Cultural Change WITH NO RESPECT OF TRADITION - Royal Wedding 2018
Our “thoughts” have a direct connection with “actions”! That means, your actions will reflect your thoughts ‘exactly’, whether positive or negative. Your thoughts are the foundation of your state of mind that creates belief system within you. Basically, what you think, you do. Remember what Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you cant, either way, you are right”. Our thoughts create our reality. I am sure you have heard about this:
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Good news is, thoughts are completely controllable. We shape our destiny with our thoughts. That is the simple truth. Every one of us is unique; we have distinct backgrounds. No one can be compared with another, however, we are all connected. I will be illustrating today, the importance of embracing "change"...HOWEVER, cost of embracing diversity and cultural change without respect for Tradition and Values can cause mayhem in the society, sometimes can be massively destructive. I think we are getting there quickly. And we shall further look at, why it is important for leaders to embrace meaningful change and societal norms without being disrespectful to cultural norms and traditions.
We live in a unfair world, where bad things happen to good people, we see injustice everywhere, people feel entitled to pass a "comment" to anything and everything even if it is not there place. Most live in ‘fear’ of embarrassments, disapproval, shame, bad reputation and for being labeled. ‘What will they say?’ or ‘What will they think?’ are the main cause of these crippling condition. I am not a fan of Jeff Bezos, but his recent quote makes sense - “if you cannot afford to be misunderstood, don’t bother doing anything innovative or different”. We learn from events, circumstance, influencers around us; and some even emulate behaviors and actions of the Royals and celebrities. Especially these days with millions of magazine, news papers pampering their favorite billionaires, executives, politicians, actors, musicians in order to influence social change and discourse. Often, normal (i.e. non-royal) people don’t dare to do "great" things – not because they are incapable, but because they are afraid of the consequences, criticism, and ill reputation. However, imitating celebs is a easier route. Fear is lifted out of the shoulder, instantly! Social change and norms were always top-down approach, not bottom-up. History teaches us, marriage conventionally was a strong business deal for political, national or self-interest purposes, mostly to build alliances to conquer countries or territorial expansion or control over regions! Human greed for material possession, expansion of business, property, assets, wealth, status, authority through the matrimonial alliance, (i.e. a transaction) is nothing new. Royal marriages were not based on compatibility or love. A pure business deal of compromise, sheer diplomacy and politics (you may call it as a small sacrifice) to advance political agenda of conquering more land and authority.
ROYAL WEDDING 2018:
Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding was the most noteworthy UNCONVENTIONAL global wedding of 2018, an event that was televised live, actively followed by millions and attended by world’s ‘who is who’. Meghan Markle became the instant star of the world, from a Hollywood suit-case girl to a Princess, overnight. Star-studded royal affair reportedly cost British Citizens a whopping $45 million. $50,000 of which was spent on a ‘lemon cake’. A history was written in the book on May 19th. How is this event so significant for the world? What can we learn from this event? Let’s look.
Nothing was traditional about the Royal Wedding 2018. Although ones wedding is a personal choice and private matter, this is no ordinary wedding. Spotlight media coverage and news reports of all family details, age, biracial birth or prior marriage were circulated 24 hours. Prince Harry was determined to marry his dream girl, Meghan Markle from all the way America. The entire world watched with awe…the making of Duke and Duchess of Sussex (who knows whether they will fulfill their duties of the title?). Their combined worth is $30 million (Harry’s $25million and Meghan’s $5m). Meghan married into class, status, royalty and major wealth when she tied the knot with Prince Harry. Did Meghan marry Harry for fame and fortune? Was Harry inspired to break rules by Meghan? Some of the questions will never be answered. It is said that this wedding is expected to generate a substantial boost to the British economy, through merchandise, souvenirs, memorabilia, keepsakes, tourists, travel, restaurants, visitors, hotels, increasing spending, approximately $680 millions of business (we do not know the reality). But in the context of this topic, it is important to review some of the unorthodox actions that were taken along the way; and Meghan and Harry might just be the reason of the FINAL fall of the monarchy in England. We shall see.
TOP 22 ROYAL RULES & TRADITIONS BROKEN:
Meghan’s age - biggest problem, as she was 3 years older to Harry.
Most talked about Meghan’s prior marriage and a divorcee (a big no-no!).
Meghan’s family, most unusual of all. Her mother, Doria Ragland, is an African American and father, Thomas Markle, is of Dutch and Irish descent, were divorced when Meghan was 6.
Meghan broke all the royal style rules. Shockingly un-royal display of cross body bag over a clutch, although comfortable and practical, violating an unspoken royal policy of wearing “pantyhose” in public, a practice that’s been long been upheld by the Queen and all ruling ladies that came before.
A divorcee having church wedding, marrying a royal family member is not an accepted tradition. Princess Margaret broke off her relationship with Peter Townsend as he was divorced, because of the battle between government and public and she put duty over herself. Apparently, Edward VIII abdicated from the throne in order to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson.
Royals don’t get political. And Meghan violated that rule too. Remember her love for #MeToo movement and how she talked about women empowerment.
An interfaith marriage was forbidden until an amendment was made in 2015, to allow British Royals to allow interfaith marriage. Reportedly, her father is Jewish; and she studied in all-girls Catholic high school in Los Angeles. But she was not Anglican. Hence, she was baptized in Church of England, before the wedding.
An shockingly open pre-wedding discussion about their private life with Harry, with Vanity Fair magazine.
Apparently, British Royals considers May weddings unlucky, an observation that started in Queen Victoria era. Well, that was broken too...
Meghan spent Christmas with the prince and the Royals, before marriage, yes you got the drill – this never happened before.
Wedding on weekend is not a tradition for the Royals. Of course, there is deeper meaning to it. Weekday royal weddings are granted a national holiday! But Meghan and Harry’s Saturday May 19th wedding does not qualify a national holiday, as it is not a day off work for British Citizens.
From showing public displays of affection (i.e. PDA) for each other in many occasions including at the big day.
She had no maid of honour (apparently, she did not want to chose one friend over another..UH HMM).
Prince Harry did not shave on his big day for the royal wedding.
Meghan’s striking solo bridal procession was just icing on the cake. Long-established scene of father giving her daughter away...was not seen here! She was giving herself away, and she didn’t need anyone else! Ahem!). Talk about tradition!
Harry was anxiously waiting for Meghan to arrive, at the church. And he watched her walk all the way down the aisle…in a very American style…not a British wedding style, where he should not have looked at her until she is beside him.
Harry opting to wear a wedding band is totally progressive for a Royal...definitely a modern step for monarchy. His ring is even textured platinum not the classic Welsh gold ones - just for the kick.
She broke all the royal rules by delivering a speech in her wedding, generally given by bride’s father, groom and groom’s father. Well, we knew there was no space for tradition here.
Opting for a lemon elderflower wedding cake over the royal fruitcake, the choice of upper class among aristocratic British families for generation symbolizing symbol of wealth, does not quite make the cut to the royalty.
An American bishop gave the wedding sermon, a first American bishop to do so at the royal wedding in England.
Ancestral music was ditched, over Cello.
Their guests broke rules too. For example, David Beckham, the bad boy was seen chewing gum in church. Go figure.
Thankfully, Meghan and Harry chose to honor a number of royal wedding tradition though; such as making an official engagement announcement, wearing a tiara on her big day, and the Welsh gold wedding ring that she wore. And the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex was born.
CONNECTING THE DOTS...
It is advisable to adapt with the change and time - perfectly makes sense. However, when culture, traditions and history is disrespected and uprooted, in order to implement some special will, we do see the negative impacts of that.
1. Correlation between Thoughts and Actions: Meghan’s background was completely unusual for a Royals, in all standard sense. It is Harry's personal choice, of course. However, it is clear that Prince Harry's perhaps bitter attitude toward Royal Family, since the Princess Diana days, probably stuck with him. Some may think Harry is forward-thinking and open. His actions spoke louder than any words he ever said.
2. Not Influenced by Others Opinion: As I mentioned before, marriage is a private matter. But this was no ordinary private marriage - it was more than a celebrity wedding of a small town. The eyes of the world was on it. As a Royal, they had certain expectations (in my opinion, they should have thought of it)...but it is not my place to advice. And Harry did not fulfill those expectations (Perhaps, it is an indication that, he/they will not fulfill any royal duties either in the future - ONLY time can tell). I must say, I have no comment on their choices, but what I admired is, they did not let "others opinion" influence their choices, despite how damaging those decision were to the Royal family's traditions.
3. Standing Strong For Own Choice: And here is the real truth. NONE OF IT WOULD HAVE EVER HAPPENED if Prince Harry were not fully supportive of Meghan's choices breaking traditions and cultural norms. Pay attention to how Harry did not care much about the Royal Norms. He was 100% willing to break all of them for his own satisfaction & satisfaction of Meghan. Intense pressure could have caused Harry to cancel the engagement or withdraw the wedding. Harry once even pleaded to press and trolls on social media to stop the “wave of abuse and harassments” that has been directed to his then-fiancé’, protecting his soon to be princess. Expectations on "Prince by birth" was smashed by the Prince himself. Whether his actions were right or wrong for the Royal family, I cannot say. However, from an ordinary person's lens, it could be different. But Harry was not born ordinary. (That's where I draw the line).
4. Embracing Change: From the corporate sense, Change Management has become a key discipline for organizational transformation these days. How do we incorporate realities of new age, technological advancements, the rise of media bias and modernity of intelligence without disrespecting the traditions? It is a challenge itself. Similarly, how to implement or adapt social change without being disrespectful towards the tradition and History of a nation? However, based on Prince Harry's action, one can conclude that perhaps he was not interested nor up for his royal expectation or job. Perhaps he/they will just keep the title, but not do the job? Future will tell how it will all turn out.
Royal wedding of Harry and Meghan was one such historical event that may have shattered path for many cultural and social changes that will influence expectations and societal norms. It is possible, Meghan & Harry are the final straw that may bring down the entire monarchy. We shall see! The cause of the END of it. British were no friends of India nor U.S. But, I do admire Queen Elizabeth - she did hold on to the throne for eons, and kept the monarchy hanging on a thin string. Once ruled the most of the world, it will be a shame for British Royal to be reduced to negligible pieces. I do think, born in royalty is more than a title, it has responsibilities and duties. And Harry and Meghan probably do not wish to play any role in Royal family - other than claiming the titles? Never the less, I wish the newly-weds and British Royal family the best. As we reflect, at least we can all learn a lesson or two of what to do, what NOT to do!
Until next time...