There I was flumped on the sofa, having just returned to Wuhan after a summer spent backpacking around southeast Asia. I was trying to rouse myself to go over lesson plans for next semester’s teaching courses. This was before cats. Naturally.The phone in the shared corridor began ringing. It was one of the other British volunteers. Not bothering to ask how the break had been, she jumped straight in: asking if I had heard about Diana and how she had died. I hadn’t. The next moment I was dashing up the stairs to my project partner’s flat to share the news. Emma and I tried our best to tune into the BBC World Service. Finally, we heard it for ourselves. In Hubei’s provincial capital, the small shops outside the university’s main campus gates were soon selling posters of the car crash as well as English audio cassettes featuring speeches from the funeral. Emma and I didn’t have access to satellite television so we were unable to play the part of armchair voyeurs on the day that the Princess of Wales was buried. But we had learned through the trusty old Beeb that Buckingham Palace would be flying the Union Jack at half-mast as a mark of respect.Yet we would have to wait until a surprise Easter parcel arrived, full of Galaxy chocolate and a video tape of the service recorded from the telly. All courtesy of Emma’s lovely grandparents. That we could hardly wait to settle down with our treats to turn on, tune in and drop out may say more about the lack of English programme transmissions on Chinese television at the time. Rather than a macabre fascination with dead royals. The marriage between Charles and Diana was a different affair. As a young child, my friends and I found the whole prospect of a Royal Wedding highly exciting. Not least because of the carnival-like festivity that descended upon the whole country. There were street parties and everything. Fast-forward to today, to the next generation and things have changed once more.This weekend’s Royal Wedding represents every multiculturalist’s dream. Not least because it allows The Firm to bathe itself in modernity’s afterglow. Which, of course, begs the question as to where this evolutionary journey might end. The death knell of heredity privilege, hopefullyTwenty or thirty years ago, it would have been inconceivable that a bi-racial commoner would be welcomed into The Firm. Even less so one with a black mother; however elegantly poised. Thus this weekend’s wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle represents every multiculturalist’s dream. Not least because it allows the Royal Family to bathe itself in modernity’s afterglow. This, we are told, is progress. Which, of course, begs the question as to where this evolutionary journey might end. The death knell of heredity privilege at its damnedest, hopefully. This may be no bad thing. For no one should be fooled. A slight flourish of ethnic diverstiy’s wand of magical realism is not the same as doing away with constitutional monarchy; that most undemocratic of forces. For under this system, the Queen — and all those who came before her and who will follow — is anything but a so-called “irrelevant monarch”. For the Crown has the authority to send British troops into warfare without the backing of the peoples’ elected representatives. Just as it enjoys the power to refuse to appoint a Prime Minister or to dissolve Parliament.My mother and much of her generation used to say that the Royal Family is what makes Britain, well, Britain. Viewed not dissimilarly perhaps to an outdated yet comfy piece of furniture. Rather like a favourite sofa that a certain pair of feline furpots choose to file their nails on; day in, day out. Yet she and her peers grew up against the backdrop of a World War; meaning they learned to view the monarchy as unifying force for stability. And then came the line about how The Firm pays for itself in terms of the tourism it attracts. Which is a fairly poor indictment of royalty’s dividends. But then again, maybe not. After all, as long as the Crown rules, Britain will never successfully maintain egalitarianism’s pantomime charade. For there will always be the haves and have-mores. Nowhere has this been so clearly demonstrated as in the run-up to the big day. For those sleeping rough have been moved along from the entire area around Windsor castle. Not only that, local police have temporarily ‘confiscated’ all possessions, including bedding and books; to be returned sometime next week. All in the name of an anti-terror lockdown. But detractors suggest that the presence of ‘riff raff’ would spoil the view for guests. Thus the poor and under-privileged can just be swept away; with no room at the inn.A gesture far grander than inviting members of the public to be a part of the lavish proceedings might have been to spend money on the homeless. Indeed, there have been murmurings that the wedding itself should have been quietly postponed until all the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire have been rehoused. But this is Britain. Where pomp and circumstance are everything and everything counts in large amounts. It is the hardest currency of all.The writer is the Deputy Managing Editor, Daily Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets @humeiweiPublished in Daily Times, May 20th 2018.