INTERESTED IN THE ROYAL WEDDING?
Last week, a co-worker surprised me when she said she couldn’t understand the flood of media coverage leading up to today’s marriage of the U.K.’s Prince William to Kate Middleton.
For someone who is as opinionated and outspoken as I am, her statement stunned me into a decidedly uncharacteristic, if temporary, silence. To me, the idea of someone not being excited at the prospect of a royal wedding is just bizarre, and, at first, I didn’t know how to respond.
When I looked into the matter, however, I discovered I was in the minority on the issue. According to an April 22 CBS News/New York Times poll, only 6 percent of Americans said they were following the wedding “very closely.” The vast majority (72 percent) were only slightly interested or didn’t care.
Maybe the lack of enthusiasm is a result of sour grapes. No American celebrities or dignitaries, including President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, are on the wedding guest list, which includes representatives from seemingly everywhere else, including Kuwait, Yugoslavia and Swaziland. Perhaps America just feels snubbed.
Or maybe we consider the British monarchy of no interest, but I doubt it, given America’s cultlike obsession with celebrities of all stripes.
Some might even say it’s un-American to be interested in the British monarchy — about 70 percent of recent poll respondents said a U.S. monarchy was a bad idea — but I would argue that obsessing over famous people is practically an American civic responsibility.
Even though the House of Windsor is just a figurehead of the British government, the royals are certainly worthy of at least the same level of attention as Lindsay Lohan’s court dates or infighting between the faux-lebrities of “Jersey Shore.” If National Enquirer and Star can run dozens of stories about Snooki’s love interests, is it that much of a stretch to spotlight people with more legitimate significance?
Besides, and I say this in complete assurance of my masculinity, Middleton is about to become a for-real princess. That’s the stuff fairy tales and Audrey Hepburn movies are made of.
Maybe I’m just a closet romantic, or maybe that’s just my lifelong love of “The Princess Bride” talking. Regardless, royal weddings are far more rare than solar eclipses, and I think that alone makes them worth celebrating.
The only royal union in my lifetime was when Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson in 1986. That didn’t exactly end well, and I was only a year old at the time, so today is essentially my first exposure to royal nuptials.
And after months of being inundated with dour economic reports and stories about war and uprisings in the Middle East, it’s hard not to want to wrap an uplifting story in a grateful bear hug. I’m ready to be happy about something again.
Even if Prince William’s marriage fails to live up the “fairy tale” label slapped on his parents’ ultimately troubled relationship, it still represents a glimmer of hope at a fairly dour time. I, for one, will be watching and wishing them well.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...