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Published April 24 2011

Swift: Memories of earlier wedding return

Sorry, William and Kate.

I don’t think I’m going to make Friday’s wedding.

For one thing, I never got an invitation. I’m sure the oversight wasn’t yours. I probably accidentally threw it out with my Fingerhut catalog.

For another – and I don’t know how to put this delicately – I’m already kind of sick of you guys.

It’s not your fault. You just happen to be a couple of crazy, lovesick kids caught up in a great big Weddingate.

We’ve been saturated with news of your relationship for months. It’s like when your best friend gets engaged and all she can talk about is if she should let her fiancé have Darth Vader mints at the reception and whether the pew bows should be ecru or ivory.

But this is even bigger than that. It’s Bridezilla, times 20. It’s Britzilla.

Google “Will and Kate,” and you’ll receive 142 million hits. One of those hits takes you to a royal website where you can send your own congratulatory video message to the couple and watch some dude called the “Deputy Master of the Household” talk about canapés.

That’s not even mentioning the avalanche of royal wedding souvenirs, which range from $59 reproductions of Kate’s engagement ring to ash trays, toilet seats and artificial nails.

Of course, you’ll have to pay premium prices, along with shipping and handling charges.

It’s “Will and Kate, Plus Freight.”

I know I sound bitter. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a Half-Time Work-Study Intern of the Household, much less a Deputy Master.

But it’s also because the barrage of coverage has made me apathetic: It numbs me to the point where I no longer recognize, or even care, that an event is special. In a bit of self-preservation, I stop paying attention, even though something historic is happening.

It’s worlds away from the ceremony surrounding Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer 30 years ago. Back then, it was the first royal wedding I’d heard of, and I was mesmerized.

At the time, there was no Internet to saturate people with more pop culture than they could conceivably digest.

And so we were voracious consumers of any shred of royal wedding news. We pored through Good Housekeeping and Redbook to find out about her growing-up years. We watched TV interviews that showed the young couple awkwardly smiling at each other and showing off her blue sapphire ring.

On the day of their wedding in July 1981, I got up in the middle of the night to watch the festivities. My mother typically needed the Jaws of Life to yank me out of bed in the morning, but I freely got up at 4 a.m. that July day to watch Charles and Di get married.

Not only that, I recorded the event on our mammoth VCR – even taping over “Days of Our Lives” to do so. Maybe I figured my tape recording, with its awkwardly cut-out commercials and occasional unexpected footage of Alice and Tom Horton, would be worth big money someday.

But it was worth it. I curled up on the couch in my robe and watched Diana ride through the streets of London in a glass coach, exactly like Cinderella. I gasped when she emerged from the coach in her puffy ivory wedding dress. I worried about the flower girls, who seemed too young for such a long, hot, stuffy ceremony.

I worried about Diana, too, who seemed a little pale and fragile amid all this pomp and protocol. And no wonder. At the time, she was just four years older than me.

It was like watching a fairy tale come alive. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a very happy ending. But it’s still a good memory. And even now when I Google those old photos, it makes me smile.

Perhaps, for old time’s sake, I will break down and TiVo Will and Kate.

I wonder if I still have that VHS tape?


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525