There was a clear Irish subtext to the royal wedding from Prince William dressed in an Irish Guards uniform to shamrocks on Kate Middleton’s wedding dress as well as the news that the dress was manufactured using old Irish lace traditions.
But the most significant announcement was the one that Prince William has become Baron Carrickfergus among many other titles.
That tips the balance for me between a benign interpretation on the Irish subtext to something more in your face.
On the one hand people can argue that the upcoming Queen’s visit to Ireland ensures a new era and the Irish subtext to the royal wedding helped reinforce that.
On the other hand was it all a deliberate effort to state categorically that a part of Ireland was still under British rule and that the Irish could like it or lump it?
[And there were the Waterford crystal chandeliers! – Ed] Indeed.
The three titles conferred on the prince – Duke of Cambridge [England & Wales], Earl of Strathearn [Scotland] and Baron Carrickfergus [Northern Ireland] – seem designed to echo the royal couple’s pre-wedding tour of the United Kingdom. Which included a visit to Northern Ireland. Not that that necessarily undermines Niall O’Dowd’s contention.
But the reality is that the 1998 Agreement recognised Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom, and recognised the people’s “right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland” [added emphasis].
Just because some may wish to pretend otherwise, doesn’t mean that everyone else has to.
Of course, the regimental motto of the Irish Guards, ‘Quis Separabit?’ (‘Who shall separate us?’), which features in the insignia on the Forage Cap the prince wore on the day, also happens to be rather appropriate for a wedding. [And for a United Kingdom?! – Ed] You do know that the tinfoil doesn’t work?