April 29th 2011, and it’s estimated that 2 billion people around the world tuned in to the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Something said by someone on TV had me asking myself if we should apologise for being British, and this article gives my answer…
The future King of England married his future Queen, and I did briefly consider going into London to watch. I say ‘briefly’, because although I knew the atmosphere would be good there, I actually wanted to watch, and the best place for that was in front of the TV with a nice cup of tea.
I enjoyed it. The bride looked great, the couple seemed to show genuine affection throughout, and the pomp and circumstance was done in the way that “only the British can do.”
I put that bit in speech marks, because it’s not me saying that, it’s said by overseas commentators, and it’s a key point in this article.
The TV coverage had lots of sound bites from people in the crowds, and after the balcony kiss, one woman said it was a good day to just enjoy being British.
So, should I apologise for being British, or am I allowed to enjoy it..?
Well, one of the reasons that people from other countries buy in to the Royal pomp, is the simple fact that not many countries have the kind of history that we do. It gives a stability and solidity that other countries envy.
The US for example has movie stars that come and go, Presidents that come and go, but Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne for nearly *sixty* years!
Britain has a bad rap a lot of the time. We are considered to be a military lapdog to the whims of the US, and that long history I wrote of, is perceived as being built on violence, drugs and slavery.
It’s the kind of thing which lends itself to Britain being apologetic, a country which overplays its’ importance in today’s world.
That can countered though, by the engineering and scientific developments, from the driving force of the industrial revolution, up the jet engine, the world wide web, DNA, etc.
A British characteristic is one of understatement, which could still be seen at the Royal Wedding in amongst all the pageantry. There are other countries around the world who do not hold back when shouting their own praises, and can come across as brash and bawdy.
Not everything that Britain does, now or in the past, is great and wonderful, nor is it all bad and terrible. In my own school education I was not taught very well about the slave trade, the violence of creating and maintaining the British Empire, and that education is something Britain probably does need to do better at.
Britain has does some wonderful things though, so I don’t think I need to apologise for being British. After all, people can’t choose where they come from, can they.
There is nothing wrong with seeking out the positives while acknowledging the negatives. It’s a key element of personal development and self improvement.
So, as I enjoyed watching 2 young people get married, I think the woman in the crowd had it about right – the Royal Wedding was indeed a good day to ‘just enjoy being British’.
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