It’s not everyday that we get the chance to view a royal wedding from across the pond so this has already been a very special year. Soon after William and Kate’s recent nuptials Queen Elizabeth II went on a trip to Ireland for a four-day visit. According to reports it had been nearly a hundred years since the last royal visit which was, in fact, a visit by her grandfather.
Firstly, the wedding is said to have been executed to the letter of the plans and events which is a rarity with most weddings. Besides being anticipated for more than eight years, since William met Catherine Middleton, this has been a true blessing to the survival of the monarchy in Britain. Because the two love birds have a mutual love of their country, they purposely chose a theme decidedly British and Kate (as they like to call her) requested seasonal and organic British flowers and most were sourced from Windsor Great Park championing the Victorian practice of using flowers to depict their specific sentiments.
They continued the tradition, started by the Queen Mother in 1923, of having the Archbishop bless a specially crafted ring of Welsh gold from the Clogau St. David’s mine at Bontddu in North Wales by a Royal warrant holder, Wartski. The band is first presented by the Queen to the prince (William, of course) and during the wedding ceremony this special engagement ring is placed on the bride’s finger with the Archbishop’s words, “Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.”
This ring is very different than Diana’s wedding ring of which, you may have noticed, there is a plethora of copies out there for sale. I believe these are the same rings they offered at the time of Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles. In fact, the merchandising of this royal wedding really got out of hand, in my view. There are any matter of items from dinnerware, paper dolls of the couple and much more. If someone has the money you could sink a lot of cash into the myriad offerings of commemorative merchandise. It detracts from the genuineness of the affair I believe, because most of it doesn’t add anything to the actual experience of seeing a royal wedding. I realize that many people consider these items treasures, however. I just don’t think it is wise to go into debt in order to buy what you only believe you need. A little bit of that goes a long way.
The recent visit on May 17th to Ireland by Queen Elizabeth has been viewed mostly by the world as a step toward peace reigning in Ireland but was a bit marred by the presence of a bomb placed on a bus in Dublin which coincided with her arrival. Apparently there was more than a little problem and if one only looks at the photos it might appear that the Irish are crazed lunatics. I would remind everyone that the Queen laid flowers on the monument set up in honor of all those Irishmen who died fighting for independence from English repression. It’s not surprising that they would respond in the form of physical violence. She made it quite clear that she was there to signal peace. I was surprised at the violence displayed by very young Irish people. I would expect it more of the middle-aged to aged.
Perhaps they too are enraged by a history thwarted by the presence of English rule. The primary language of Ireland, throughout the tiny continent is English but Irish Gaelic is mostly sidelined. There are many secrets to the language that very few people know. Irish Gaelic was originally written in a code that looks halfway Chinese and somewhat like runes, certainly not in Latin letters. The Welsh were more fierce about protecting the daily use of their native language, however. Then, of course, there was the decades of almost daily violence in North Ireland, which is still officially occupied and ruled by England. There is a signed and dated truce from a few years ago but obviously there is still vehement resentment of the current situation. No one really seems to know if religious hostilities are the reason or not. I have a strong feeling and opinion that is no longer the case.
(Reaction to news of bomb found on bus, no doubt !)
At any rate, the Queen met shortly with Mary McAleese who is the Irish President and also the Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenney. The Queen gave a speech at Dublin Castle during a State Dinner on the second day after her arrival. One sentence struck me as particularly profound.
“With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all.”
These are wise words but I remind myself that many things are still on the table which have never been resolved. If one tours Dublin Castle they will be shown, among many other rooms and sights, the Heraldic Museum which is on the ground floor. The visitors are shown the spot where a safe once stood that contained the Irish Crown Jewels. They were stolen at the time of King Edward VII’s visit in 1907 and have never been traced. For many Irishmen Dublin Castle only represents 700 years of English authority in Ireland so if they break out in violence, the reasons are well understood by myself and that they are justified for their strong feelings if not for the violence demonstrated. For the Irish, peace will be obtained when the English flag is no longer waving anywhere in their country. I’m not sure it will ever be but we can all pray for peace. I have never seen violence beget anything but violence.
With peaceful and loving kisses,
The Castle Lady