Ok, I admit it. I’m kind of interested in this royal baby stuff.
I choose my words carefully there. Some people are enamored with the idea and going gaga. MR was reading me posts off his decidedly more British Facebook feed where people were crying RULE BRITANNIA in all caps. That’s not me. Several of my British friends are taking a far more republican slant and expressing their disgust at the hullabaloo over the birth of a baby. One is annoyed because she is on the verge of giving birth herself and is more focused on her own baby, yet everyone keeps texting her about the royal baby as if she cares.
I fall somewhere in between. I am absolutely not a monarchist, but I do find all this interesting. The birth of the prince is historic, because he’s not just another baby, important only to his parents. One day he will be the King of the United Kingdom, and the remnants of the empire as represented by Commonwealth. That’s rather a big deal. This is an event that has been celebrated for centuries, and the lack of a son has caused war and unrest throughout England, brought in new dynasties, and, arguably, paved the way for women as rulers in the Anglo world. It’s interesting.
I also feel a connection of sorts with Will and Kate. Prince William is around my age, which is something I’ve always found cool. I always looked for people who were my age in both life and fiction because it meant they were going through the same stages of life with me. And indeed, this is certainly true for the Duke and Duchess. They got married a year before me, and they’ve now had a baby just a few months before me. Except everyone cares a lot more about what happens to them.
I watched the royal wedding, but this is not surprising, considering how much time I spend watching Say Yes to the Dress and other shows in the TLC Friday wedding lineup. Even after my marriage last year, I still get drawn in by the snarkiness of the UK version of Four Weddings (and think how my wedding is better) and the fun of Don’t Tell the Bride (and think how my husband had much better taste). It follows naturally, then, that I should watch the royal wedding in all its panoply and fabulous dresses. Seriously–a knockoff of Kate’s dress was second choice for my own wedding dress.
My husband, as I mentioned, is virulently of a different tack. He posted about exactly how little he cares, and got rather ranty about it. Last night we were talking and he mentioned that he realized through all of this that he was definitely a republican. Not in the American sense of the GOP, but in the sense of res publica, a thing of the people, rather than a monarchist. This got me thinking. Perhaps I’m interested because I have the luxury of detached interest. Yes, this is a chapter in history, yes the idea of actual princes and princesses is like a living story book, but this is not my future king. I may live in the UK, but I’m still an American citizen. The idea of royalty is the stuff of legends, not reality–all of my government is directly elected by the people. This all sounds very high minded, and practice has shown that directly electing leaders does not necessarily guarantee better ones (*cough* Dubya *cough*). On the flip side, the hereditary House of Lords often makes wiser decisions than the crazy-ass Senate. In then end though, it means that I was raised very republican indeed, and I can’t imagine any other way of living.