Royal Weddings

Prince William and Kate Middleton have finally gotten engaged. Truly, their engagement is about as astonishing as the most recent pop starlet dust up. After all, they’ve been dating since undergraduate. It’s not like anyone is surprised here, but you would think it was out of the blue the way the news media has been covering it. I think it’s newsworthy, but rushing commemorative plates into production already seems a bit much. Chill out.


3 thoughts on “Royal Weddings

  1. I’m glad they’re engaged and all but why, exactly, is this newsworthy, particularly for the American media consumer who has no vested interest in the British royal affairs? I’m not being snarky; I really want to know why this is dominating a news cycle.

    • Short answer is because they’re technically celebrities and celebrities are fair game on either side of the Atlantic.

      The long answer has roots in the vestiges of monarchial respect that still exists in the US. Americans still see themselves as tangentially tied to the fates of the royal family in Britain. After all, the basis for John Adams’s initial argument about colonial representation in Parliament in that the New England colonies were begun at the express pleasure of the King, meaning that the colonies were exempt from Parliamentary laws. (It’s more complicated; after all, what the American colonies were asking for in the late 1700s, (the right to vote for MPs/political representation) most people living in England didn’t have until 1832.) Two centuries later, we still have that loose connection, one bolstered by the post WWII view of the monarchy and then Diana. The US really embraced Diana as a special kind of celebrity. As hyperbolic as the idea of Diana being the “People’s Princess” happened to be, the phrase captures an idea of representation. We (Brits and Americans) felt like she belong to us at least symbolically, particularly as the stalwartness of Queen Elizabeth seemed less in tune with late twentieth century culture. Despite the utter ordinariness of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement (and kudos to them, the royal family, and their friends for allowing them to have as normal a relationship as possible), it’s newsworthy because of that continued link with the monarchy and because of Diana. It’s also at least a more positive story than whether or not Lindsay Lohen is out of prison yet.

      Politically, no one outside the royal family really has a vested interest in royal affairs, but royal weddings distract nicely from other problems, such as David Cameron’s austerity measures and student riots over tuition increases. The crown used Diana and Charles’s wedding in 1980 much the same way; it distracted from the series of troubles, strikes, riots, and other problems aptly called the Winter of Discontent. Put a pretty girl in a meringue dress and drive her to Westminster Abbey in a coach, and you’ve got a pretty effective distraction from other issues. And now I’m rambling a bit.

  2. Pingback: Observer Royal Wedding Tributes « To Be An Electric Telegraph

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