It was one of the most memorable weddings in history. I was on vacation at Lake Tahoe with my family and stayed up all night to watch it live from England. Never in my life have I seen a bride so radiant. The train on her gown was longer than my cul-de-sac. Her wedding bouquet resembled a fern hanging in our house, but who cared? She had flower girls my age standing beside her in the most beautiful cream dresses (oh how I dreamed I was one of them). She rode in a horse-drawn carriage, just like Cinderella, waving her princess wave with quiet demeanor. She wasn’t just a bride; she was a princess with a royal crown resting on her feathered, blond locks and a prince dressed in royal military attire by her side.
I will never forget the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana. It is emblazed in my memory forever. Every wedding from that point forward I compare to that unsurpassed wedding at Westminster Abbey. For once, a princess was not an animated drawing or character at Disneyland. She was real, beautiful, and shy. She didn’t want the attention, you could see that in her actions, but she couldn’t hide from it. It was magical.
In a few short days, 2 billion people — some little girls, mostly grown adults — will watch in high definition as Catherine Middleton marries Prince William. It seems to be all the news can cover, and who can blame them? It is the wedding of the century, costing 30 million dollars. What will Princess Kate wear? Who is invited? Will it rain (I mean, we are talking London here)? This is the stuff fairytales are made of, and this is what the wonderful world of Disney fed our childhood dreams with: prince meets commoner and makes her his princess bride…“and they lived happily ever after.”
The beauty of this fairytale is that all of us get a chance to live it, because as Catholic Christians we are all brides of the King! We don’t have to dream of walking down the aisle of Westminster Abbey to become royalty, we just need to come before the altar to receive Christ our King’s precious Body and Blood in the Eucharist (Luke 22:14-20). We don’t have to purchase an expensive bridal gown to be clothed in white, we just need to go to confession and “set things right…Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). We don’t have to receive a royal invitation to be allowed entrance to the ceremony or reception, we just have to walk through the doors of any Catholic Church to participate in the wedding feast of the Lamb, “For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).
We are already royalty because we are brides of Christ, the “King of kings, the Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16). Christ our King’s crown was made of thorns, not diamonds; He didn’t wear a tuxedo or military uniform, He wore a purple cloak that was eventually stripped to a loincloth (John 19:2). Our King didn’t wait for His bride as she walked down the aisle; instead, He carried a cross to Calvary where He bore our sins so we would never be separated (John 19:17). Our King didn’t carry His bride over a threshold to an earthly palace; instead, He tore the veil between heaven and earth “from top to bottom” (Mark 15:38) and prepared a place for us in Heaven, saying, “I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (John 14:3).
It may not appear to be the fairytale that the media will cover in the days to come, but it is the love story of our salvation. So while you watch the Royal Wedding this week, keep in mind that you celebrate the wedding of the Lamb every time you say “Amen” and receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Our love story begins with “In the beginning” (Gen 1:1) versus “Once upon a time,” but it truly ends with our living “happily ever after.”