TY­ING THE WIND­SOR KNOT

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wed­ding will be a fight, not to the death, but to a taste­ful choral ver­sion of the Benny Hill theme

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS -

Next month Prince Harry is mar­ry­ing Meghan Markle and The Ir­ish Times doesn’t even have a royal cor­re­spon­dent. This is a rum state of af­fairs for a so-called union­ist news­pa­per. So I’m putting my hat in the ring for the po­si­tion, and just to stress how keen I am, let me add that it’s a large vel­vet hat with a Union Jack printed on it and “Give us a jel­lied eel, gu­vnor!” on the back.

On May 19th, Prince Harry, who is, sin­is­terly, “a bit of a laugh”, is mar­ry­ing the Amer­i­can tele­vi­sion star and Ger­man chan­cel­lor Meghan Markle. Harry is “fifth in line for the throne”, which is not only a good de­scrip­tion of you wait­ing on the up­stairs land­ing at Kev’s party last Sat­ur­day, but also a de­cent de­scrip­tion of where he comes in the royal line of suc­ces­sion.

Harry comes fifth af­ter his fa­ther, Prince Charles, Prince William, that eerie Ed­war­dian tod­dler who dresses like a man (Prince Ge­orge) and his brother, El­ton John.

The Royal Fam­ily are, ba­si­cally, the best fam­ily in Bri­tain. It’s long and com­pli­cated but the gist of it is that they won Bri­tain in a fight. Prince Harry’s grand­mother is the Queen, who is the boss of Bri­tain, and, like the rest of the Bri­tish peo­ple, Harry had to get her con­sent to marry. There’s loads of peo­ple he can’t marry. Un­til very re­cently, Bri­tish roy­als couldn’t marry Catholics be­cause tran­sub­stan­ti­a­tion re­ally both­ered them (“How can peo­ple be bread?” yelled the Queen) and be­cause they have their own re­li­gion, which is called Angli­can­ism and was set up by Henry VIII be­cause he loved God so much. They can now marry divorced peo­ple, de­spite how much Henry VIII hated di­vorce.

Prince Harry’s brother is Prince William. He is mar­ried to Kate “Kate Mid­dle­ton” Mid­dle­ton, whom pro­to­col in­sists we al­ways call by both her names, as though she were a new best friend we just met in creche.

Prince William is bald, un­like Prince Harry, whose hair is lus­cious and red like a burn­ing sun. “Tell me your hair se­crets!” begs William. “No,” says Harry. “Stop your tears and get off your knees. Each man’s hair is his own busi­ness.” This is the cen­tral credo of the Angli­can faith. Like Madonna and Bosco and Lassie, and un­like Kate Mid­dle­ton, the roy­als don’t have a sec­ond name. In­stead they get to be called His/Her Royal High­ness, which was, co­in­ci­den­tally, your nick­name in col­lege (you were go­ing through a “reg­gae” phase). They are part of the House of Wind­sor, which means they get a dis­count when they shop there and are well sorted for crock­ery. (Ed­i­tor’s note: are you get­ting the House of Wind­sor mixed up with House of Fraser?)

William and Kate Mid­dle­ton have two chil­dren. Prince Ge­orge of Cam­bridge is a tod­dling Lawrence of Ara­bia looka­like with a V-neck sleeve­less jumper, shorts, a pipe and a se­nior rank in Her Majesty’s armed forces. De­spite be­ing four years old, Prince Ge­orge is just one Game of Thrones-style wed­ding mas­sacre away from as­cend­ing the throne and he knows it. As we speak he’s star­ing out of a win­dow in Wind­sor, brood­ing and quot­ing omi­nous texts in Latin while swirling a glass of brandy in his de­light­fully chubby hand.

Then there’s the other one, who doesn’t say much and is thus pre­sum­ably good at karate.

And there’s a third child, “Royal Baby”, who is, ac­cord­ing to sources, en route via royal stork. We know lit­tle about “Royal Baby” as yet, though based on pre­vi­ous mid-sea­son cast­ing changes he/she is likely to be sassy and wear­ing sun­glasses. He/she will prob­a­bly do a rap.

Cos­play and Com­mu­nion

But what will the ac­tual wed­ding be like? Now, I’m bas­ing this on my ex­pe­ri­ence with pre­vi­ous high-pro­file wed­dings – that of William and Kate Mid­dle­ton, or Kylie and Ja­son on Neigh­bours or the mar­riage at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope be­tween Princess Leia and her hus­bands Han, Luke, Chew­bacca and C3PO.

Dur­ing the wed­ding of William and Kate Mid­dle­ton, William cos­played as a 19th-cen­tury red­coat and Kate Mid­dle­ton dressed like she was get­ting her First Com­mu­nion and ev­ery­one was fine with that. But Meghan might need to shake things up a lit­tle bit be­cause she’s from the telly. She could try wear­ing some­thing iconic like the dress Ginger Spice wore in Spice World or by dress­ing as one of the Doc­tor Whos. And in­stead of us­ing Ge­orge V’s bor­ing old glass car­riage, she could drive up in Del Boy’s van from Only Fools and Horses. Harry will be, as is tra­di­tion, prob­lem­at­i­cally dress­ing as Cap­tain Jack Spar­row.

They will marry in St Ge­orge’s Chapel in Wind­sor Cas­tle. St Ge­orge was a hobo who was fa­mous for beat­ing a rare lizard to death at the be­hest of a voice in his head, which just goes to show that you can spin any sit­u­a­tion to your ben­e­fit with a lit­tle imag­i­na­tion and some pos­i­tive think­ing (#in­spir­ing). Meghan and Harry will marry be­neath the crest of the Bri­tish monarch. This rep­re­sents the in­domitable spirit of a na­tion and fea­tures a lion and a uni­corn – that is to say, an en­dan­gered an­i­mal and a fic­tional one – fight­ing over pos­ses­sion of some tat­tered flags (Who said the Bri­tish estab­lish­ment has no sense of hu­mour?)

The wed­ding will be of­fi­ci­ated by the Dean of Wind­sor and the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, which are other names for Ant and Dec. And Alan Titch­marsh will nar­rate every­thing in breath­lessly re­spect­ful tones whether we want him to or not. He’s do­ing it now. Can you not hear him? Stop it, Titch­marsh.

There will be many dig­ni­taries present, in­clud­ing Prince An­drew, his ex-wife Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, An­drew Lloyd Web­ber, Hugh Grant, Big Ted from Play School, Stephen Fry, Mr T, Dame Judi Dench and The Clangers. Bono will be there, prob­a­bly, mak­ing a show of us.

The royal fam­ily have many en­e­mies. They in­clude: the pa­parazzi, Pippa Mid­dle­ton, Jeremy “Red Me­nace” Cor­byn, straight ba­nanas, The Kaiser, sea ero­sion and bur­gundy pass­ports. The beefeaters are on high alert and will be try­ing to keep any of these mis­cre­ants from steal­ing the show. This is dif­fi­cult for them be­cause their ar­ter­ies are clogged with beef. Still, there will be mem­o­rable high jinks as the wad­dling meat-en­thu­si­asts keep the paps, the Kaiser and Pippa Mid­dle­ton at bay, all to sounds of the Benny Hill theme, taste­fully per­formed by the cho­ris­ters of St Ge­orge’s.

Ad­di­tional mu­sic will be per­formed by Ed Sheeran, who is, un­be­known to Harry, deeply in love with Meghan Markle, and in an af­front to ginger sol­i­dar­ity, will at­tempt to whisk the al­lit­er­a­tive ac­tress from Harry’s re­gal grasp be­fore fly­ing through a stained-glass win­dow on a sort of steam-pow­ered hang-glider. And who can be­grudge the flappy-headed song-mon­key his one chance of hap­pi­ness? Not I. But per­haps I’m get­ting off the point. For­give me. I’m just over­come by the ro­mance of what will cer­tainly be a wonderful day.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA

Prince “Bit of a Laugh” Harry and Ger­man chan­cel­lor Meghan Markle.

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