Nuptials Review

Well, they are wed. What to say?

Congratulations to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, to start with. These big occasions in the Abbey are being done extremely well these days. The visit of the Pope last year and then this Royal Wedding are enormous set piece liturgies and they do come off very well. They even made Damian Thompson wish he was an Anglican, but only for the twinkling of an eye.

I liked the dress, liked the copes and loved the music. The words of the liturgy seemed pretty disappointing to me. The surprising thing was a return to exclusive language and all the thous and wilts of the prayer book tradition. I thought we’d moved on from that when Prince Charles and Camilla had their wedding blessing.

It felt to me as though the music was a living tradition – new music commissioned for the day mingled in with a lot of twentieth century music and some trad hymns. The words of the service however just seemed to be Common Worship Series 1 which is very similar to what we would recognise in Scotland as the wedding service from the Scottish Prayer Book 1929.

Actually, not many of us would recognise it at all as the new wedding service seems to be doing rather well. I love working on it with couples – they get loads of options to create a service which is not just an off the peg liturgy but one that they’ve crafted together into something which says what they want to say to one another.

There was a glimpse of that in the prayer that the Bishop of London quoted as having been written by the couple, I suppose.

There were no glimpses of Bishop David in the Abbey though. As we saw nothing to the contrary, we must hope and assume that he enjoyed himself and that gaiters were worn with style and panache.


The day of the Royal Nuptials has arrived and I must admit to being staggered at the claim on the BBC that they expect two billion people to watch it. What’s that, a third of the people on earth? It seems an extraordinary number. Indeed they were describing it as the biggest television event ever.

I’ll be watching, of course. I’ve a professional interest in weddings and it’s important to keep up with what builds expectations around such events. I’ll also be tuning in for cope and gaiter spotting. Could this really be the day for the public restoration of gaiters to the Scottish hierarchy? It seems the best chance for a generation.

But why such extraordinary interest around the world? Is it that we all secretly hope that one day our prince will come?