Catherine Elizabeth “Kate” Middleton (born January 9, 1982 Reading, Berkshire, England) is the fiancée of Prince William of Wales. Since their relationship began, Middleton has received widespread media attention and there was much speculation that they would eventually marry. On 16 November 2010, the office of the Prince of Wales at Clarence House announced their engagement. On 23 November, it was announced the wedding will take place on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey, with the day declared a bank holiday in the UK.
Middleton grew up in Berkshire and, after attending Marlborough College, went to the University of St Andrews, where she met Prince William, also studying there, in 2001. They started a relationship, followed by media attention, triggering complaints by Middleton that the media were harassing her. In April 2007, the press reported that William and Middleton had split up. They continued to be friends, and later in 2007 they reunited. Since then, Middleton has attended many high-profile royal events. She has been admired for her fashion sense and has been placed on numerous “best dressed” lists.
I stayed up and watched the royal wedding. Originally, I wasn’t planning to. I was just going to TiVo it, which I did, but as I turned on the TiVo I witnessed “the sea of people,” as one of the commentators described it. I wanted to be a part of that sea of people. I was moved about what was taking place: 2 billion people coming together at the same time to witness love.
At a time of such global turmoil and national disasters, with earthquakes and wars, uprisings against oppressive governments and tsunamis, the royal wedding became a symbol for all of us to believe that we can still celebrate hope and love. We were all gathering to watch the wedding, but more than that, we were looking for some kind of healing. The pain we have all felt in our collective human experience from witnessing so much pain, destruction and loss of life needed a balm.
So, why not sacrifice a few hours of sleep to witness the union of two people who obviously love one another and commemorate our union as a whole?
Thirty years ago, we watched Lady Diana marry her prince in an arranged marriage, hoping that it would grow into true love, only to see it fall apart, filled with hurt and betrayal. Thirteen years ago, we all gathered to mourn the tragic loss of Princess Di. We all needed closure and healing. On the morning of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, we witnessed the good that came out Prince Charles and Lady Di’s personal sacrifice.
One of my favorite moments was listening to the Lord Bishop of London’s speech when he quoted St. Catherine of Siena: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” In those words was the message of acceptance, and we could all see Kate radiating her confidence, more calm and composed in her own skin than perhaps even the Royals themselves. She is even more the people’s princess, because she is of the people. The people who were a part of her life from her village were invited to her wedding in a touching gesture.
James Middleton, Kate’s younger brother, read a beautiful passage from the Bible that touched upon the phrases, “Let love be genuine, hold fast to what is good,” “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering,” and “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.” The reading enhanced the warm and openhearted spirit of the wedding ceremony.
In the midst of all the affluence, glamor and ritual, there was a spirit of generosity. Kate and Prince William asked for no presents, and the proceeds from the wedding’s broadcast (nearing $250,000) will be donated to The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, which helps charities across the world. These gestures set the tone for the newlywed couple’s values. The whole ceremony revealed a foundation upon which they can build a life of love and goodness. I heard that even the Queen said the ceremony was amazing. Now that’s a breakthrough!
Watching the ceremony, I felt the spirit of all of us who want to believe that love is real and still alive, despite all the global disasters. We celebrated the experience, the beauty and our oneness. And we gathered, all of us from around the world, to be a part of that rekindling of hope.
Prince William and Kate stood as a living symbol of healing and unity. A gentle reminder that we can still celebrate. A reminder that no matter where you are from, how old you are or what generation you belong to, we all want to believe in the existence of love. Yes, we want the fairy tale, but we also want more than that. We want to experience the celebration of goodness and unity in the world. We need hope so that we can keep going in the midst of disaster and suffering, so we can still believe that love and happiness exist somewhere in the world.
When I finally woke up after drifting in and out, I had that feeling that I had been part of some wonderful celebration. The spirit of the occasion, of 2 billion people coming together, stayed with me, and my heart felt full, pulsing with love. Our hearts need to know that we are a part of the global human experience, that when we can enrich each other’s lives with our different cultures, the things that separate us disappear. It is in those moments when we come together that we remember that we are not alone.