Why Canadians should boycott the royal wedding
Let me state right at the top that I think Prince Harry is a fine chap, that Meghan Markle seems like a lovely woman, that I wish the royal couple all the best on their wedding day, and that I believe Queen Elizabeth has reigned with grace.
Prince Harry greatly impressed me as I watched him close-up several times last September in Toronto during the Invictus Games, the truly fabulous annual event he founded in 2014 for wounded, injured and sick armed forces personnel.
By most accounts, Meghan will be a great member of the British royal family.
And Elizabeth has served with honour during her 66 years on the throne.
Still, I won’t be getting up at 4 a.m. on Saturday to watch the royal wedding live from Windsor Castle in England.
Nor will I be celebrating Victoria Day this weekend here in Canada, a day where we are asked to honour a queen who ruled over the British Empire in the days when this country was widely viewed in London as just another colonial outpost.
Indeed, there are plenty of reasons for all Canadians to boycott the royal wedding and this weekend’s Victoria Day events.
While monarchists will likely be appalled by my suggestion, polls in Britain and Canada show I’m far from being alone in not caring a whit about the wedding.
In Britain, more than half of those surveyed say they are totally indifferent; in Canada, 66 per cent of us aren’t interested in the wedding at all, according to an Ipsos MORI poll of adults aged under 65 in 28 countries. Also, tens of thousands of Britons have signed petitions against taxpayers having to foot any wedding bills.
First among the reasons to boycott the wedding is its cost. It will be one of the world’s most expensive weddings ever at 32 million British pounds (more than $55 million), a self-indulgent bash with a wedding cake costing $87,000 and a wedding dress rumoured to be more than $170,000, according to the Daily Mail. What sort of message of greed and extravagance does that send, especially to people trying to make ends meet?
Second, such lavish weddings, as only the British can do with their over-the-top pageantry, promote an outdated “fairytale-princess” narrative in which the handsome prince sweeps a beautiful commoner off her feet and turns her into a royal lady. Is that an image today’s young women should aspire to?
Third, it celebrates an anachronistic monarchy that’s an affront to today’s Canada. While there is almost zero chance Prince Harry will ever become king — he’s already sixth in line to succeed his grandmother and falling back fast — he represents a British monarchy whose leader is, sadly, still Canada’s legal head of state. Even today, the Queen’s image is on our stamps and coins, people still sing “God Save the Queen” and new citizens must swear “true allegiance” to the Queen.
For the same reason, we should boycott Victoria Day, a national holiday on which we are supposed to show our devotion and respect for a foreign monarch who ruled our country for decades yet never even bothered to visit. The British don’t honour any foreigner, let alone a Canadian, with a special day, so why should we?
Fourth, it perpetuates a clear sentiment among the royals that they can do whatever they wish without regard for any backlash, from lavish weddings to the recent rigging of a decision by Commonwealth leaders to pick Prince Charles — as opposed to any qualified person from the entire Commonwealth — to succeed the Queen as their new head.
Fifth, it’s a bore, filled with tiny tidbits of gossip dredged up by besotted television hosts about who’s wearing what and who’s sitting where.
I know I won’t be able to hide from the wedding. The media coverage will be massive, theatres are showing it on big screens and neighbourhoods are having breakfast parties.
I hope they have fun, but I’ll be sleeping in on Saturday