most important event of the century had just been announced, which - if you're an ardent monarchist - it probably has. Prince William, son of the late and much idolised Princess Diana and second in line to the throne, is to marry his girlfriend Kate Middleton.
Normally I couldn't and wouldn't have cared less because people get married all the time, even incredibly rich ones; needless to say both Wills and Kate are millionaires. But media coverage has thus far been utterly fawning, with little or no room allowed for dissent. And it's not just online, either; every national newspaper - bar the Independent, which relegated the story to page 3 - features the beaming couple on the front page. Anti-monarchy group Republic have made the not-unreasonable demand that the Windsors meet the cost of the event rather than the taxpayer - who is hardly flush with cash at the moment anyway - but otherwise reaction has been consistently and sickeningly gushing. Expect more of the same right up until the big day.
At a time of economic austerity where the government demands that we must all work more whilst at the same time slashing welfare because the money is supposedly unavailable to finance it it's saddening to see that the prospect of the unimaginably wealthy offspring of an unelected head of state getting hitched at the public's expense stimulates very little debate beyond adulation. This wedding must not be allowed to descend into a vast PR exercise on behalf of the royals; instead it could provide a platform on which to question whether a medieval-style genetic lottery of the sort that decides who shall rule over us is really the best choice for a supposedly democratic 21st century nation.