The royal wedding proved a great occasion. At the centre was clearly a happy couple – smiling and waving throughout – and operating in the context of a ceremony that was flawless. When it comes to pageantry, we have few equals. The day was not only a great one for the couple, but also for the monarchy, for the country (feel-good factor, international coverage) and for London.
I had to attend a seminar at the British Academy, in Carlton House Terrace, at lunchtime on Thursday. This entailed walking across Parliament Square and along Horse Guards Parade to the Mall. Getting through the crowds was quite an exercise. The place was packed, not least with overseas visitors. There were already people camped out ready for the wedding. Still, working into the evening on Thursday – my office overlooking Westminster Abbey – meant I got to hear the choir rehearsing.
The wedding will, I suspect, enhance the recent increase in support for skipping a generation in the succession to the crown. This, however, is not that simple (never mind the merits of the case). The legal position is quite clear. Upon the demise of the Queen, Prince Charles becomes king. The Privy Council meets to issue a Proclamation, but this is a formality: it has no effect on the legal position. Skipping a generation, the same as with an abidication (or moving from preferential male primogeniture to absolute primogeniture), requires legislation and consultation with other nations of which the monarch is head of state. In any event, I suspect the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will wish to spend some years trying to live as ‘normal’ a life as possible.