I think it is safe to say the frenzy for the Royal Wedding between Prince William & Kate Middleton on April 29th, 2011, has crossed the ocean and firmly planted itself in American soil.
In Chicago, the Four Seasons is offering a package deal titled “Afternoon of Royal-Tea” complete with Pimms cups and coverage of the nuptials. Bath & Body Works has an entire collection devoted to the affair with pocket sized lip glosses, hand sanitizers, and odorous lotions for you to to slip into your wedding party favor bags – and with names like “If the Tiara Fits” who can resist?
Americans have gone so ga-ga for the event that BBC America has an entire show devoted to it, aptly titled “Royally Mad,” because it is madness, isn’t it?
The Brits’ obsession with their royal family is well-documented and goes back well before I was born. If you think the weekly glossy covers that showcase the celebrity lifestyle in the United States are obnoxious, you have yet to see the miles of magazine covers at UK checkout stands devoted to all things royal…affairs, fashion, love lives, personal decisions, and more. When Princess Diana died – after a paparazzi chase in Paris no less – her funeral drew an estimated 3 million mourners; impressive when you consider that this is almost half the population of London. Current estimates indicate that two billion viewers will tune in to watch the wedding this April, even with time differences and work schedules. In contrast, only 42.8 million households watched the 2011 State of the Union address by President Obama, and approximately one billion viewers caught the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. There are even stamps commemorating the event!
That said, it is easy to see the appeal. Being a royal subject - something that even the wealthiest can’t buy into – is arguably the most elite club there is, and with crowns, titles, and castles it comes with the best accessories. While many believe the President of the United States is the most powerful man in the world, when his wife and First Lady Michelle Obama touched the Queen during a state visit in 2009, the world recoiled. After all, royal etiquette dictates that the Queen not be touched unless she reaches out first. Powerful. And what little girl doesn’t dream, at least once, that she is swept off her feet by a handsome Prince Charming to live a life of love and luxury? I’d argue that Disney has built an entire empire on that fantasy alone.
But, as cynical as I may sound, I too have a soft spot for the royal wedding. When I was a little girl I lived in England and my mother and her best friend, mystified by the royal obsession, decided to take the train to London in July of 1986 to see what the fuss was about; specifically for the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.
It was that evening that my Mother, fresh from California, declared that it was one of the most exciting days of her life. She loved the fanfare, the cheers, the royal procession. She said that when Princess Fergie turned and waved in her direction she felt like the most special lady in the world, if only for a moment. She even snapped this photo that her daughter is now sharing on the world wide web 20-something years later.
This, perhaps, is the magic of it all. For just a moment you can close your eyes and imagine the crown in your hair, the adoring fans, and the afternoon crumpets. If only for a moment.
Daisy is a lawyer married to a lawyer (insert lawyer jokes here) living in a small condo in a big city with a new baby and beagle. She breaks up the legal-speak by blogging about life in Chicago, which is filled with escapades of urban living. In the summer she enjoys patio dining and in the winter wonders what she was thinking when she moved here. You can read more from Daisy on her blog, Just Daisy.