America’s Obsession with the Royal Family

A few hundred years ago, Americans fought in a revolution to escape royal reigns. However, the country’s obsession with the British monarchy has still prevailed. Engrossed in the many weddings, controversies, and dramas, Americans watch the lives of royals unfold like a reality television show; the country has become fascinated by the monarchy. 

Americans are especially interested in the royal weddings, with many waking up at the crack of dawn to view them in recent years. The most recent wedding that sparked American interest was the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018; 29 million Americans tuned into the 15-channel airing of this wedding, according to CNBC. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding signified the move towards a more progressive monarchy, as Markle is a divorced American. In fact, this marriage would have been unprecedented for the royal family if it were not for Edward VIII’s abdication to marry the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. American media outlets also gave a front-row seat to almost twenty-three million Americans for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, according to CNN. 

Royal weddings such as these align with fairytale fascinations. Americans grow up watching movies with fairytale endings; royal weddings display these movies in real life. One such example was Prince William’s and Princess Kate’s ceremony, a mesmerizing royal wedding, as it was that of the future king and queen of England. Americans marvel at the idea of a commoner becoming part of the royal family.

Considering this, it comes as no surprise that Americans were also obsessed with Princess Diana. According to Newsweek, Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles in 1981 was watched by an estimated 17 million people in America. Her wedding also began her time as the most-photographed woman in the world. Diana embraced a more American way of living and abandoned many of the traditions of the British royal family, which appealed to American audiences. She also appealed to Americans through her ability to connect with people. When her fairytale came to a tragic end, her funeral in 1997 was watched by 33 million people. The fascination with Diana has seemed to grow stronger due to her tragic demise and the legacy she has left behind.

America’s obsession with the royal family has been further heightened by Netflix’s hit series The Crown. Based on the history of the British monarchy, The Crown has covered the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign to the 1990s story of Princess Diana. The show has dramatized the royal family, displaying a monarchy filled with romance, secrets, and scandals. The Crown focuses on the drama of the royal family, which Americans crave, enlarging the country’s obsession with the monarchy.

American citizens and media outlets have also recently become fixated on the drama of Harry and Meghan leaving the royal family. In their 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess openly discussed their struggles and decision to step back from royal life, adding to the tension surrounding the royal family. This drama has only grown since the release of the couple’s Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, and the Duke’s recent memoir, Spare. The docuseries racked up 81 million views globally within its first four days of release and brings viewers inside the life of Harry and Meghan as they tell their story. Spare tells the story of Prince Harry’s life from his point of view; Americans have since devoured this story due to their love for royal drama.

Despite the royal family’s large American fanbase, there are still many who do not share an interest in the monarchy. Sophomore Miranda Mangru tries to stay away from the buzz: “I rather spend my time doing things that will benefit me more than reading the latest gossip on the royal family.” Although she is not enamored with the royal family, Mangru sees how others are. “I think America more than any other country has become completely obsessed with the royal family. I do not see how focusing on the gossip surrounding the royal family benefits our society,” Mangru continued. Along with Mangru, junior Elizabeth Charpentier also stays away from royal news: “I feel like the royal family is outdated, and I have no interest in them.” Junior Isabella Martinez does not necessarily believe that the family is outdated but is also not interested in them. “I just do not feel inclined to keep up with all the royal gossip, but I do see how obsessive other people are [about them],” said Martinez.