Today in royal wedding shenanigans:
Catherine and Wills are inviting their ("gorgeous") exes to the wedding. The Obamas are (still) not invited. People not involved with the wedding are exercised about both these things.
We'd sort of thought the Obamas not being invited to the royal wedding was old news — and that no one regarded it as this major snub that heralded the end of the "Special Relationship" — but as of today, there are reports that Michelle and Barack are apparently "furious" and "offended," as indeed we would be if people we didn't know, and whose own aunts weren't invited, snubbed us thusly. The thinking goes, I guess, that the Reagans were invited to Charles and Di's thing. But let's remember too — as long as we're overthinking issues of protocol we don't really understand — that the wedding pre-dated Reagan's assassination attempt, and the security — and hassle — of having a POTUS anywhere has been seriously amped up since. Besides, Carla and Sarko weren't invited either. As anyone who's planned a wedding knows, heads must roll. In sum: those slavering for some kind of cross-pond catfight may have to content themselves with debating the merits of the continents' respective versions of Skins.
The bigger issue, for some, is who will be there: to wit, exes of the royal couple. This is nothing new; says the New York Times,
In the British royal family, which follows rules of etiquette established hundreds of years ago, it's just fine to invite exes, people who broke your heart or, vice versa, friends with benefits, those you lived with for years - all the "almosts" from your single life. "Charles probably had a hundred ex-girlfriends at his first wedding," said Pamela Keogh, the author of "Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn?: Timeless Lessons on Love, Power, and Style." "He had a real back bench." Years later, when Camilla and Charles married, Andrew Parker Bowles, her ex-husband, was a guest.
Now, I'm of the school who considers unilateral blackballing of all exes rather arbitrary, and who expects to have at least 2 respective (awesome) exes at my own, significantly crummier wedding, but mandated attendance is, it's true, another matter. And we're not just talking one or two.
Ms. Middleton is inviting her first boyfriend at the University of St. Andrews, Rupert Finch, a dark-haired, olive-skinned polo player who looks like a Calvin Klein model. Prince William's guest list includes four serious ex-girlfriends: Rose Farquhar, Arabella Musgrave, Olivia Hunt and Jecca Craig.
The Times is quick to point out that they're all "gorgeous," too, since that apparently makes it worse.
But, as in all things Royal Wedding, it's ludicrous to apply our own standards to an event steeped in history and protocol. Otherwise, would the day be totally relaxing and blissful for her? I'm gonna go with, no. For Middleton, this is hardly about "her" day or any of the other bizarre Bridezilla mandates with which we've larded modern matrimony. It's the beginning of a life of public service, with all that implies. We may choose to hear only the word "princess," but when that's literal, surely it means, ironically, a lack of agency, no?
(That said, if we were the Obamas, we might be a little affronted if the Beckhams are going.)