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Friday, April 29, 2011

We are not amused! German magazine condemns 'overhyped' Royal Wedding

By Allan Hall

Article says marriage like 'death of daughter' for Kate's parents

A royal carriage leaves Westminster Abbey during a rehearsal for the Royal Wedding yesterday. German magazine Der Spiegel has called the impending nuptials 'a joke'

Germany's top news magazine has published a withering condemnation of the marriage tomorrow of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Der Spiegel posted the piece on its website calling the impending nuptials 'a joke, a hopelessly overhyped celebration of an absurdly undemocratic system'.

The magazine's London correspondent, Marco Evers, said he pities the bride for her imminent loss of freedom, and 'wonders why this eccentric nation continues to worship the Windsors'.

He condemns it as a 'sad spectacle' and one that the country, mired in economic hard times, can ill afford.

Germany, which lost its own royal family when Kaiser Wilhelm II went into exile after starting and losing the First World War, is as excited as other nations around the world about the forthcoming extravaganza.

Sixteen multiplex cinemas in Germany are staging live screenings of the ceremony, top hotels are organising 'William and Kate' afternoon teas and there is even a royal honeymoon travel package on offer on a German North Sea island.

But Herr Evers doesn't see it that way. His is a rant against all things royal.

'It's wrong if the head of state of a country can only come from one family. It's wrong to furnish this clan with palaces, land and all manner of grants to spare its members the indignity of having to earn their keep and enable them to live in luxury.

'It is wrong to address the Windsors and, from next Friday the delightful Kate Middleton as well, as Your Royal Highness or even Your Majesty. It is wrong to see them as anything other than people made of flesh and blood, like you and I.

'Cherie Blair, the difficult wife of the former Prime Minister Tony, once refused to curtsey in front of the old Mrs Elizabeth Windsor, but the majority of Britons enjoy doing that, and much more, for Queen and country. The Windsors are Europe's most expensive royal family, but the people go on paying, without grumbling, at least as long as Queen Elizabeth remains alive.

'British soldiers are fighting for democracy in Afghanistan and Libya, and they fought for it in Iraq. But at home, they defend the absurdly undemocratic idea that nobody but a Windsor can be head of state. As soon as Elizabeth, 85, shuffles off her mortal coil, her son Charles, 62, already worn down by his long wait for the accession, will take the throne, even though opinion polls show the majority of Britons don't want the brooding, esoteric prince to become king.

'The pomp and ceremony surrounding the marriage of William and Kate is the latest expression of British eccentricity - but a large part of the world appears to be succumbing to it as well.

'Yes, the carriages of gold and velvet look pretty, the bride's train will be a sight to behold and Westminster Abbey is quite a spectacular backdrop for the ceremony. But is it really worth all the fuss?'

Royal fans camped outside the Abbey this morning. The magazine articles questions 'why this eccentric nation continues to worship the Windsors'

This group of royal enthusiasts have been camping across the road from Westminster Abbey since late on Wednesday to get the best view of the couple on Friday. The impending wedding has been labelled a 'sad spectacle' in Der Spiegel

He admits that Germany's TV networks - ARD, ZDF, Sat.1, RTL, n-tv and N24 - 'will hardly be broadcasting anything else on Friday'.

But he added: 'Everyone is pretending that this spectacle is the most important and beautiful event on earth - but it is not.

'Britain is still mired in its worst economic crisis since World War II. Everyone should be rolling up their sleeves to haul the nation out of the doldrums. But the government declared the wedding day a public holiday, and schools, banks, offices and factories will be closed - just because the heir to the heir to the throne is getting married.

'The extra holiday may lead to increased turnover in the nation's pubs, but it will end up costing the economy billions.

Workers put up one of six English Field maples in the church for the big day. 'Westminster Abbey is quite a spectacular backdrop for the ceremony. But is it really worth all the fuss?' asks Der Spiegel

'In truth, the marriage of William and Kate is a sad spectacle. Two young people aren't getting wed in the way they would like but how the palace, protocol and granny demand it.

'William, 28, is accustomed to that because he was born into it. But for Kate, 29, Friday will mark the end of her freedom. For her parents, it will be a bit like the death of their daughter.

'She won't belong to them anymore - she will be elevated to some form of distant, aristocratic human being, forever unavailable for that impromptu dinner with Mum and Dad.

'Some friends and relatives will be present in Westminster Abbey, but most of the guests will be strangers, and some of them will be repulsive ones at that. King Mswati, the despot of the impoverished African nation of Swaziland who has 13 wives, will be flying in with his entourage of 50 people. Arab potentates have also been invited, some of whom are currently having pro-democracy demonstrators shot at in their streets. Who would want to get married in such company?

'Half the British cabinet is coming, along with opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband, who bears the grand official title "Leader of her Majesty's Loyal Opposition". Former conservative Prime Minister John Major will be present. But the last two Labour prime ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, have not been invited.

'Is that their punishment for having supported the ban on fox hunting? Why should the autocratic Sultan of Brunei get invited and not the two previous leaders of a democratically elected British government?

Withering: The article on Der Spiegel's website

'The whole world is waiting to admire Kate's wedding dress. The designer will be inundated with work after this. But the wearer of the dress faces a future that shouldn't really be desirable for an intelligent woman in the 21st century.

'Kate will have only three tasks from now on: serving her husband, looking good and bearing children, preferably boys. Apart from that, all she has to do is shut up.

'It's like in the 1950s - only much worse because she will have to continue curtseying to the Queen and other higher-ranking members of the family she has married in to.

'The whole thing feels even worse than just an aberration of history. It's a joke.'



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