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  Opinion   Oped  15 May 2017  Of royals, romance & Eurovision

Of royals, romance & Eurovision

Kishwar Desai, is the chair of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which is setting up the Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar.
Published : May 15, 2017, 12:26 am IST
Updated : May 15, 2017, 6:43 am IST

In real life, we await Prince Harry’s impending announcement of his engagement with Meghan Markle.

Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron poses with his wife Brigitte Trogneux at the Elysee presidential Palace in France on Sunday prior to the inauguration ceremony. (Photo: AFP)
 Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron poses with his wife Brigitte Trogneux at the Elysee presidential Palace in France on Sunday prior to the inauguration ceremony. (Photo: AFP)

It is summer but the weather cannot make up its mind whether to be sunny and hot or wet and cold. The country seems to take its cue from nature and is hot and cold at the same time. There is happy news of wedding and romance but there is also all the contention about the election next month. But this being London, we know how to mix and match. So we have been pleased at Emmanuel Macron getting elected with his former teacher-now-wife adding glamour to politics. Not to be outdone, Theresa May has been appearing in public with her husband to win hearts and minds. They did a TV “family on sofa” show. The aim was to persuade people that though she may be the new “Iron Lady”, Ms May is quite human, feminine and loving. Philip May proved to be a good interviewee. He does the “boy things” in the marriage such as putting the dustbin out and of course keeping down a top-notch job in the city. It was love at first sight and of course he is the pillar in her busy and strenuous life. To appeal to the Labour heartland, it was made clear that he is the son of shoe salesman.

A family drama of a different sort was unveiled on the BBC. This was the play Charles III which was a success on stage. It is a Shakespeare pastiche by Mike Bartlett written in blank verse. It is a fantasy about Prince Charles having become King but facing an angry Parliament as he refuses to give his consent to a law restricting press freedom. Cue rebellion by his sons. Kate is the hard Lady Macbeth type (not quite her real-life image) and William the reluctant challenger. There is even Princess Diana’s ghost to liven things up. Harry, meanwhile, is romancing a young black woman living in a council house. It is all sweetly unrealistic but fun. The royalists have denounced it in the media. It has even a Labour Prime Minister (how unreal can you get!) who tells Charles that a republic would be better.


In real life, we await Prince Harry’s impending announcement of his engagement with Meghan Markle. They were caught kissing at the polo match. The betting is that they will be the couple stealing all the attention when Pippa, Kate’s sister, gets married. That wedding next Saturday in a 12th century church in Berkshire will be the social event of the season.

It is the year of celebrating UK-India relations. Last March we attended the reception in Buckingham Palace with Indian finance minister (now also defence minister) Arun Jaitley. On Friday, we had the UK-India awards ceremony. This is Manoj Ladwa’s brainchild, and he is a one-man UK India project himself. Piyush Goyal, minister of state with independent charge for renewable energy and mines, was there from the Indian side and Priti Patel was the UK minister. Ms May sent a message as she was too busy campaigning. Brexit has made India an even more valuable friend for the UK than it has been all these years.


It was also Eurovision Song Contest time! Here we go again, on and on for 62 years. One only ever watches it because it is so (unintentionally) hilarious. This time it was in Kiev (Ukraine). Ms May expressed her worry already that UK plans for Brexit may mean that the European Union members might take revenge and refuse to vote for our own performer Lucie Jones, who sportingly said that she will just concentrate on singing and not think of Brexit. As it is, the UK has not been a winner for many years. Once it got nul points.

But it was Portugal, which had not won for 55 years, that swept the national jury ranking and public ranking. The UK ended up halfway down despite Lucie’s best efforts. No surprises there. Let us wish for better luck next time. May be the selectors will be more adventurous and select a Bhangra number. About time!


And now the big question: what do you give your wife to commemorate the first time you ever met 20 years ago? Well, if it’s a celebrated woman who has everything, you give her “privacy”…

And that’s what David Beckham is planning to give to Victoria Beckham, by buying her an island.

And no, the island is not called England, it is actually slightly smaller — only 250 acres, with a mansion — and enough space for a golf course too, apart from miles and miles of beaches. According to reports, this could be the £7 million Bird Cay in the South Berry Islands, Nassau. But it could also be in the Bahamas, or the British Virgin Islands…


No guessing whether it will be befittingly rechristened for “Queen Victoria” who lives right now in “Beckingham Palace”.

So long as they don’t start running an East India Company out of there, we are relatively safe!

Tags: emmanuel macron, theresa may, prince charles, prince harry, meghan markle