Some 70 years after the loss of empire the world remains fascinated by the British. The royal wedding which has about zero impact on the world we live in, is being universally celebrated as a major inflection point in race relations.
I really couldn’t give a damn.
I have lived in the west for the last 35 years and have never paid any attention to my ethnicity (I am brown). As far as I am concerned no one I’ve met either personally or professionally gave a rat’s arse about the colour of my skin. My bi-racial daughters have enjoyed a similarly benign experience with race. I know that we are privileged and fortunate in not having to worry about our tan.
As such I was surprised when both cost centres 1 & 2 were visibly moved by the wedding. One of them talked about wanting to be a princess like Snow White when she was little – but couldn’t relate because Snow White is, well, snow white. In fact the only Disney princesses of colour are Jasmine and Pocahontas – neither of whom wear pretty dresses (important when you are a little girl). Meghan Markle as the black princess struck a chord with both of my daughters – as she appears to have done with people of colour around the world.
Perhaps the royal family has done something very right.
Mind you the royals were never great with matters of race. Price Philip is celebrated for saying the wrong things about race. He famously greeted the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea by congratulating him on the fact that “you people aren’t eating each other any longer!” In Scotland he asked a driving instructor how he kept his clients off the sauce long enough to learn to drive a car.
Royal weddings have rarely begun or ended well. Price Andrew suffered moments of toe curling embarrassment as his wife was pictured having her toes sucked by their financial adviser. Prince Williams’ wedding coverage focussed mostly on the admittedly well proportioned derrière of his sister in law.
This wedding was different and for one brief shining moment we could all believe that the positive experience I have enjoyed as a person of colour is accessible to all.
I celebrated with a glass of British bubbly produced by a good friend on her estate in East Sussex. The terroir of the region is similar to that of the champagne region in France. The quality of the sparkling wines being produced in Sussex and Kent is impressive. The Oxney vineyard is the largest producer of organic wines in the UK. I have been enjoying their 2015 Classic vintage and am looking forward to tasting their new sparkling rosé being released next month. There are new beginnings everywhere in this green and pleasant land.