Lord of the Ring22 November 2009 Zie Nederlandse versie
by Arnold Jansen op de Haar
Prince Harry announced that he had gained a sister, something he had always wanted. This was the best quote of the day. On top of this he had made his mother’s engagement ring available to the happy couple. Prince Charles quipped that they had been practising long enough. His remark was just a bit vulgar and reminded me of his engagement to Diana.
‘Are you in love?’ Charles was asked at the time. The prince replied: ‘Whatever love means.’ It was not until much later that Camilla’s role became known. (The cufflinks with the intertwined ‘C’s!) The engagement ring became the Ring of Betrayal.
While on holiday in Kenya, Prince William carried the ring around in his rucksack for about three weeks. He was afraid to lose it because this would mean trouble, as if the ring was welded by Lord Sauron (The Lord of Evil) and the script personally penned by Tolkien. ‘Wicked!’ would be the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla's verdict using street lingo.
I opened Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings at a random page:
For hours I watched BBC reports on the internet. William and Kate’s forthcoming marriage appeared to be viewed from every possible angle: from commemorative plates to wedding dresses. Even an unsuspecting Australian tourist was asked for his opinion: ‘Do you think this will affect the popularity of the monarchy in Australia?’
I am of Diana’s generation. I did my A Levels in the year of Charles and Diana’s marriage. Their marriage stood for a generation: the rise of the Sloane Ranger, young upper (middle) class men and women who shared a way of living. Out of the blue, old traditions were hip again. It was hard to avoid a white tie event.
I attended my graduation ceremony in a grey woollen three piece suit. It was an extremely hot, close day. My sweat poured all the way down my bottom. Apparently I asked my family the unforgettable question: ‘Does it show?’
I also owned a copy of the The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, which reflected the way I had grown up. Plus I went to the Royal Military Academy in Breda. A typical move for a Sloane Ranger: while other youngsters put up last ditch fights for squatting and demonstrating, I turned towards the army, galas and country sports. Moreover, all of a sudden there were a royal bride and groom who represented everything that occupied me.
Over the years I changed and took my leave of my oppressive environment. I would never play a role again. I became a writer. Diana changed as well. She too said farewell to stifling surroundings. From a shy young girl she was transformed into an icon, someone acutely in touch with society’s current mood.
Yet now a new royal couple faced the cameras. Kate, like Diana, was dressed in blue (the dress is sold out at Harvey Nichols) and wearing the same ring. At that moment the penny dropped. William and Kate represented a prematurely middle aged couple. The rest of their life is already planned out in detail.
Their engagement and church wedding smacks a little of a window display. They have been living together for years. They would have acted more in the spirit of our time if they had quietly married in Kenya. Then after their return they could have announced that Kate was already pregnant but that they would organise a big party.
However, they seem well suited to each other. Maybe one time they will be able to break with protocol and together shake off the curse of the ring. In the end, even Frodo in Tolkien’s trilogy beats evil.
© Arnold Jansen op de Haar
© Translation Holland Park Press
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