Relay: What the World Needs Now

There was something about the sweet interplay between the two

My plan was to watch the royal wedding from an ironic distance. I got out of bed at 4 a.m., I left my cowlick-afflicted hair uncombed to create the illusion that I had donned a sort of cut-rate fascinator, I adjusted my Twitter feed to receive the snark aimed at the event, and then I turned on the television. 

Since I was looking to remain unengaged intellectually, I tuned in first to the coverage from the American networks. CBS had a countdown clock to the ceremony, a CNN camera zoomed in on a dog wearing a Union Jack bandanna, and NBC had an expert weigh in on whether Prince Harry would tie the knot bearded or clean-shaven. (Note: The expert was wrong, the prince kept the scruff.)

Having tired of sitting through commercial breaks, I flipped over to the BBC News channel, which, while dedicating most of its screen to the day’s pomp, stuck to its more serious journalistic mission via a news crawl that relayed information about the North Koreans who had defected, the school shooting in Texas, and the plane crash in Cuba.

The BBC high road did offer slightly more captivating views — particularly the chats with people who worked at charities supported by the prince and his bride-to-be, Meghan Markle — but I was still in no danger of being roused from my ennui. 

That is, until a black Mercedes van pulled up in front of St. George’s Chapel and out stepped William and Harry, the brothers I had watched publicly mourn the death of their mother almost 21 years ago. 

There was something about the sweet interplay between the two — the sly smiles, the whispered asides, the gleeful camaraderie — that seemed universal to all siblings who have ever attended a family event in fancy clothes they didn’t want to be wearing. I suddenly found myself projecting a gamut of feelings onto them: grief, triumph, brotherly love, a blistering desire to change into sweatpants.

Once the cameras ventured inside the chapel, I was soon flooded with a surprising sense of patriotism. It seemed as if Ms. Markle, an American actress with a mixed racial heritage, had tossed all staid royal wedding plans aside and let loose with Yankee abandon. A rollicking sermon from Bishop Michael Curry, the first African-American to head up the Episcopal Church in the U.S., likely left many Brits in attendance feeling as if their Sunday services were hopelessly ho-hum. A rousing rendition of “Stand by Me” by a British gospel choir proved that, Pachelbel be damned, American songwriters create the best wedding anthems. The medieval chapel, which was filled with a cross-section of humanity that ranged from a yoga teacher with a pierced nose (the bride’s mom, Doria Ragland) to the Queen of England, had been transformed into a new world melting pot. 

Yes, there was also an abundance of romance. The flowing gown, the carriage rides, and especially the sweet nothings the groom cooed to his bride at the altar: “You look amazing. I’m so lucky.” But the most memorable and touching thing about the ceremony was its aura of inclusiveness, its sense of bridging the divide.

Ultimately, I found myself agreeing with the Twitter scribe who wrote, “it seems that after shootings, plane crashes, natural disasters and threats between nations, the world needed a royal wedding more than it realized.”

Jamie Bufalino is a reporter for The Star.