After months of anticipation, an estimated 2 billion people worldwide tuned in to watch Kate Middleton marry Prince William of England this morning. Many of those billions of viewers woke up at ungodly hours (coverage started at 4 am, Eastern Standard Time) and millions got the day off from work, simply because a balding ginger was finally worn down by his ambitious and incredibly patient girlfriend.
As a man, it's difficult for me to imagine that any event could live up to the sort of media frenzy that's surrounded the Royal Wedding, much less one that doesn't involve a scoreboard. As an American, I have a hard time with the fact that the world stopped dead this morning to watch two bland kids with no meaningful accomplishments to their names exchange "I do's." But the fact remains that this morning's ceremony was one of the most-watched events in the history of television, so it may be worth our time to try and figure out just what makes Will and Kate so damn important…
One explanation, the one that seems to make the most sense, is that the marriage of William and Kate represents the dawn of a new era. For a few hours this morning, the world was invited to forget about wars and recessions and share in the joy of a doofy young prince and a plain/pretty commoner who hit the husband jackpot. Brits might see it as a way to erase the memories of decades of strife and scandal within the Royal Family.
There hasn't been a Royal event of this magnitude since the wedding of Princess Di and Prince Charles, and we all know how that turned out. With William and Kate, citizens of the UK may see a chance to restore the Royal Family's reputation in the eyes of the world. Of course, Chuck and Di set the precedent for ending Royal marriages and divorce is more commonplace now than ever, but weddings are about hope, even if it might be foolish hope. Besides, most of the world probably doesn't give a good goddam what happens to Will and Kate. People just like weddings, even if they don't get to partake of the free booze. Which brings me to my next point…
Let's face it, weddings are for the ladies. There's a reason all the guys in the party are forced to dress the same. I don't think I'm making too broad of a generalization when I say chicks tend to like big, lavish ceremonies, and they don't get any bigger than a Royal Wedding. For better or worse, women in most countries (even countries that have no royalty) are raised with princess fairy tales. Many young women are in search of Prince Charming, not too many are looking for Junior Senator Charming. Mind you, I'm not poking fun at the ladies here.
It's totally understandable to want to be swept off your feet and go from anonymous commoner to envy of the world over night. And since that dream will never come true for 99.999999999% of the women in the world, it's only natural they'd want to live vicariously through plain, simple, 8-on-a-good-day Kate who had to wait 8 friggin' years for dude to put a ring on it.
So, I guess all the hype surrounding the Royal Wedding is a combination of two age-old aspects of human nature: people love pageantry and they need a reason to hope. As Americans, we might never fully understand the importance of the Royal family, but this is probably the first time the world has been united by hope since the Obama inauguration, and that can't be a bad thing. Yes, it's a whole lot of pomp and circumstance surrounding two young people who might one day be the world's most famous figureheads, but in case you haven't been paying attention – it's been kind of a sh!tty year. If the world wants to take a few hours off from the doom and gloom to watch some rich people ride around in buggies, I say, so be it. Besides, it's not like we're footin' the bill. Might as well enjoy the show at the expense of the British taxpayers!