Prince Harry’s engagement peaks the American obsession with the Royal family

Claire Campbell, Business Manager

With the engagement of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle, the Royal family and the upcoming wedding has been a popular topic of discussion. “What is the date going to be?”, “Who is going to be in the bridal party?”. There have been articles in major news sources discussing these questions and more daily since the engagement. With so much else going on in the world, why are so many people interested in this one marriage?

An estimated 2 billion people watched the last royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, 23 million of whom were Americans, who likely set an alarm to watch the 6 a.m. EST event.

Knowing little about the royal wedding until recently, the intrigue and interest in the event is beginning to be understood. Totalling nearly $34 million to put on this spectacle, it is almost hard to imagine what the wedding does not include. Some of the traditions are shockingly extravagant.

Leading up to the big day, there are “Stag and Hen” parties, which could be described as an exponentially more exuberant and secretive bachelor and bachelorette parties. The necessary attire ensures that not just anyone can show up to the event, requiring men in military uniforms or morning dress and women to be donned with a tastefully overboard hat. The event itself has historically been held at the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace, but the crowd has outgrown this venue, and Prince William elected to marry in Westminster Abbey.

The lavish material items associated with the wedding contributes to the American obsession with the royal family. Nearly a quarter of the U.S. population said they grieved over Princess Diana’s tragic death as if a personal friend had died. So many people had begun to identify with her, looking to her as a symbol of motherhood, a dominant woman in the world stage.

While the royal family has limited power over Britain in this day and age, the impact they hold over the world as a whole is significant. More than governing the Church of England and promoting peace with other nations, the royal family provides something for people to talk about, get passionate about, and almost live vicariously through; so lacking a specific reason as to why all the excitement is occurring seems acceptable. The motives need not be known in order to appreciate the history and traditions of the royal family, which is something so different than the U.S. has ever known.