Will and Kate’s Saucy Song Selection

I watched the Royal wedding last month with family and friends. I figured that, like hockey, this spectacle would be best enjoyed with people who are gung-ho about it, especially as I was less so.

Despite my cynicism about the whole thing, I was impressed with how Will and Kate (now with new and appropriately pompous titles Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or at least, William and Katherine) found their own quiet and subtle ways to make the ceremony their own without denying the royal family, and the public, the grand and traditional ceremony everyone wanted to see.

It turns out that their selection of music was as cheeky as their surprise exit in a convertible. As vahana from the Daily Kos points out in this article, the couple’s decision to include Paul Mealor’s motet “Ubi Caritas et Amor” was quite a subversive one.

As soon as I heard it I knew I had to find the mp3. It is an incredible, haunting piece and it stood out from the other performances of traditional church hymns.

Here it is from the ceremony with the original Latin and the English translation (thanks to ladymmaccin) below:

Ubi caritas et amour / Deus ibi est 
Where charity and love are /
God is there
Congregavit nos in Christi amor / Exultimus et in ipso iucundemur /
Christ’s love has gathered us into one / Let us rejoice and be pleased in Him

Exultimus / Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum
Let us rejoice /  Let us fear and let us love the living God
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero
And may we love each other with a sincere heart

Ubi caritas et amour / Deus ibi est
Where charity and love are / God is there

Congregavit nos in Christi amor
Christ’s love has gathered us into one
Deus ibi est / Ubi caritas et amour
God is there / Where charity and love are

Beautiful as it is, this is not the version of the song that Will and Kate first heard. The piece that the couple fell in love with at JAM Scottish Tour at St. Andrews University in fall 2010 was entitled “Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal,” the lyrics of which are from a wonderfully passionate poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font;
The firefly wakens, waken thou with me.

Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.

Now lies the Earth all Danae to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.

Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts, in me.

Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake.
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.

To think that these young royal lovers more or less found a way to slip a beautiful, erotic, sexy, secular and personally meaningful song into their carefully choreographed ceremony, right under the Queen’s nose, fills me with glee. To use a Britishism, I am ‘right chuffed.’

As vahana puts it, “Prince William and his bride have displayed uncommon skill at manipulating the expectations placed upon them to create the life they want.”  What an excellent and enviable skill to have.

Kudos to the happy couple for doing things their way even under immense pressure.


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