Thursday, 18 November 2010

One in three

I have to admit I'm strangely, uncharacteristically fascinated by the royal engagement. Normally my interest in the royal family is limited at the best of times - probably largely due to sheer rage at the Daily Express crowd.

HRH hit the scene in my second year at St Andrews and the atmosphere there changed dramatically. Suddenly, the nicest bars in town (and it's a small old town) were packed with expensively-highlighted American girls in fitted rugby shirts and pink pashminas, while security was tightened to within an inch of its life. Woe betide the student who tried to get into the Union (or even the library) on a Friday night without an ID card. After second year, he moved out of halls and the hoo-hah died down a bit. Or maybe it's just that I moved to France for a year, returned briefly for the first semester of third year and then absconded to Italy for spaghetti, spritz and snowboarding. I definitely passed WW a couple of times on the street but couldn't distinguish him from the other posh boys wearing navy baseball caps over floppy blond hair. At least until someone hissed - 'but wasn't that...???', forcing me to admit my ignorance. My sub-standard celebrity spotting skills make me glad I'm not a gossip columnist.

But what interests me isn't the romance, or the dress, or the media circus, or even KM's lack of career (these days, who's really managed to achieve anything by 28? I certainly hadn't got very far). It's the reality. It's hard for a relationship to survive the first tough years after graduation. They've been together eight years. What keeps two fast-changing young people together that long, throughout their turbulent early twenties? How did they cope with separation? Why did they split and what brought them back together? Are they really 'in love' or just good mates who fancy each other and get on ok? What does in love mean after eight years? Is the spark still there?

They both seem so modern and normal - insofar as a prince and the daughter of millionaires can be. They look and sound just like the other posh boys and girls I know. What makes their relationship a success? Do they have a real bond or is it just PR?

One in three St Andrews graduates marries another St Andrews graduate. A sign of a small, inbred community or of salt-soaked romance on the bracing Fife coast?

By all appearances, this is not a whirlwind romance, but a tough, tried-and-tested bond, with the battlescars and laughter lines of eight years to prove it. Does this mean there's some hope for the rest of us?


Aidan said...

To be fair, most of those girls were actually Canadian, not American. After the announcement was made, the number of Canadian female applicants increased 11-fold from the previous year. I don't know how or why I know this useless statistic.

pinolona said...

wow, great useless knowledge! I'd take you to a pub quiz any day.