Why Do I Have Royal Baby Fever?

I’ve got royal baby fever.

There, I said it.

I’ve been following the saga of Will and Kate since their engagement, caught up in the pomp and pageantry of their wedding, admiring her fashion sense, wondering who Prince Harry will finally settle down with. When Kate went into hospital to deliver the baby we now know is named Prince George Alexander Louis, I was on pins and needles all day.

That’s a little embarrassing to admit, but it’s not unique.

Why are we so fascinated by these royals? Why am I so fascinated?

I think it’s a combination of factors. When I was a preteen, I loved anything with a whiff of the Middle Ages, and my current love of A Game of Thrones proves that I never really grew out of that stage. Queens and princes and princesses could hardly be more medieval, despite their continued existence in the world.

But also…I’m a writer. Unanswered questions about people fascinate me.

I want to know what it’s like to grow up as the heir to the throne, especially in a day and age when royalty has gone out of fashion. I want to know what it’s like to be the heir’s younger brother and know you’ll never be king unless your only sibling dies.

I want to know what they do with their days — not just the royal family but anyone in that English high society class. Do they work? How do they find meaning in their days? What’s it like to cling to all those traditions and move in such limited circles?

Of course, those circles aren’t so limited anymore. Back in 2001, when I was visiting Norway (my first trip overseas!), the Norwegian crown prince got married to a commoner, a single mother. I heard some mutterings about that, but it certainly didn’t stop a massive crowd — which I was lucky enough to be a part of — from gathering outside the cathedral in Oslo and cheering wildly as they wed.

But I wonder about the people. About Kate, who comes from a middle-class background and yet learned the upper-class role so well that she married a prince; her accent is impeccable, she always has the right fascinator, she and Will attend high society weddings. But it must be strange for her, and even more so for her parents. And I expect a lot of “old families” are, or were, infuriated to find the prince picking “new money” over their own precious marriage-aged daughters.

And of course, being a royal comes with even more stringent rules and limitations and scrutiny. What’s it like having Queen Elizabeth for a grandmother? Is she a stickler for tradition? Do the choices that Will and Kate make shock her? Does Charles stand up for them? Or have I got the family dynamics all wrong?

I’ll never know the answers to most of these questions. So I hang on the news stories, and soak up what I can, and wonder.

Your turn! Are you a royal-watcher? Why do you think so many people are fascinated by them?



7 responses to “Why Do I Have Royal Baby Fever?

  1. I was just having a discussion the other day with a friend at work about why we’re both so enthralled by the royal family as well. We decided it’s because we really don’t have one in the States and because there’s something pretty awesome about a nation coming together over the major milestones of their monarchy’s family.

  2. Although I haven’t been that excited about the royal baby, I do wonder what it must be like for Kate to marry into a family and position like that. And the way it’s affected her whole family. It’s a very unnatural existence.

    BTW, Australia is quite enthralled by the Danish royal family as well, because their crown prince married an Australian girl (Mary).

  3. Tami – Good point…England’s reactions are pretty neat to watch. And as celebrity-watching goes, the royals are classier and less prone to drama than many, which probably appeals to people as well.

    Ellen – Exactly. At least William grew up with it, so it’s natural to him, but it must be a huge adjustment for her. And to think she didn’t even get the title “Princess Kate” out of the deal! 😉

  4. I’ve been following William and Kate since their engagement. I think it’s fascinating since we don’t have a monarchy in the U.S. Also, the whole commoner thing. I can’t even imagine how I would feel if I married a Prince and gave birth to the future king.

    I mean, having an heir to the throne is pretty much expected, right? And having everything you’re doing in the spotlight. Must be weird.

  5. Hmm. I think you’ve hit on a couple of good reasons, Erin: (a) the fact that, as Tami mentioned, Americans don’t have a monarchy of their own (being a Canadian, technically I do!), and (b) that whole commoner-to-princess journey is fascinating. It taps into fairytale tropes that are rooted deep in our psyches…we can’t help but be interested!

  6. I wouldn’t say royalty has gone out of fashion, exactly. The ruling families have lost political power, for sure, but judging by the obsessive way many people monitor what Wills & Kate are up to, I’d say they’re the “It” couple for the world right now.
    I’m sure Brad & Angelina are happy to have a breather.

  7. Oops, sorry, Liv…I read your comment and forgot I hadn’t responded yet! Anyway, you made me smile with the Brad & Angelina quip. Good point about political power vs. cultural/popular appeal…and the fickle and mysterious nature of celebrity.

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