The American media's relentless coverage of the birth of Kate Middleton and Prince William's Royal Baby verges on obsession. This is also one clear reminder of America's prevalent and deeply rooted fascination with British culture.
Here's one example: Over the weekend, as the U.S. media covered every detail of the upcoming birth of the Royal Baby, nearby European country Belgium experienced an important day in royal history as well. On July 21, King Albert II abdicated the Belgian throne after a 20-year reign, welcoming Prince Philippe to be sworn in as the country's seventh king. This monumental day in Belgian history went more or less unnoticed by the international community that had its attention unwaveringly fixed on the unborn heir to the British throne.
What explains this fixation with all things British?
American culture has demonstrated a unique fascination with the British royal family. In 1997, Americans wept over Princess Diana's tragic death while the front pages of most major U.S tabloids honored her legacy. American pop culture was captivated by Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton's royal wedding. The wedding kiss was canonized on the cover of TIME magazine's May 2011 edition. Just last year, the American media took part in the royal jubilee celebration, paying homage to the Jubilee Queen, Elizabeth II.
There are few parallels in American culture. The Kennedy family is the only family that comes close to the public's obession with the Royal Family in Great Britain.
America's admiration with Great Britain extends far beyond the monarchy as well. We are captivated by British literature, humor, style and architecture.
It makes sense that Americans would be fascinated by British culture given our nation's roots. We are, after all, one of the same mold. The birth of our nation is inextricably linked to Great Britain, and it is impossible to think of American independence without recalling our British ancestry. The War for Independence gave America its freedom and unique character and values, but we still identify with our origins; we remain captivated by the culture that could have been our own.
In addition, while America is proud of its iconic role as a constitutional democracy, perhaps it is the sheer foreignness of a monarchy that draws us in. The idea that a nation still possesses a king and queen, and that the people lionize those figureheads on such a pedestal, is intriguing.
The American fascination with British culture is only on the rise as we await the birth announcement of the royal baby, the future of the beloved monarchy. As our nation shares many values with Great Britain, this future monarch is a source of inspiration for Americans. There is no telling what progress and good the heir to the British crown will achieve in the decades to come.