A lament for missing fathers

First a confession à propos the Royal Wedding: I don’t like pomp and circumstance – and I don’t just mean the piece by Elgar.

This phobia has two explanations, one my own, the other my wife’s.

Mine is predictably kinder. Since I believe that our God-given free will makes each of us sovereign and unique, it pains me to see multitudes ready to abandon their individuality and join a loudly braying herd. This, I feel, wastes the advantage of being human.

My wife, on the other hand, insists that as a consummate egotist I simply can’t stand any event in which I’m not the centre of attention.

To prove her wrong, I declined the invitation to ride next to Harry and Meghan in the wedding limousine.

Such modesty (uncharacteristic, according to Penelope) is mainly caused by consideration for the feelings of the young couple. After all, they would be upset to hear the multitudes ask one another  who are those people in the car with Alex Boot.

Also, this particular event evokes painful memories of having missed, inadvertently, my son’s wedding back in the nineties. I genuinely was unable to attend, which I believe put the jinx in: the marriage ended in divorce a few years ago.

To start off on the right foot, any wedding ceremony – private or public – should include, besides bride and groom, best man, bridesmaid and priest, a full complement of the parents still living.

When a father isn’t there, the ceremony misses an essential element – no matter how many millions scream themselves hoarse and wave flags all along the route of the wedding cortege.

That’s why I still feel sorry about having been unable to attend my son’s wedding all those years ago, even though I was invited. Why, in an odd sort of way I even blame myself for the subsequent divorce, albeit 20 years later.

Not that it makes matters any better, I felt rotten about it then and for years thereafter. In a way I still do. That’s why I sympathise with the feelings of another man who, though like me far from being a perfect father, is a father nonetheless.

For him his child’s wedding is a step towards self-perpetuation through generations to come, which is a momentous event in any man’s life.

That’s why seeing his child getting married without him in attendance must be sheer torture. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he dropped a tear into his drink. Alas, circumstances conspired to keep him away from his child’s new beginning in life.

His sadness is probably matched by that of the young couple, who know that something vital is missing from the festivities – something that no jubilant crowds could possibly replace.

And, to make matters even worse, Meghan’s father won’t be there either.

5 thoughts on “A lament for missing fathers”

  1. As mass celebrations go, I think those of our royal family are altogether benign. I’ll take the pomp of a kingdom over that of a republic any day. Honestly, from the headlines I scan as I walk past the newsstand at my local fuel station can’t seem to make their mind up, is Meghan’s dad coming or is he not bloody coming!

  2. Very naughty Mr B!

    Returning to your first insinuation: Our ‘pomp and circumstance’ plays a valuable role in separating majesty from power. God forbid we would be like the French or the Americans, who tie themselves up in knots over how to criticise their respective presidents, given that they, not only have the power, but they also hold the majesty of being head of state – indeed the French president is immune from prosecution whilst in office.

    We, on the other hand, are quite at liberty to throw rotten eggs at a prime minister who has exactly the same status as the rest of us – a subject of a (powerless) monarch. That should surely appeal to your inner bolshevik?…(don’t say ‘ouch’, I already have!)

    I do hope your dislike of Elgar’s ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ (an English anthem for the masses, I always thought) doesn’t extend to ‘Nimrod’ from Enigma Variations – a piece that reduces me to, at worst melancholy, and, at best, to tears…

    Your last insinuation…I had the pleasure of instructing Captain Wales on his helicopter pilots course and I can categorically confirm that he was a born officer that thoroughly deserved his seat in the Apache AH1 helicopter. His brother officers, on an intense course, had the weekends free – he did not. Every Wednesday, an envelope would arrive from ‘the Palace’ telling him where he was to be that weekend, what he was supposed to do, how he was supposed to dress and who he was supposed to shake hands with (including their relatives) – all of this he had to memorise for the following Saturday morning. He did an outstanding job on the Apache course – I wasn’t able to follow him on the live firing phase, or his deployment to Afghanistan but I am reliably informed that he maintained his standard throughout.

    As to his ‘parentage’…He was born a Prince and he was brought up a Prince.

    And that’s good enough for this soldier!

  3. A very good statement from a thoroughly loyal subject! I am sure that if HMQ read it she would create a Royal Order of the Boot and give you one.

    As for pomp and circumstance, I have read that If Elgar didn’t regret writing it he certainly regretted failing to prevent people getting hold of it for their own advancement and adding embarrassingly fatuous and jingoistic words in a style that only Putin supporters would envy today. Nevertheless, I have sometimes contemplated playing it loud on the car’s sound system when passing through and area where ‘doof doof is favoured or where Corbynite /anarchist posters and graffiti abound. I would also like to antagonize remainders just to watch them disappear in a cloud of ink.

    1. Red hair runs in the Spencer line.

      Both Harry’s uncle (the present earl) and aunt (Diana’s older sister) had identical hair colouring when they were younger.

      The key for me is the eyes. When you see Harry and Charles together, you can see that they both have the ‘Mountbatten’ close set eyes (Phillip and Louis Mountbatten have the same). William looks like his mother. Harry looks like his father…

      …oh! And the fact that Harry was around two years old when his mother was first introduced to James Hewitt.

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