Finally, it's all over, news reports can go back to the grim stories from what seems to be a large part of continental Africa, both Arab and black. For more than a week every news bulletin has been fanning the flames of wedding frenzy. The same tired old experts have been trotted out, we have had tradition, pomp and circumstance, pageantry and Royalty rammed down our throats relentlessly, but everything comes to its end. The frenzy is over, the deed has been done, to the delight and dismay, in equal measure, of the population of the UK. An additional instalment has been added to the soap opera that is the House of Windsor. We have seen the dress, the kiss(es), the other dresses and hats, the coaches, the splendid uniforms and the even more splendid vestments of the clergy. We have reminded ourselves of the ancient couple at the helm of the whole edifice.
Fevered excitement and annoyed lack of interest were the order of the day. Nobody managed to remain indifferent. Beloved and I sat glued to the TV screen for the whole of the wedding service, I couldn't have switched off for the life of me; these things become compulsive viewing. I adored the interviews with people at street parties in towns and villages and members of the throng lining the streets of London itself; it was as if the camera crews had combed the crowds for the ugliest people, in the most ridiculous outfits, who promptly repaid selection by spouting enthusiastic tripe. I love finding a reason to feel superior, don't you?
|St Catherine of Sienna|
fresco by Andrea Vanni, ca, 14th century
The Queen created a trio of new titles for Prince William, and Catherine is now the Duchess of Cambridge.
I am not a Royalist but I have to admit that she looked very fetching, as did her sister and brother. A handsome family, the Middletons. A few chiselled cheekbones and clearly defined chins should work wonders for the pudding faced Windsors.
I don't suppose the fact that the 29th April is also the feast day of Catherine of Sienna had any bearing on the choice of day.
Nor this bit of advice for the 29th April which I found in The Anatomy of Abuses 1586, which those of an irreverent disposition might find amusing:
Put Taurean bulls to cows now for early calves next year. The bulls must not feed with cows for two months before their leaping time and then let them come together without restraint. They are a great while in copulation, and some have guessed by certain signs, whether the calf will prove male or female. If the bull leaps down on the right side of the cow, it will be a male, if on the left, a female. If a man then desires a male calf, let him tie up the right stone of the bull at the time of copulation, and for a female, bind up the left.