The royal wedding: Not just schlock

The Takeaway

This story was originally covered by PRI’s The Takeaway. For more, listen to the audio above.

Millions of people will tune in tomorrow to see Prince William marry Kate Middleton. “Is this wedding all about the schlock?” Paddy O’Connell, a reporter for the BBC asks. ” No, this is about the constitution of this country.”

There are wars going on throughout many parts of the world. People are dying in protests. A nuclear catastrophe just rocked Japan, and much of the world is still wracked by economic strife. “And along comes a basic wedding,” says O’Connell, “and some people think ‘thank goodness for that.'”

Recent history of Royal Weddings is intertwined with tough times. O’Connell relates:

When the Queen got married in 1947, to Philip, British people were on ration coupons. They could not buy food without a ticket allowing them to. It was a bleak, bleak time. It was a horribly cold winter, we’d just emerged from war, which ravaged the country and ravaged the continent.

Charles and Diana announced their wedding “just as unemployment hit a record 3 million,” according to O’Connell. “There’s often been times in history when these weddings come along and they sort of provide a bit of variation and distraction.”

There are many people who attack the royal wedding because of the enormous costs. “In this month alone, because of Easter and the days off for the wedding,” O’Connell says, “Britain will be open for business really for only three days between April 22 and May 2.”

And in general, O’Connell says, “Celebrity weddings make most of us sick. That’s partly because it’s all up for sale.” This wedding, however, is different, according to O’Connell. He says that Prince William “is not looking to hang around in front of the TV cameras and the photographers. He’s doing this because it’s his job.”

“Some people say billions of dollars will be lost in business days taken off,” according to O’Connell, “and other people say, ‘get over yourself. What a relief.'”


The Takeaway” is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.