Today is the big day! If you’ve been following the wedding, you’ve no doubt heard of at least one or two odd souvenirs being sold and the numerous ways people are showing their enthusiasm for the happy couple on their impending nuptials. Many well wishers have made their way to London to camp outside Westminster Abbey and ensure a great view of the wedding events while others are participating in royal wedding fever by placing bets on everything from the colour of her wedding dress (11/4 on white) to whether or not Prince Phillip will be caught on camera sleeping during the ceremony (8/1 he will). The betting will go on after Prince William and Catherine, as she will have to be called after tomorrow, are married since bets on when their first child is born, the child’s sex, the child’s name, if the child will be on the cover of Vogue before his/her 18th birthday, and cynically, how long their marriage will last are already being placed.
One popular bet, and popular topic of media speculation, is where the newlyweds will honeymoon. Paddy Power had 32 separate bets open including Australia (11/4), Wales (18/1), Saint Lucia (33/1), and Ibiza (100/1). There is one honeymoon they don’t have odds on though – Cambodia, where the young prince could sell his unsuspecting new bride to a brothel owner for $300 and leave her there to work, which is exactly what happened to Neary, a young newlywed herself, and happens to many married women all around the world.
Not all women are as fortunate as the Catherine, who found her prince charming (literally) and decided to enter into wedlock after a long and mutually loving courtship. Many women around the world are victims of human trafficking and forced to marry and others marry a husband who turns them into a victim of trafficking, like Neary. In 2009, more than 263 Myanmar women were trafficked into forced marriages in the Yunnan province of China alone. In 2007, Lina, a 21-year old Colombian woman, used the website “Colombian Sweethearts” (the 21st century equivalent to mail-order brides) in hopes of improving her family’s life by finding an American husband. During the first few months after the wedding her ‘husband’ often abused her and when she worked, she was forced to give him her pay check until one day he sat her down in front of “Colombian Sweethearts” and told her to find him a new “wife”. That night she ran away. It wasn’t until later Lina found out her marriage wasn’t real and she was only in the US on a 90-day fiancé visa and not a spousal visa.
Last week the news reported about a poll that found 9 out of 10 women don’t think Kate’s one of the luckiest women in the world. I’m in the 1% that does, but not for the same reasons most women stated – the money and the prince. At 11am (5/4 odds she’s there on time) Kate Middleton gets to marry by choice, not by force, and after an afternoon and evening of celebration, she will go on a honeymoon which she’s sure to return from. I think that does make her one of the luckiest women in the world.