For such a glorious Oscar-winning performance, it was no doubt appropriate to fill St George’s Chapel with an equally Oscar-style attendance. The spectacle of Hollywood stars and media personalities, many seated well above the salt, rubbing shoulders with royals and admirable commoners alike was greeted as the new improved version of a Royal Wedding. Was there just a tad too much of the virtue-signalling? If so, it was outdone by the beauty and devotion of the young couple, the exquisite music, and the moving order of service.
The new Duchess later took the opportunity to declaim that she was proud to be both a woman and a feminist. Was there a hint of a new era on the way for the Royal Family? ‘Social justice’ – a royal SJW? Oh dear. Maybe, in the traditions of The Firm, it might be an idea to keep their opinions to themselves, and play down the all-too-visible inequalities. And ‘empowering women’? Surely a case of taking coals to Newcastle in a country reigned over for 65 years by the most respected woman in the world.
But the importance of the royals supporting charities – even the ‘fashionable’ causes – is unchallengeable. Securing a royal patron means a massive boost to any charity’s income and effectiveness. And it was ever thus. As the nation takes the new Sussexes to its heart, we are minded that, in the (prudently) paraphrased words of W S Gilbert:
‘To help unhappy commoners and add to their enjoyment,
Affords a man of noble birth congenial employment.
In short, if you’d kindle the spark of a signal,
Lure virtues right into your clutches,
You will not do better – you couldn’t do better,
Than trot out a Duke and a Duchess.’