The Majorcan women in my local town are very concerned that Prince William chose to give his future bride the 18-carat sapphire engagement ring that belonged to his mother, the late Diana Princess of Wales.
They all loved Princess Diana but they worry about her ring. Their view is that it will bring “Waity Katie”-a moniker that has stuck fast over here- no luck. The women deemed it acceptable for the prince to have offered the ring to Kate Middleton as a gift to be worn at special occasions, but not for life. Their superstition is of course rooted in the sad circumstances of William’s mother’s demise, a tragedy that the Spanish felt almost as acutely as the British.
Somewhat begrudgingly the Spanish have come to accept Camilla Parker Bowles as the new woman in the life of Prince Charles and by all reports, the couple’s recent visit to Spain was quite a success. But the problem is that the Spanish people regarded Diana as an icon, a fairytale princess with real emotions, humour and warmth, something they would never normally associate with our Royal family. Her death disturbed them deeply and the nation subsequently felt a protectiveness towards her sons and a distrust of the father. Now they fret that the ring belonging to the unhappy Princess Diana is imbued with sadness, an object to be handled with suspicion and fear.
Superstitions abound in many countries and Spain is no different. The old lady at the end of my lane once told me that if a broom accidentally touched the feet of an unmarried man or woman while being used for sweeping, that person would remain single. Another Spanish friend explained that Tuesday the 13th is considered unlucky. The saying is, “Martes 13: ni te cases, ni te embarques.” In other words no one should marry or go travelling on Tuesday the 13th. Thankfully William and his bride seem to have avoided that one. However, at the wedding breakfast they might choose to heed the Spanish superstition about making a toast. Apparently it is essential to look each person in the eye when raising a glass or otherwise bad luck will follow.
On the day of the wedding William might balk at the idea of giving Katie thirteen coins to carry throughout the ceremony but this rather old fashioned religious custom used to occur in Spain. The coins were supposed to represent Christ and the twelve apostles and were proof of the groom’s commitment to his future wife.
The good news is that any misgivings the Spanish might have about the engagement ring will be brushed aside when William and Katie’s first child is born. A famous dicho is “El nuevo bebe trae la torta bajo el brazo” which translates as “a new baby carries a pie under its arm”. The expression may seem bizarre but it means that a new baby brings good luck. A maxim that for many Spanish will ring true
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