England), who is based at the College of Arms in London.

It can be seen here

Jhayes said...


Alan, you are quite right about the sacrifice for a family of modest means. The school website states that "Tuition for the 2017-2018 school year has been set at $15,900 plus fees." - although it may be reduced for some families with limited income.

Also "Immaculate Heart admits students of any faith, race, color, national or ethnic origin. Applicants are accepted on the basis of their performance on the entrance examination, their previous school records and recommendations.

https://www.immaculateheart.org

Unknown said...

re the Ginger and Sparkle Show and its attendant culture rolling over our whole world like some immense tidal wave:
It's a new religion, innit? All those Celebrities behave like gods and goddesses; they are not subject to limits like mere mortals. We offer the new gods and goddesses sacrifices (abortions etc), sympathy, orgiastic liturgies which we can watch on the telly, gold, and praise. Their downfall provides us with great satisfaction and grief. And yet we christians dont seem to be alarmed by this new culture of idolatry. How can we withstand its ways of seeing and knowing and speaking and singing and experiencing? As they say where I live 'piace alla gente' the people like it. What's not to like.
One wonders: how did Christianity ever get started? Whatever can possibly have been its appeal among the pagans with their vastly superior forms of excitement?