The royal family revealed its first same-sex wedding in a touching announcement.
Illustration by Tatiana Cardenas/Upworthy.

Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, is set to marry his partner James Coyle this summer.

It will be the first official same-sex marriage for the royal family and is joyfully being celebrated as a historic moment.

Ivar and James aren't planning a large wedding but instead are looking into a more intimate affair with about 100 family members and friends. But that's a reflection of their own desire for intimacy as opposed to any tension within the family or amongst friends.


“All my good friends have accepted James,” Mountbatten said. “I basically told everyone, ‘I’ve found somebody — it’s a bloke.’ They just started laughing. Then they met James and one particular mate said, ‘If I was gay, I’d certainly go for him.’”

Mountbatten first came out in 2016 and has three daughters from his previous marriage. His ex-wife Penny is planning to give him away at the ceremony, an idea that came from their daughters. “It makes me feel quite emotional," she said. "I’m really very touched."

The wedding is just the latest example of progress from the socially and civic-minded royals.

Millions around the world tuned in to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May. It was a beautiful display of blending cultures that was widely celebrated.

And now, the duke and duchess of Sussex are preparing for their first international trip, where they will visit Ireland, a nation with a complicated and turbulent history with England.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

While largely staying out of politics, Prince William and Prince Harry have dedicated much of their lives to public service.

Queen Elizabeth herself reportedly has maintained a progressive stand on marriage equality. Though she rarely comments on politics or national debates, the royal family did push back in 2016 when a rumor surfaced that she was personally opposed to England legalizing marriage equality.

The monarchy may be antiquated in some respects, but they still have significant influence.

The royal family is a powerful symbol of British culture. Celebrations like this are important milestones of inclusion that are fun and can have a positive effect throughout the world.

Seeing the announcement of their first same-sex marriage welcomed with open arms is exciting and reassuring. Weddings are a time to be happy and that's even more so when all are welcome.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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