Royal snub for the Obamas: No wedding invite from Prince William and Kate Middleton
Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm
Oh, the humiliation. Once not so long ago one of the world's top celebrities in his own right, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle did not make the cut for invitations to the royal wedding in London next spring.
On April 29 in Westminster Abbey with all the grace and pageantry sure to capture international imaginations, commoner Kate Middleton will marry Prince William, son of Princess Diana. And don't forget the horsedrawn carriage perhaps.
But the current residents of the White House will not be there, according to the Daily Mail.
The official excuse provided to the British paper by royal sources is that the royal couple wants to share their special nuptial moment with ordinary citizens. Anyway, it is not an official state event, they said. And, you know, Westminster only seats 2,000.
So then how to explain the invites to French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni?
And how to explain the invitations to England-loving President and Mrs. Reagan for the wedding of Diana and Prince Charles back in 1981? And the subsequent invitations to the American first family for the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson five years later?
The Obamas and royal family sure look friendly in the 2009 photo above (well, OK, Prince Philip doesn't look so cheery).
On that grand occasion in Buckingham Palace, President Obama on behalf of the people of the United States presented the British sovereign with the gift of an iPod. She gave him a photograph framed in silver.
That came a few months after Britain's visiting Prime Minister Gordon Brown was denied the traditional Oval Office photo op with the American president. And Obama gave Brown a couple of toy helicopters of Marine One and classic American movie DVD's, reportedly in a format incompatible with British players. Thanks for stopping by.
Such incidents gave rise to silly rumors that Obama carries some kind of vestigial grudge toward America's traditional ally, possibly because his Kenyan father was a colonial subject of Britain's until two years after baby Barack's 1961 birth. And don't forget those pesky WikiLeak documents showing Obama aides consider the current British prime minister, David Cameron, a lightweight. Isn't everyone who doesn't attend Harvard?
Maybe William's grandparents will ultimately change his mind for him. And who wants to go London in April anyway when you can hit the musty gym over at the Interior Department for an hour of hoops with Arne Duncan?
Meanwhile, the current wedding invitation snub could be something as simple as the engaged couple not caring a cricket's wicket about a couple of Chicagoans from a faux Hyde Park. Maybe the British just don't like Nobel Prize winners.
It couldn't possibly be overdue retaliation for that tax protest by Massachusetts liberals dumping 342 chests of British tea into the ocean. That, of course, became known as the Boston Tea Party. Seems like only 237 years ago last night.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photo: Getty Images (2009); Mario Testino.
Dec. 17, 2010