It was a summer day in July 1981 when I was a 15-year old wide-eyed girl mesmorized by the young Diana Spencer and her wedding that day to the Prince of Wales. I awoke in the wee hours of the morning to watch every moment of that day. As a teenage girl, I dreamed of the fairytale, like many do, and marrying my "prince" one day. I had read every magazine article, my Mom had bought me books and I soaked in every step of their engagement to the altar..and thereafter. I remember when William was born and the hoop-la that followed his birth as an heir to the throne was born. Then when red-headed, Harry, was born and a "spare" came to be, I was still following Diana's footsteps.
Diana was a normal girl, living a normal life dreaming of what I dreamed of and had achieved it. She was the future Queen and even more important, loved being a Mommy to those two boys. It was soon after the second birth that the fairytale began to fade. And, I followed that road with her too. I hurt for her as her marriage crumbled and as she tried to be the best Mom ever and move on with her life after her dream prince had always loved another. A sad ending became sadder in 1997 when a fatal accident took Diana's life. I, again, followed every step of the mourning and funeral and couldn't believe that 16 years after that wedding day it was over. I remember watching William and Harry walking behind her casket as it rolled towards Westminster Abbey to her funeral and grieved more for the loss of a mother to those boys. Somehow I hoped that her influence in their lives would redeem what was lost. Yesterday, I believe it did.
Once again, I awoke in the wee hours of the morning to travel to a friend's house to watch the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. Although I hadn't soaked up every detail of Kate's life as I did Diana, the fairytale excitement was still there. I watched with anticipation of seeing her dress, seeing William look at her for the first time at the altar and that kiss on the balcony. Her dress was exquisite, William told her she was beautiful when he laid eyes on her and we got two kisses on the balcony, not just one. Kate handled the whole affair with grace and when you looked at these two young people who had been friends for years before dating, you could see those glances of inside jokes and understandings that come from two best friends getting married.
The ceremony and the whole wedding event was just as I'd hoped. The sermon by the Bishop of London was suprisingly refreshing. Those Anglicans got it going on. My favorite part was this...
"In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life could flow through them into the future. William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that He gave Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. And in the spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each other."
You can read the full sermon here, but it was articulately given and a reminder to the two billion people watching of the simple gospel - "a generous God who so loved the world that He gave Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ." Amen.
As I reflected on the day and watched Will and Kate wave to the crowds, leave the Palace, I had that reassurance that Diana's life wasn't for naught. For here is a man marrying the love of his life and looking ahead to a future monarchy being built. A young man whose life was formed and shaped by a Mother who told him "marry for true love" and taught him how to live as normal of a life living in the spotlight of the British media. May those offspring of Will and Kate truly reflect their influence as they "flow into the future."