The other day I read that the British betting firm William Hill is taking bets on whether Kate Middleton will get a kiss on the cheek or the lips when the couple appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony, whether her father will cry as he walks her down the aisle and whether Prince Harry will catch the bouquet.
I don't get the Prince Harry catching the bouquet thing. Perhaps it's well known that he plans to do it as a lark. He likes a lark, one gathers. But then I don't get much of the royal wedding thing. Not that interested. Besides, it's a bit unsettling to watch normally sensible reporters talking utter nonsense while moseying around England frantically looking for a new angle on the wedding. The event, as a news story, is essentially without relevance. Nobody is saying that, mind you.
It is also implausible that there are so many "royal experts" in existence. Con artists, half of them, one suspects. And yet almost every living anchor, host and reporter in the TV racket will interview an alleged "royal expert" in the next 24 hours. A cornucopia of chicanery is unfolding.
And I can't be the only person with a distinct lack of interest in events in England on Friday. In fact, I put it to you that there are viable reasons for ignoring the whole thing. Herewith, a list of reasons.
1. That country is run by a reckless coalition - the sort of thing should be discouraged, if not outright boycotted. That's why Hair in the Fridge Harper and his missus aren't attending, obviously.
2. Some of the richest people in the world are getting married. They will pay for the church service, the reception and such, but the taxpayers of Britain are on the hook for most of the cost for security - estimates range from $30-million to $50-million - and will pay for a reception for foreign-government guests who are not important enough to get into the Buckingham Palace celebrations. Honestly. The nerve. Kind of thing that happens when a reckless coalition is in charge.
3. If you are less than gripped, you are not alone. More than one-third - yes, 35 per cent - of British adults plan to ignore the festivities altogether, according to a survey by YouGov, a market research firm in the U.K. A mere 2 per cent plan to visit central London to witness the procession.
4. The entire event is rooted in the culture of princess-fantasy. That is, women clinging to the fantasy that Prince Charming will arrive to whisk them away from a mundane life to exist in a palace with servants and an endless supply of fabulous frocks. Surely this sort of fantasy should be discouraged. It distracts persons of the female persuasion from aiming for an education, a career and a fulfilled life.
5. David Beckham and his missus Posh Spice are the true, authentic royalty of England today. These people getting hitched on Friday are mere wannabes.
6. The Borgias TV series offers better fashion tips for wedding wear, receptions and celebrations this year.
7. This marriage will probably end in tears. It usually does with these people.
8. There are other important events being televised at an unholy hour of the morning. Like, figure skating. At exactly the time that the wedding fandango unfolds in London, the 2011 World Championships ladies' short program will be airing live from Moscow (bold, 5:30 a.m.). Figure skating is way, way more Canadian. Stand up - or sit on the couch - for your own country, for heaven's sake. Do you really, really want to break the heart of Canadian skater Amélie Lacoste?
9. It is terribly, terribly lower-middle-class to get up at dawn and watch someone else's wedding on the TV. It just is. In all likelihood, the Windsors are laughing at the attention and saying, "What ho, peasants!"
10. The coverage is not on Canada's utterly unique news channel Sun News Network. As a protest against the coalition thing over there, presumably. Quite right too.
Now then, if you insist on watching the royal wedding on Friday morning, you have considerable choice. It's on almost every channel. However, there are some things to note. If you want the full British treatment, BBC World is airing the shindig live starting at 4:30 a.m. ET. And there's a pre-show special at 4 a.m. hosted by the great Mishal Husain. (I met her once, a very funny, smart woman.) Vision TV has The Royal Wedding Insider (Vision, 5 a.m.), which includes a debate between a monarchist, The Globe's Michael Valpy and anti-monarchist Grant Stoddard, before the live coverage starts.
CTV will begin coverage at 3 a.m., with Lloyd Robertson and Lisa LaFlamme doing the patter and talking to the ubiquitous "royal experts." Global's Will & Kate: The Royal Wedding coverage starts at 4 a.m. with Global National's Dawna Friesen and ET Canada's Cheryl Hickey. CBC and CBC NN start coverage at 2 a.m. with Heather Hiscox. Pastor Mansbridge comes on at 4 a.m. Possibly he'll be jetlagged and accidentally introduce an At Issue panel about the wedding gown.
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