Cal  Thomas

Count me among the abstainers. I won't be watching over-the-top media coverage of Friday's wedding between Prince William and the "commoner" Kate Middleton.

After the "wedding of the century" of William's mother and father in 1981 and the ensuing drama that led to their divorce in 1996 and, eventually, her death on Aug. 31, 1997, the wedding of their son is unlikely to match the earlier nuptials in pomp or circumstance.

Pete Broadbent, the bishop of Willesden in northwest London, demonstrated just how cynical we have become about these fairy tale weddings. Last November, the bishop compared the couple to "shallow celebrities." He said their marriage is bound to fail. "I give the marriage seven years," he wrote on his Facebook page. But he wasn't through. He went on to trash Prince Charles and Princess Diana, saying of the media coverage of their wedding, "I managed to avoid the last disaster in slow motion between Big Ears and the Porcelain Doll, and I hope to avoid this one too."

The bishop, an anti-monarchist, cited a history of "more broken marriages and philanderers among these (royals) than not. They cost us an arm and a leg. ... Talent isn't passed on through people's bloodstock. The hereditary principle is corrupt and sexist."

After the pro-monarchy British press strongly criticized his remarks, the bishop issued an apology.

He may be on to something, though, at least when one considers statistics for people who shack up, as we used to say before the modern and less judgmental, "in a relationship." Prince William and Kate have been living together in North Wales for several months.

How far the British have come from the days when Edward VIII was forced to give up the throne in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite. See all about it depicted in this year's best picture, "The King's Speech."

Once, women who married royalty had to prove their virginity. That included Lady Diana Spencer. Now they don't even have to promise to "obey" their husbands, which Diana refused to do in her vows and Kate won't do either. Why do we even call them "vows" anymore since they are so often broken? As defined by, a vow is, "a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment."

A recent front page USA Today story noted, "Cohabitation has become almost a rite of passage before marriage..." Yes, and with many speed bumps. According to figures published in 2002 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Cohabitation before the first marriage (is) associated with a greater chance of divorce."

Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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