Americans finally threw out our pushy British cousins with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. We had to remind them they were unwelcome once again from Baltimore to New Orleans during the War of 1812. Even during the Civil War, Brits were as annoying as the last guests at a party.
Now thanks to tabloid magazines and just as tabloid TV, we are bringing them right back in all their glory, though I bet they leave the tea tax behind his time. Us Weekly screams: “The Secret Proposal: Royal Wedding Is On!” People is similarly exclamation-point obsessed: “The Next Princess!” Star magazine outdoes them all with “William & Kate’s $40 Million WEDDING of the CENTURY!”
The Internet is already filling up with memorabilia devoted to ruler Britannia. There’s a “HRH Prince William Kate Middleton Engagement” commemorative mug on eBay, as well as a “Prince William and Kate Middleton Engagement Mouse Pad,” and an “ENGAGEMENT T SHIRT.” Then there’s the “Kate Middleton Engagement Ring Sapphire Replica.” That last was probably once called the “Chuck and Di Engagement Ring Saphire” and wasn’t especially lucky for her beloved owner. (Chuck and Di always sounded to me like something you wanted to do after a particularly painful bender, but I digress.)
Our obsession is nothing new. We’ve been stuck to the royals, and they to us, for centuries. We love them – whether it was the Bessie Wallis Warfield, twice divorced, who married Prince Edward, the man who gave up being king for her, or the original love story of Charles and Diana.
We love them for some kooky reason even we don’t grasp. America, the land without royalty (Kennedys, Clintons and Bushes notwithstanding), has tried creating its own out of thug athletes, idiot rockers and hypocritical actors. Now, though, we get the real thing – even if we have to go back to our roots to do it.
Admittedly some in our nation are agog while many others are merely perplexed. Most of us are Anglophiles and occasions like this call to mind everything we know about British royalty.
OK, that might not be much. Some rely on the written version of the Charles and Diana storybook romance that appeared in Tom Clancy’s “Patriot Games.” Others of us turn to the movie classics like John Goodman’s “King Ralph” to truly gain a measure of the glories of the upper class. (If you haven’t seen the movie, that was a joke. Of course, I enjoyed Goodman’s portrayal of a bowling everyman turned king, so maybe that joke’s on me.)
American men, especially, are confused by all the attention Kate and her hubby-to-be are going to get in the ensuing months. But American women are embracing their extensive fairytale princess fantasies. It’s one thing to dream of marrying a prince. But when it actually happens to someone … anyone, all womankind celebrates the event.
Speaking for the male side of that division, that means we too will care whether we like it or not. And, because it does appear that it is a storybook romance, we might mock, but we will enjoy the happy ending almost as much.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His writes frequently for the Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.