Friday

December 14th, 2018

Insight

My wife loves the royal wedding, and there's nothing I can do

John Kass

By John Kass

Published May 18,2018

My wife loves the royal wedding, and there's nothing I can do

About Saturday's huge royal wedding of the lovely American actress Meghan Markle and the dashingly handsome Prince Harry of England:

I won't be watching. But my wife will.

And there is nothing that I can do about it. Absolutely nothing.

No matter what I might want to do on Saturday — even if I try to curry favor by saying things like, "Let's take a walk" or "Let's talk" or "Let's read the early editions of the Sunday papers at that new brunch place where you can't watch sports," I know what she'll say.

Not now.

"Leave me alone, all right? It's a big, over-the-top royal wedding, and I'm going to watch," Betty told me as I was lamenting a fun-free Saturday morning.

I won't try to stop you. But one question: Why?

"No further comment," she said. "I do not allow my comments to be used in your column."

I'm not into it, but for millions of Americans, women and men, the royal wedding is a guilty pleasure, and just plain fun. The royal wedding hype has been relentless, and the House of Windsor lives in our heads rent-free.

This is a magical, fairy tale wedding, worth billions of dollars to English tourism. My wife wants to watch, and my Canadian-born mother, who taught us to sing "God Save the Queen" before "The Star-Spangled Banner," will also watch.

Actually, it's more than some fairy tale. A biracial woman is marrying into the United Kingdom's royal family. Just think of it and how that expresses change in a culture that celebrates its past. It's all heavy on symbolism, but symbolism is what royal weddings are all about.

And it just could be that Harry took that first look at his future bride and was hit by the thunderbolt. Who says princes can't find true love?

And all that pomp and splendor: The Coldstream Guards in their beautiful black bear hats that PETA hates so much; the horses perfectly brushed, their manes dressed; the gowns; and the cavalry; and those gleaming brass buttons on the military dress uniforms.

And so many people walking about with perfect posture and shined shoes, properly dressed and speaking in complete sentences. It may serve as an inspiration to the American people, some of whom might want to consider a longer T-shirt to cover that tramp stamp.

Royal wedding fans might also get the same emotional bump for all things England that they get after binge-watching "Victoria" and "Downton Abbey." And really, is that such a bad thing?

I'm just hoping that American network news anchors don't ruin it all by wearing ridiculous costumes.

Perhaps it was at the Princess Diana royal wedding — or maybe some other — where American TV journalists embarrassed their nation by wearing costumes. The American TV men wore morning coats. The American TV women wore those big hats.

They looked like extras in "My Fair Lady." No one wants to see Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric singing "The Rain in Spain." Then or now.

TV journalists aren't the only ones who wear costumes in foreign lands. Justin Trudeau, the liberal darling and prime minister of Canada, kicked off an embarrassing cultural appropriation scandal by wearing a series of traditional costumes on a recent trip to India.

The Indian officials wore suits and ties and dresses. Trudeau went full Bollywood and was mocked for it.

Years ago, a well-known Chicago TV news personality covering a political meeting in South Africa wore a khaki safari get-up — as if he were some white hunter of old waiting for a rhino attack on the streets of modern Cape Town.

Still, I'm worried. Windsor Castle was built after the Norman Conquest, and with executive producers fighting for ratings, just about any stupid stunt is possible.

But it wouldn't be right for an American TV anchor to go to the wedding dressed like Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe.

"When the wedding's on, could you just do me a favor and go sit in your garden?" my wife asked. "Just go stare at the dirt or something."

Sure, Honey.

The only thing that might distract her is if I came down with another attack of gout and screamed my bloody head off.

But gout, the English disease, is nothing to joke about. I know the pain.

Gout is like giving birth to a baby the size of Shaquille O'Neal through your big toe.

I share this excruciatingly painful condition with rough and wanton fictional English squires from Henry Fielding novels who ride to hounds, eat and drink to excess, and finally collapse in chairs, snoring, loyal dogs at their feet.

But I'll bet you a Pavarotti (a 10-pound sterling note) that at least one royal wedding fan would be watching it on the emergency room television, even if her own Prince Charming was shrieking in pain.

"Who's screaming?" some royal wedding fan in the hospital waiting room might say. "We can hear it all the way out here. That poor man is in agony."

"Oh, that's just my husband with the gout. He says it's like giving birth to the Big Shaqtus through his toe. But don't worry about it. Just look at that dress!"

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John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune who also hosts a radio show on WLS-AM.

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