The Royal Wedding: Why I Don't Care

Why I find the concept of royalty offensive

 

Apparently, there is going to be a royal wedding in Great Britain in a few days. I say apparently because, as the title of this hub indicates, I really could care less. I have not even bothered to look up the date of the wedding to see if it has happened yet. Of course, you could counter my supposed lack of interest by asking me why I am spending time addressing this topic. Since that is a valid point, I will take a little time to explain why anything related to royalty, nobility, or fancy traditional titles pisses me off.

 

My hostility toward all things monarchy is not entirely my fault. We Americans like to believe that we live in a land of opportunity, a place where all people, through hard work and/or ingenuity, can rise up in the world. People should be judged by achievement, not by the circumstances of their birth, titles handed out by others with titles, or their ability to marry into nobility. Hostility toward nobility, in fact, is built right into my country’s Constitution:

 

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” (Article 1, Section 9)

 

Damn right. In America, social class is not determined by family lineage or handed out by important personages. We have a more rational way of determining class: by the size of your checking account. If you are rich, then you are upper class. Bill Gates may be a computer nerd from a family of no previous consequence, but when you are worth tens of billions, we Americans respect that.

 

Of course, I recognize that the whole “land of opportunity” thing is a bit exaggerated. In the United States, like all nations, the primary determinant of one’s eventual social class is birth status. If your parents are rich, you will probably end up the same, and poor parents tend to have kids that wind up being poor. In addition, there are some Americans among families who have been rich for generations who look down on “new money” upstarts. Still, there has always been a certain amount of social mobility in the United States, and if “old money” families somehow lose their wealth, they have no fancy titles to fall back on. In European nations with an aristocratic tradition, a noble title cannot be lost. Even if some sort of duke or lord becomes poorer than most of those filthy “commoners,” he can take pride in his noble breeding.

 

My negative feelings toward royals, however, come from more than beliefs in social mobility and judging people on the basis of achievement. There may also be some historical baggage left over from my country’s former colonial status. When I grew up, after all, the King of England was not exactly portrayed to me in a positive light. Having been brought up with a firm belief in democracy, the whole concept of monarchy is a bit offensive. And the fact that British monarchs no longer have any real power does not completely snuff out my historical and political grudge.

 

I also admit that I have a general hostility toward rich people, a feeling that is particularly intense when it comes to those born into wealth. I find it impossible to feel any empathy for these people brought up in some sort of a bubble world, and their petty problems seem miniscule in a world filled with rampant poverty, violence, and social injustice. So I apologize if I do not break out into tears when some rich person or royal personage has a screwed up personal life. Yes, I understand that the rich and famous have problems that I cannot relate to, but they also have opportunities that few can imagine. But as mentioned earlier, I feel less resentment for those who worked their way up. Still, the super rich have a tendency to piss me off, partly, I hate to admit, out of jealousy and partly because these people can be just as wasteful as those who inherited wealth. And over time, they inevitably become out of touch with the “commoners” who have real problems.

 

There are many Americans, however, who do not share my attitudes toward royal families. I recently heard on the radio that Americans are more interested in this royal wedding than people in Britain. Now while I cannot conform if this is true, there is no doubt that many Americans are fascinated with royalty, especially British royalty. Because we lack any sort of traditional aristocracy, Americans go seeking it elsewhere. After growing up with so many Disney movies depicting princesses who live happily ever after, it is understandable why so many Americans may live vicariously through others who seem to live out this fantasy. There may also still be a bit of an inferiority complex in the United States. British history and traditions seem so much richer than ours, and we are still, in a sense, Britain’s little brother. Or, to use another analogy, the United States is the upstart rich “commoner” whose power and wealth is not enough to gain Britain’s noble status. To Americans, a smooth talking British person will always be more noble, sophisticated, and intelligent than a well-spoken American. In the United States, that British accent always makes a person sound smart.

 

So in this young, evolving, cultural melting pot in which I live, we have ambivalent feelings toward those monarchs who once (sort of) ruled us. Many are enthralled by the tradition and the fantasy, while others are repulsed by these ultimate symbols of injustice and waste. And so a society that celebrates individual achievement and democracy is filled with citizens that care about the day-to-day lives of people who symbolize everything that our country is not supposed to be about. Of course, Americans also have the habit of obsessing over the daily lives of all rich and famous people: actors, musicians, sports figures, TV personalities, etc. So maybe this is just one more way to live vicariously through others and find a little excitement in our ordinary lives. Personally, I will do my best to focus on what I have and enjoy the little things that are more valuable than fame, status, and luxurious, unnecessary crap. And if that doesn’t work, I can always continue the long tradition of making fun of monarchs and anyone who still believes that they matter.

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Comments 14 comments

Apostle Jack profile image

Apostle Jack 5 years ago from Atlanta Ga

I think it is much to do about nothing.Married today,and divorce tomorrow .The money and the glory is more than the love and unity of the matter.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again

I like that you address your presuppositions and go into why you hold those positions. I don't care about the wedding mainly because the personal affairs of impotent foreign royalty seems boring and uninteresting to me.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Just look at the history of the countries and regions, where they abolished their monarchies.

In not one single instance did it make the people better off.

France led to Napoleon and six million dead in Napoleonic wars.

Germany led to Hitler.

Russia led to Stalin.

China led to Mao Tse Tung.

Vietnam led to Ho Chi Minh, and boatpeople.

Cambodia led to Pol Pot.

Iraq led to Sadamm Hussein.

Libya led to Gaddaffi.

Syria led to Bashir Assad.

Roumania, Bulgaria, Austria Hungary, led to Stalin, and Hitler.

Italy led to 60 years of political instability and Berlusconi.

Spain led to civil war and Franco.

Portugal led to Salazar dictatorship.

United States of America led to thirty years delay in freeing slaves, civil war, and legislative discrimination against black people until nineteen sixties. Not to forget the native americans

The list is almost endless.

Forget your politics of envy, and admit that constitutional monarchy is the best system that there has ever been for ruling a state.

By the way, if you, or any other american, ever want to return to your correct allegiance, you are welcome, but dont bring your politicians.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 5 years ago from back in the lab again

"but dont bring your politicians."

Trust me most people in America hate our politicians, hell we're so cynical we often hate the politicians in the same party we are a member of.


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 5 years ago Author

Christopher, I can never tell when you are joking or being serious, which is not entirely a bad thing. Please recognize that this is not a topic that I take very seriously.

I don't distinguish between dictators and monarchs, and those places were hardly paradises when they still had monarchs with actual power. The problem is that countries have a tendency to drift back toward what they are used to. Their primary problem was not a lack of monarchy.

The term constitutional monarchy is a legal fiction in a place like Great Britain. There was a time when monarchs had actual authority. Now the position is purely ceremonial. I find it hard to believe that Great Britain would suffer politically if the monarchy were to disappear. Of course, the tabloids might have to look for some more material.

And while I have no personal animosity toward Britain, it is important to point out that many of Britain's former colonies feel a bit of animosity, for good reason, toward their former overlords. They may question the benevolence of constitutional monarchy. It's also important to note that American colonists were killing Indians and enslaving Africans for decades under British rule.

I don't blame you for wanting to keep away American politicians. From what I understand, however, yours are no better. But since we have plenty of politicians to make fun of over here in the United States, you guys can have your royal family.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Fair enough.

Each to his own.

And you are right about the politicians. They are nearly all pretty hopeless.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

I am so happy someone else said it. I was afraid that I was the only person left in the world that really didn't give a darn about that stupid Royal Wedding. I just don't get the appeal. I guess to me it is like watching the Grammys or something. I don't care about those either.

If I wasn't already following you, I would have to say, this article would have made me follow you. This has been very well written.

Funny that you wrote this, my husband and I were talking the other day about opportunities. It seems those that come from well off have it easier to become well off. I was wondering what ever happened to all the hard work to become successful. And if someone is willing to hand it to you, why bother. Yet, my husband and I continue to struggle.

Anyway - well done - voted up!


jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Yes, I agree, what is so fascinating about two people I don't know getting married? I'm honestly not even that excited about most of the marriages of people I do know! Good hub, hilarious title, voted up!


nicolerkilpatrick profile image

nicolerkilpatrick 5 years ago

Married? most people got married are got break it.


nickupton profile image

nickupton 5 years ago from Bangkok

A nice, well-written piece. However, I do like the fact that our elected leader in UK is not the top dog; I like it that they have to go and ask the Queen if they can form a government. I agree, there is no real power but I just think it reminds elected leaders that they are not god. I am so glad that we did not have a president Blair!

Whilst many monarchs have been dreadful, take some time to examine the benevolence of the King of Thailand; he has held the country together a number of times in the face of extreme political problems.

I am not really saying that one system is better than another, just that that people should be open minded and realize that there is more than one way to do something. I think much of the world is getting tired of other countries telling them what their political system should be like.

On the other hand, yes, Royal wedding, who cares? Well it did give London an economic boost at a much needed time and make for some pretty photos.


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 5 years ago Author

Benevolent monarchy might actually be the best form of government. A wise king does not have to worry about doing what is popular. He can actually do what he thinks is right. The problem is that you can get stuck with a lousy one for decades.

This was actually an attempt to make sense out of my lack of interest. As an American, antipathy toward monarchy is built into me.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

I very much enjoyed this piece!

I also believe in Roosevelt's inheritance tax, for many reasons. You did very well in explaining that.

I think your students are lucky to have you as a teacher. All the best!


Casey Clark 5 years ago

I agree that nobility doesent mean you have accomplished anything in your life. However, when you look at how these particular two have decided to live their lives and the stuff the prince has accomplished like deciding to go to war and fly millitary helicopters instead of becoming a lawyer and getting drunk all day laughing about how they made easy money deserves some respect in my book. Before we talk smack about the the life the prince was born into and had no chance to live otherwise, let us see how he lives the life he got. Us Americans may hate nobility but many of us dont hate the children of politicians where the same argument could be made.


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 5 years ago Author

I don't have anything against these two people personally. In fact, I don't know much of anything about them. I was actually just trying to make sense out of my own lack of interest and slight feeling of irritation regarding everything involving the royal family and royalty in general. In a lot of ways, I don't envy the prince. He has to live up to some very high expectations.

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