(HOST) Commentator Madeleine Kunin reflects on the unlikely love story that, in spite of all odds, seems to have had a happy ending.
(KUNIN) Camilla and Charles finally got married on Saturday, and as the press noted – with some surprise – the wedding went off without a hitch. They deserved their day in the sun. Nothing could mar the day that most Britains had thought would never come about.
Yes, some noted exactly how many feet the Queen kept her distance from her son and new daughter-in-law, but others noted that the couple touched each other’s hands during the ceremony – a sign of affection that almost stands for an open display of passion among the royals.
The Princess Di loyals had their say. The press could not resist showing footage of that sumptuous wedding when Di was dressed in a meringue of puff whiteness and the world smiled down on them. They looked like a fairy book couple, the prince and his princess, with all the pomp and circumstance that any Cinderella could imagine.
But as we look at that footage now, knowing what we know of infidelity, bulimia and all the signs and symptoms of mutual misery, we know that, despite being the perfect looking couple, they did not live happily ever after.
Perfect, beautiful brides and dashing military clad grooms, especially when they wear swashbuckling swords, create exciting photo opportunities and fire our own fantasies of what an ideal marriage might be like, but they don’t necessarily translate well into reality.
Camilla and Charles – both attacked ruthlessly for their lack of style, attractiveness and excitement, did, to the surprise of many, look and act like a happy couple. They did portray another romantic story, which we read about less often, but which may be more true than the romance of a princess wearing a glittering crown – and that is the story of mature love between two middle-aged adults.
That too, is a triumph.
After two marriages, divorces and death, they persevered, they held on and they made the commitment they had wanted to make for more than 30 years, with their adult children looking on.
Yes, this was not the marriage made in heaven. This was the marriage made in the real world, which is often messy, unpredictable and doesn’t follow the fairy tale script. But it isn’t Desperate Housewives either. They are, by all indications of their long-term relationship, a happy couple.
And in the year 2005, when people use the term “hook up” for a brief fling, such commitment remains commendable. One fervent Princess Di fan had to admit that he was moved by the ceremony, saying, “That was then, and this is now.”
And now is the time when real love, whenever and wherever it emerges, is something to celebrate.
This is Madeleine May Kunin.
Madeleine May Kunin is a former governor of Vermont.