Thursday, May 29, 2008

Royal Review - Peter Phillips & Autumn Kelly Hello Wedding Issue

I've written several reviews for this blog but I don't believe I've ever written one about a magazine. Given the amount of interest in this issue, I've decided to do so.

I'll admit that when I saw the engagement interview that Autumn and Peter gave to Hello I was delighted with it. I couldn't get my hands on it fast enough. It was an interesting interview, no earth shattering revelations with lovely photos of the couple. But I found it curious that Peter would have done an interview given the privacy he has maintained so successfully for the last 30 years.

But I was further surprised when their wedding got the Hello treatment. Although it is referred to as a Royal Wedding, I find it rather difficult to call it that. Despite being the Queen's grandson, Peter is not royal in that he has no title nor does he carry out public duties. The only royal aspect of this wedding is the location and the guest list which included senior members of the royal family.

For a member of the royal family to sell their wedding to a magazine is somewhat unprecedented. There's nothing new about the royal family stage-managing photo-ops. But this type of interview is something you would see a celebrity couple do, not royalty. Can you imagine Charles and Camilla sharing their love on the cover of Hello? or the Queen and Prince Philip opening the doors to their fabulous Scottish retreat, as they reflect on the enduring love of their 60-year marriage? Royal PR in the 21st century.

Despite all the speculation and uproar surrounding the wedding issue, it's actually fairly tasteful. No one looks uncomfortable. As if anticipating the furor Hello points this out: "Royalty did not appear displeased", and "spontaneous applause from the guests - which did not appear to ruffle the Queen in the least". It's interesting to note that once the wedding photos have been taken that senior members of the royal family, save for Sophie, are not photographed at the reception. The focus on the younger generation, specifically Kate Middleton and Chelsy Davy. Photos show Kate laughing, Chelsy and Kate on the dance-floor, Sophie smiling and clapping enthusiastically, Chelsy and Harry sharing an intimate moment, and the bride laughing as she leaves the reception. This is obviously a joyous event; save for the historic location no different from the wedding reception of any young couple.

The photos during the ceremony are lovely, touching and in no way intrusive. With royal weddings reverting to private occasions, it is a privilege to be privy to this one. The special looks between the couple, the first kiss after being pronounced husband and wife, and the clear delight on Princess Anne's face, makes for a new style of royal wedding; intimate and real.

Does this herald a change for the next royal wedding? Hopefully we won't have to wait long to find out.

© Marilyn Braun 2008

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