I’m supposed to write about the wedding of prince Harry and Meghan Markle being a disgusting display of opulence by a bludging waste-of-space family whose titles are both affronting and anachronistic.
It was. They are. Yet I am caught up in it.
For a brief escape from the small agonies of existence we daily endure, there is nothing like it. Here is a world turned so thoroughly upside down that, for a fleeting moment, you can believe in magic and fairly tales.
The first signal that I could not resist the Windsor spectacular came in early May. Our princess-to-be, Miss Meghan, was revealed as having an estranged, and probably evil, half brother who exhorted Harry not to go through with the ceremony.
Meghan is “a jaded, shallow, conceited woman that will make a joke of you and the royal family heritage”, Thomas Markle Junior wrote in an open letter to the prince. “You and the royal family should put an end to this fake fairytale wedding before it’s too late.”
Shallowness and conceit as qualities antithetical to royalty? Oh, capital, Mr Markle. Such earnestness and naivety could only be prelude to much greater fantasies of establishment royal watchers come the main event.
I watch with my mum. She’s a republican, but wants to see Meghan’s dress. Neither of us knows why. But here we are, slobbing on the couch with a diminishing portion of Cadbury Snack chocolate on the coffee table in front of us.
Mum flicks through the channels searching for the best angle; we settle on the ABC with hosts Jeremy Fernandez, Annabel Crabb and “famed royal correspondent” Jennie Bond. The commentary does not disappoint.
Journalist Lisa Millar is inside the walls of Windsor with the select group of commoners granted access on the proviso they brought their own lunch. “These are the people who are charity workers, they’re volunteers, they’ve done something a bit special to give them an invitation”, Millar reports.
“I had to have a laugh to myself … because there’s a queue for the toilets here that must be about 50 people deep”, she confides. “So even here at Windsor Castle, these guests – the members of the public, the 1,200 who’ve been waiting here now for four hours – have been queuing for the toilets.”
Crabb asks if there have been murmurs among the throng about bringing their own lunch.
“They’ve all complied. Happily!” Millar seems eager to confirm that no-one has caused embarrassment during this hilarious lavatory shortage.
“They didn’t mind at all”, she continues, unprompted. “They are honestly so thrilled to be here! So they didn’t mind having to pack their own sangas and bottles of water.”
A fairy tale is unfolding before our very eyes: The commoners are thrilled. The commoners are happy. They’ve all complied. All bodies move to their rightful place, as predicted by Aristotle and held to be true in medieval times (where the royal family is from).
And, so far as we know, no-one shat their daks in an episode that, had it transpired across the way in St George’s Chapel, would have been etched into the marble of royal history as “Bog-gate”. An indelible stain, on the monarchy and on countless undergarments, has been avoided. I am transfixed.
There’s much talk about the “star quotient” being above average at this event. So we don’t dwell on the rabble.
Everyone with a proper invite is an inspiration and role model. It’s a small miracle they maintain multi-million dollar fortunes given their arduous and endless regiment of charity work. How on earth does George Clooney do it? Magic. And moisturiser.
Prince Harry’s troubled years – when he dressed up as a Nazi at parties, was admitted to rehab for having a spliff and a drink, and “became known to the world as the fun and charming prince” (according to associate editor of Fashion Magazine Meghan McKenna) – thankfully are behind him.
He has since done penance by dancing with Black commoners in Commonwealth countries and being a war hero in Afghanistan. There’s lots of footage of cheeky chops Harry running to his Apache helicopter. I anticipate a pre-record of Millar embedded in Uruzgan Province relating testaments of happiness from Pashtun farmers. “They are so thrilled! They all complied ...”. But there’s clearly no time.
Over on the BBC’s live stream, an announcer is speaking in hushed excitement like a tennis commentator at server’s end on set point. “I’ve just been told that the queen is wearing a coat and dress by Stewart Parvin. It’s a lime, lemon, purple and grey printed silk coat and dress. The hat is by Angela Kelly. But it will make quite a statement too …”
This is the magic I’ve been waiting for, the magic we all need: a talking hat. What will it say? Again we’re cut short. The bride is coming.
“It’s always a difficult moment, isn’t it? Getting out of the car”, Jennie Bond says as Miss Markle exits the Rolls Royce. This is a moment to which we all can relate.
But who would have guessed the French dressmaker? Not the bookies. “There are traditions being challenged all over the place here”, says Fernandez.
I can’t follow what they are, these challenged traditions. There’s an African American preacher delivering platitudes in the Quire. But this is a fool’s challenge. The standing of the monarchy will be strengthened inordinately by his presence. Behold! Multicultural feudalism. #It’sTime.
Soon the vows are exchanged and I’m exhausted. The message conveyed in this fairy tale – that these people are better than us, and more deserving – has overridden the moment of escapism.
After just an hour of the topsy-turvy world of make believe, the small agonies of existence are more appealing. At least they are real. I feel like I’ve had enough choreographed fakery to last a lifetime. Or until the Oscars.