Who’s the happy Royal couple today?
Ah yes. Kate Moss and Jamie Hince, in a three-day bling-fest entailing two top chefs, six marquees, and performances by Snoop Dogg and Kanye West. I bet the residents of Little Faringdon are loving that one. There probably haven’t been as many twitching net curtains since Kate entertained a pipedream of opening a London pub in the middle of the peaceful English Cotswolds.
But I’m joking, of course. While Kate Moss’s wedding is taking place today, the real Royal wedding is that of Prince Albert of Monaco and his 20-years-junior, South African fiancée Charlene Wittstock, in a two-day bling-fest entailing super-chef Alain Ducasse, a Royal courtyard, and performances by Jean-Michel Jarre and The Eagles.
Money no object – money the object
With an estimated price tag of $65 million, Prince Albert’s wedding makes William and Catherine’s April nuptials look like five minutes in a Las Vegas chapel. Sadly, this extravagance seems to be the main point of the exercise: an attempt to revive both Monaco’s struggling economy and its reputation of classy glamour, the latter which, to a large extent, died with Princess Grace in 1982.
With Monaco awash in heads of state, fashion designers, and A-list celebrities, who could fail to notice the wealth and pizzazz of this little principality?
Prince Albert himself said:
“Even if it’s not the main purpose [of the wedding], it will be a chance to shine a light on the principality and to contribute to ending stubborn clichés [about Monaco].”
A runaway bride?
Recent rumors, however, seem to be shining lights in other, unwanted directions.
Already the father of two illegitimate children, the Prince must have been perturbed when a new whisper surfaced that a third offspring was toddling out of the woodwork.
Further rumors that, in response to this revelation, Ms. Wittstock tried to back out of the wedding and fly back to South Africa, and claims by Monaco police that her passport was confiscated to stop her doing so, have surely cast a shadow on the proceedings.
Prince Albert (and his lawyers) have vigorously denied the claims – but then, as Mandy Rice-Davies once said, “Well, he would, wouldn’t he?”
You can’t have a Royal wedding where the bride is perceived as being frog-marched down the aisle.
Lambs to the altar
Actually, you can. It used to happen all the time, and not too long ago either, but we like to think we’ve moved on.
We haven’t. Not really. Royal dynasties need heirs. Prince Rainier needed heirs because if there were none, Monaco would revert to France under a 1918 treaty. Grace Kelly duly produced heirs.
Not surprisingly, parallels have been drawn between Grace Kelly and Charlene Wittstock: both tall and blonde, both ‘commoners’, one an American film star, the other a South African Olympic swimmer who bears more than a passing resemblance to Grace Kelly.
Thirty years ago, similar parallels were drawn between Princess Grace and Lady Diana Spencer, before she became Diana, Princess of Wales. Another tall blonde, capable of producing heirs for a royal family; another dazzling wedding to shine a light upon a country in recession.
One can only hope that, despite this week’s rumors, Her Serene Highness, Princess Charlene of Monaco will have a better fate than the other two. If the marriage is less than perfect, let’s hope it hasn’t all been in vain and that the flagging economy in Monaco recovers as a result.
If not, perhaps they could approach Kate Moss and offer her a venue in Monte Carlo to open the London pub she was thinking about. That would soon revive the economy.
Whether it would do the same for Monaco’s classy glamour, however, would remain to be seen.
Jerry Seinfeld – the Royal Wedding’s answer to Ricky Gervais
A displaced American writer, awash in a sea of Royal Wedding apathy
A toast to two displaced writers with passionate views of royal passion
Interesting timing, your post — bringing up the royals just as the U.S. is about to celebrate the moment when it said “Good-bye to all that”! Does it have anything to do with your being a Brit in the U.S.? Or perhaps you’re just feeling a bit cheeky?
I find it impressive that little Monaco figured out, long before Britain, that it helps to recruit some star power into the monarchy — good for tourism and all that. What’s more, in my not-so-humble opinion (I come from a place that’s very near Philadelphia), they hit the ball out of the park with Princess Grace. Yes, Princess Di came close, and perhaps Kate Middleton will also make her mark, but surely no commoner can hold a candle to a classic Hollywood beauty like Grace Kelly? Yes, her son’s new wife, the Olympic athlete Charlene Wittstock, might try, but does poor Charlene realize what she’s up against? (Oh, and by the way, Grace’s dad was a triple Olympic gold-medal-winning culler… Indeed, the Kellys of Philly will have you beat on almost any measure you can concoct!)
I’m also glad you brought up Kate Moss, whose wedding took place today. Does anyone know who Moss’s parents were? (For those who are interested, her mother was a barmaid, and her father, a travel agent. They divorced when she was 13.) Moss is probably about as far away from royalty as you can get, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming a celebrated beauty and style maven in her own right.
One final thought: Since TDN is so into comparing and contrasting weddings that have become global events, I wonder if we should take out bets on which wedding dress will be most copied: Kate Middleton’s, Kate Moss’s or Charlene Wittstock’s? (And should we also include Pippa’s maid-of-honor gown?!)
I’m not so sure Brits would appreciate Hollywood star power in their Royalty. All a bit too showy, my dear. Far better to adopt a pliable commoner like Catherine and teach her royal class. Don’t forget – nothing appeals to Brits more than cheering on the underdog.
The nearest thing to star power at the moment is Mike Tindall, captain of the England rugby team, who at the end of this month is quietly marrying Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne.
Divas aren’t welcome – they’ve already got Princess Michael of Kent, anyway.
I concede you have a point. As I recall, the British royals — and their subjects — weren’t best pleased at the incursion of Wallis Simpson, later the Duchess of Windsor, into their circles, who by all accounts was a piece of work.
Still, I note that quite a few British aristocrats felt differently — taking American socialites as their brides in hopes their fathers’ fortunes could help pay for their crumbling family seats.
All things considered, I still have to hand it to Prince Rainier, who apparently had what it takes to attract the attention of Oscar-winning American actress and celebrated beauty Grace Kelly. His marriage to Grace helped him to achieve the goal of recouping Monaco’s lustre, which
So well did he achieve his goals, in fact, that after Grace’s death, he was able to revert to type — becoming romantically involved with his second cousin, Princess Ira von Fürstenberg, a former movie actress turned jewellery designer who was also a Fiat heiress…
It wasn’t all bad. The mother of our most famous prime minister was one of those American socialites.