A blessing and a burden

10/08/2018 Posted by admin

by Dawna Friesen

It’s hard to comprehend what life married to a royal will be like for Kate Middleton. Unlike her husband’s mother, she not 20 years old, naïve, and marrying a man who it turns out loved someone else.

Kate and William seem genuinely in love and she has had eight years as his girlfriend to acquaint herself with life as part of ‘The Firm.’

By now, she has surely realized it is no fairy tale. Yes, there are all the lavish trappings of life as a royal. But they come at a price – an almost total loss of freedom.

Prince Charles reportedly paid tribute to his new daughter-in-law at the champagne reception after the wedding, calling her the daughter he never had, saying his family is very lucky to have her. They are.

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Kate is stunning and regal, and has been unfailingly loyal and discreet (as has her family) throughout their courtship, and that alone must be of huge value to a young prince who must never quite know who he can trust. William has seen how a lifetime of being king-in-waiting has constrained his father, and how it frustrated his mother. Those who know William say he doesn’t care much for titles or pomp and circumstance. Though they also say it is clear he understands the importance of duty and wants to make a good king. Having a wife who understands that and doesn’t undermine him and crave the limelight is critical to that. We know very little about this young woman, since she’s only done one interview after the engagement was announced.

But she has certainly passed the first hurdle. It was with grace and poise that she stepped out of the car outside Westminster Abbey, knowing millions of eyes would be watching. Then up the steps for the 318-foot walk down the aisle to the altar. If she was nervous or apprehensive, it didn’t show.

Her sister Pippa was no slouch either. Within minutes of her arrival at the Abbey in a sleek ivory satin crepe gown, so many thousands of wedding watchers Tweeted enthusiastically about her Royal Hotness that Twitter nearly crashed.

Their wedding day didn’t turn out to be the small village church affair that it’s said both of them would have preferred. They must have known that was never going to happen.

Instead, it was a grand spectacle in a massive abbey. It was, though more relaxed and fun than any royal wedding in history, a blend of tradition and modernity. And there were some lovely touches of simplicity. Kate’s dress was elegant and demure, with lots of exquisite handmade British lace incorporating the four floral emblems of the UK – the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock. She’d wanted it to combine tradition and modernity, almost as if her dress symbolizes how she and William will approach their roles as royals.

The elegant floral display in the abbey was organized by Kate. She requested all British plants and flowers, including eight living trees – six field maples and two hornbeams – that flanked the aisle. And in her bouquet she carried a touching tribute to her new husband – wisps of sweet William were mixed with lily of the valley, representing sweetness and humility.

Prince William and Kate Middleton, who have been given the titles The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on April 29. Photo by John Stillwell, PA Wire.

The music, too, was the couple’s choice. The soaring hymn Jerusalem is a favorite of the pair and so beloved by the nation, it’s almost a national anthem. When it played in the abbey, the crowds outside – who listened on loudspeakers – joined in, proving again that music can move nations.

But perhaps most moving was a prayer composed by Kate and William themselves, thanking their families for their support and asking God’s help to remain focused on “what is real and important in life.”

That will be their challenge. To live within the confines of royal protocol that go with the territory and that the public expect to see from the new Duke and Duchess, but not be suffocated by it. They must also find a way to revive the monarchy. Their wedding certainly helped. From our broadcast position in front of Buckingham Palace it was astonishing to see about a million people flood down the Mall and from the parks to the front of Buckingham Palace, anxious to see the couple appear. “Kiss her again!” they roared, deeming the first kiss insufficient. Kate and William happily obliged.

When they drove out of Buckingham Palace in his dad’s old Aston Martin convertible festooned with ribbons and balloons after the reception, Kate looked so young and free and in love.

But the drive was a short one. Now that the wedding is over, life ahead for them is a combination of intense scrutiny and limited personal choice. The fact is, being a prince can be both a blessing and a burden. And so can marrying one.

Dawna is Global National’s anchor and executive editor, based in Vancouver. Follow her on Twitter: @DFriesenGlobal.

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