Jim Furlong: Hand in Hand

Life is a funny thing. It is a journey of extremes in terms of the full gamut of human emotions. It is filled with broad smiles and sometimes bitter tears. 

The royal wedding last week of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was a great “time out” for us from the usual things that occupy our lives. We watched on a sunny Saturday morning as centuries of British tradition and heritage walked hand in hand with a modern new American world. Wife and I watched with particular interest because we had been at Windsor Castle during each of the past two summers. We took great delight in looking at the wedding spectacle and the castle and the little streets of Windsor that really is a charming little town. Entry to the castle when the royal family isn’t there is about $30 and worth every penny. 

Signposts Along the Road

We aren’t an old couple, but certainly in the golf game of life we are surely “on the back nine.” That speaks to one of the unspoken attractions of royalty. Their stories are the signposts along the road that match periods in our own lives. 

The marriage of Elizabeth and Philip; the death of George VI; the birth of Elizabeth’s children; the Coronation; Princess Margaret and her ill-starred romance with Group Captain Peter Townsend. That list goes on through the years and through highs and lows that include marriages, divorces, infidelities, squabbles, royal intrigues, and great tragedies all played out in full view of the public eye. 

That brings me circuitously to the marriage of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. At Windsor it was a weekend of powerful images for the television cameras broadcast to a world hungry for romance and a happy ending. We were an audience that very much wanted to see for once in the world a story that ends with “and they lived happily ever after,” even though we know that is not how the world works. 

For me, one of the enduring images of the weekend of the royal marriage was the juxtaposition of two pictures taken years apart and it speaks well to the point of this humble offering. In one image, taken on Saturday, Prince Harry is seen holding the hand of his new bride gently in his own. The other image is from 1997 and Prince Harry, then a 12-year-old boy, is walking resolutely behind the casket at the funeral of his mother, Diana. 

Found A Home

Harry’s hands are clasped tightly as he deals with what, for a child, is that most awful of situations; his mother’s death. Last weekend the hands of Prince Harry were no longer clenched, but had found a softer home in the hands of Meghan Markle. Such is the journey of life for all of us, both royals and commoners. It is an ongoing tale of great mountains and deep valleys but sometimes the sun shines brightly on a day in May and all seems right in the world.

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