Hayley Matthews: Why £32m royal wedding left a bitter taste

Harry and Meghan's wedding reportedly cost �32 million (Picture: AFP)
Harry and Meghan's wedding reportedly cost �32 million (Picture: AFP)
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Now, I wouldn’t class myself as an anti-royalist, however, on reflection of the weekend’s events and whilst listening to people’s various opinions I have to be honest and admit that I’m having very mixed feelings about the Royal Wedding.

On one hand, having a strong, young, biracial feminist marry into the Royal Family will certainly shake up some “stuffy” habits and make way for some diversity in the Royal Family and this surely is only to be celebrated.

However, on the other hand, the clearing of the homeless and “tidying” up of “vagrants” – the leader of Windsor & Maidenhead council called on police to tackle an “epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy” before the ceremony – has left many with a bitter taste in their mouth.

I’ve read many headlines saying that the homeless would be dealt with sensitively, only to read at the start of the week that people returned to sleep in doorways and bus shelters in Windsor after all the celebrations.

Do we really find it that easy to shut out the harsh reality of pain and suffering for those less fortunate than most. Many are homeless through no fault of their own. It can sometimes be down to a case of bad luck, bad decision-making and a bit of misfortune.

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I’m afraid to say for the majority on my social media feed, the social cleansing went unnoticed. Most were utterly desperate to see “the dress”, leaving any thoughts of the estimated £32 million spent on the wedding at the bottom of a prosecco glass underneath a soggy strawberry. Not to mention the scores of families still living in temporary accommodation after the Grenfell tower fire. Tuh, what do we care about them for? Let’s just see this dress, and gush and cluck away like broody hens! It’s the world gone mad.

We’ve lost all sense of priority and most of our compassion for our fellow humans. Instead we’re obsessed over what cut, colour and style of dress would walk out of Cliveden House last Saturday.

And we’re even more obsessed with the gift bags from the Royal Wedding that are now for sale for more than £1,000. Well, who wouldn’t want to spend that much on a fridge magnet, an order of service, a chocolate coin, some short bread and a didgeridoo or whatever?

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I still have some hope though. There’s no doubt about it, Harry and Meghan are very well loved and we’ve welcomed them in to our hearts and homes as newlyweds.

I did watch the wedding on Saturday and can only sit and wait in hope for the future of this new force in the Royal Family. After all, I love a wedding and seeing a young couple fall in love, especially ones who make worldwide headlines because they can use that public profile for the greater good.

It fills my heart with joy when people are in love and so happy. However, that joy may soon fade if the new Royal power couple don’t channel their new status to help improve people’s lives.

They both seem like good souls, trapped in the stiffness of historical Royal formalities and traditions.

I only hope that they embrace their new-found influence as a well-loved couple to make the world a better place. Then, when an event as big as the weekend’s wedding happens again, and it will, soon, we can celebrate less homelessness, less poverty and a fairer country for all those living in it.