In news that just made high school English teachers very happy, this morning's royal wedding between Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank featured a reading of an excerpt from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. It's an interesting choice for a decidedly British wedding, considering the book itself is aggressively American and about the decay of American prosperity and glamour in the 1920s. So, not exactly the stuff of everlasting love, but has its own royal meaning since the bride read the book not long after she met her future husband, according to a note handed out at the ceremony.
Here is the excerpt, which was read by Eugenie's sister Princess Beatrice:
“He smiled understandingly — much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced — or seemed to face — the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. Precisely at that point it vanished — and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd. Some time before he introduced himself I’d got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care.”
This was somewhat a deviation compared to royal weddings past. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stuck to religious readings for their ceremony, as did Prince William and Kate Middleton. However, this seems to be a week of digging up old literature. On Thursday, a 2015 Leonard Cohen poem was published titled "Kanye West Is Not Picasso." Can't wait to see which royal wedding reads that.
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