The Cultural Roots Of the Royal Baby CrazeJuly 29th, 2013 by Dean Foster | Discuss This »
Every country has a defining cultural issue. In the United States, whether or not we like to admit it, that issue is race. Internationally, our nation’s racial tensions are not a well-kept secret and according to many of our global neighbors they are a defining characteristic of American life. If you cross the pond to the United Kingdom the defining cultural issue is not race, it is class. Where here, race drives a large part of our cultural discussion; in the U.K. that major national theme becomes an issue of social status.
The most recent international example of Britain’s class obsession can be seen in the birth of the royal baby. The country’s mania (and indeed the international mania) over the royal pregnancy, the royal baby bump, and ultimately the royal birth finds its roots in a conversation about social hierarchy. When talking about the U.K. you are dealing with a society firmly and historically built around the delineations of class. The royal family, quite obviously, is the very top of this classist pyramid, and for that reason it is only natural for Britons to focus their attention on every nuance of these royal lives.
Within the United Kingdom this issue of class is directly addressed and is a fundamental property of daily life. Britons know how to behave with other Britons once class has been established, and take social comfort in their membership to a particular social ranking. Certainly people harbor desires to rise, economically speaking, but someone’s social roots always remain intact. The monarchy is the most real, powerful, and existing symbol of class in today’s England. Events that occur regarding the monarchy become flashpoints for all the feelings, understandings, meanings, and history of British class identity. With all that in mind, the event of the royal birth is far more important than the birth itself. It becomes an opportunity for Britons to reaffirm this hierarchy, restate their class identity, and reaffirm their faith in the society that this is built upon.
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