The Why of the Wedding

Article by Steven Wooley ’11

Once upon a time, there lived a handsome prince who fell in love with a beautiful commoner.  He proposed to her and the two got married. Millions of people lined the couple’s way to the church, or watched from their homes. Sounds like a Disney movie, right? Well actually this is the story of Prince William and the former Kate Middleton.

Image of Royal Wedding AccessoriesRoyal Wedding Accessories

Instead of another fluff piece about why Kate would make a great Queen, or how Will feels not having his mother at his wedding, or what Prince Harry plans to do now that he is the single most eligible prince, I’ve decided to take a look at WHY people care about the Royal wedding, even though it really doesn’t affect them. Stuart Hall senior Redmond Lyons put it best, “I guess it makes sense, it is a special occasion and people get excited about things that don’t happen everyday.”

I suppose this is true. It isn’t everyday that a future king gets married, and to a commoner nonetheless. But, to play the Devil’s advocate the British monarchy simply as figureheads. Luring tourists to attractions that historically were important. AH HA! BINGO! We’ve hit the nail on the head. The royal family alone, brings in crazy amounts of revenue for the UK; in 2010, 413,000 tourists visited Buckingham Palace at £33 a pop (that’s a lot of tea and crumpets). On a less cynical note, they provide a sense of connection and identity, and anyone connected with them is enjoying the excitement. Convent alumna Jocelyn Friday summed it up perfectly: “The town is going absolutely crazy. Most of [St. Andrews University] and the town view the couple as theirs, as if they have some sort of responsibility”. Jocelyn, who was a member of the class of 2009, attends University of St. Andrews. The same university that William and Kate attended and where they fell in love.

So that’s the UK, but why are we Yankees freaking out? Perhaps we still love our “mother” England and want to feel connected, or maybe it’s the that fact we have a sick craving for what is occurring in everyone’s life 24/7 (thanks Facebook/ Twitter/ TMZ). No, I don’t think it’s any of those things. I think it’s really because the closest thing the United States has to a royal family is the Kennedy’s. A country based on immigrants without a common culture needs a rally point. Without our own permanent figures, America has to import them from across the pond. Now you might say that this is a huge overstatement and that not enough people cared about the wedding. However, whether you love them or hate them, all the talk will be about in the final days of April was about the Royal Wedding.

April 29, 2011 was a once in a lifetime experience. The fairytale that began with two college students came true, as a commoner became a royal. Millions of people tuned in to watch this event and in that moment, as Kate walked down the aisle, they were connected in a way like never before.