Even I have grown weary of the media hype over the impending wedding of Kate and William tomorrow. I don't even feel the need to say Kate and William who, because unless you are living on the moon you know who they are. I suppose the final straw for me was the email from iTunes telling me I could pre-purchase the music from the wedding and all I could think was "Why the hell would I? Why would ANYONE?!?". This is actually a bit sad for me, because you see, dear friends, I am a closet fairytale believer, and I have been for a very long time.
When I was growing up my favourite fairytale was always "Beauty and the Beast". There was just something about that particular fairytale that seemed a bit more raw than the others, a bit more "real". I read several different variations of it (including the supposedly original French one), and was always enchanted by it (not so much when it got Disney-fied, though). When Prince Charles announced his engagement to Diana in 1981 it actually seemed a bit like Beauty and the Beast to me - Diana was certainly a beauty and while Charles wasn't exactly a beast he wasn't really a handsome young prince, either. I suppose I hoped he was the handsome prince in spirit, though, who would overcome his enormous ears and advanced age with his pure and absolute devotion to his beautiful princess. I was one of those who got up early to watch their wedding. I was one of those who watched Diana walk down the aisle and become a real princess. I was one of those who watched their marriage unravel, and who realized that Charles wasn't a handsome prince in appearance or spirit. I was one of those cried when they heard the news report about an accident in a tunnel in France. I was one of those who watched her funeral and thought it was surreal and just deeply, terribly, wrong. I was one of those who watched two boys grow up without their mother. I was one of those who wanted to see happily ever after, and who felt saddened when it didn't materialize.
The fairytale of Charles and Diana ended badly. It ended badly in so very many ways, and it wasn't really a fairytale at all. It was just the story of two people no more and no less than the rest of us, but with the entire world watching them as they tried and failed, and eventually as one of them died far too soon and senselessly.
Tomorrow at 3 am local time Kate and William will wed. I might just watch the wedding, as due to insomnia I am often awake at that time. This time, though, I am not watching a fairytale. I am watching two young people wed just as my niece and her new husband did last year, and just as I did many, many years ago. I am watching two young people embark on a future none of us can predict. I am watching as they launch themselves into their future, and I hope they achieve a marriage of happiness and joy. Not happily ever after, mind you. Maybe just something like it.