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Friday, April 22, 2011

The wedding of the century

You'd think that listening to a podcast about the royal weddings of British monarchs would be...well...boring. But it was far from that and overflowing with gossip, scandal, and promiscuity.

Yesterday's Faculty Within Your Reach Webinar titled "Love Match or Political Convenience? The Weddings of British Monarch Past and Present" took listeners through the sensational British weddings dating back to the 1400s. And in light of Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding next week, looking back at British weddings is all the more relevant.

Patrick Allitt, the Cahoon Family Professor of American History, led the webinar with his distinguishable British accent, which was quite appropriate for the subject matter.

Allitt highlighted some of the most important weddings throughout British history and what made them so memorable. Here's a bit about a few of them...

He started with the matrimony of
King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, who was incidentally beautiful--uncommon for an arranged marriage. And she had three sons, which is like hitting the jackpot for a British king.

He continued with King Henry VIII, whom Allitt described as the most famous fat man in English history. To ensure he had a male heir, he was married six times to a variety of royal women, including Anne Boleyn who was later executed by King Henry's order.

Queen Elizabeth I
, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, refrained from the institution altogether, focusing more on her duties to her country.

I'll skip to the more scandalous kings, like Charles II who was notoriously promiscuous and had 14 illegitimate children, or like George IV who illegally married a Catholic common woman before marrying his royal Protestant wife.

The English monarchs also instated a few marital traditions that we still practice today, like wearing a white wedding dress and serving a wedding cake.

Allitt of course spoke about Prince Charles and Princess Diana marriage and how they were married at a time when the media began turning royalty into celebrities.

Now, Allitt couldn't predict anything for the future of the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Prince William, but he did wish them the best.

They're wedding is definitely not as shrouded in controversy as their royal predecessors, but it will certainly be the one with the most media attention.

If you missed Allitt's webinar, you can watch it online here.

--Lindsey Bomnin 12C, EAA communications intern

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