Controversy over the TSA grope-a-thon at your local International Airport (making us safer I guess from all those bombs they keep finding hidden under peoples’ genitals) has taken a back seat to the biggest story of the week:

Prince William’s GETTING MARRIED!

William and Kate, Winter 2010 (photo: Alastair Grant, Associated Press)

Yes folks! Prince Handsome himself is finally tying the knot. Can you believe it? I’m so excited!

But who is this woman who’s stealing the man every woman in the world has been all hubba-hubba over? What girl has usurped and destroyed all those dreams of becoming a Princess that you’ve had ever since you were a young girl?

It’s probably some young snot with a long line of royal background and titles. She’s probably a Dutchess of some sort, or the daughter of a multi-billionaire six steps away from the line of succession in Monaco, or someone whose father is a respected and uncontroversial member of the House of Lords. Spoiled for generations and lending further chuckles and guffaws overseas to the idea that the House of Windor’s family tree only forks so far before retreating back inward.

Except…no. Surprisingly, that’s not the case at all, and therein lies the real story.

William’s fiancee is Kate Middleton, who was born the daughter of a stewardess and a flight dispatcher. When Kate was still a child they started up their own party supply business, which made them millionaires. The story of Kate’s family is a true working class rags to riches story. The Middletons do not come from any great respected lineage; they bear no titles and made their own way in the world.

Which makes this much different from most royal marriages throughout history. The British Monarchy has a long history of politically ordained marriages, romances that required approval from monarchs, and in some cases inbreeding. In fact William’s own father and current heir to the throne, Prince Charles of Wales,  had wanted to marry a woman by the name of Camilla Parker-Bowles. Unfortunately, the romance did not meet the approval of the Royal court, and thus Charles was informed he had to dissolve the relationship…which he did publicly, but not privately. Some years later Charles married Diana Spencer , the descendant of not one but two illegitimate children of English Monarchs and amember of the highly connected Spencer family.

Love and romance were set aside in favor of politics and titles. In hindsight, perhaps it’s not surprising that the marriage of Charles and Diana turned out to be not quite the fairy tale everyone had hoped.

Thirty years later, it looks like the House of Windsor learned its lesson.

William met Kate at school. Kate doesn’t have any titles, nor do her parents. The romance was not arranged through letters, political maneuvering, or favors between cousins. They met, fall in love, and aside from a brief period where they separated, have been together for almost nine years.

The importance of this marriage cannot be understated. It is more than just celebrity gossip rag fodder or a handsome royal settling down. It is instead the culmination of decades of scandals and questions about the archaic practices of the monarchy in England and throughout the world. This union symbolizes the changing tide of the British crown for the better.

In prior generations, the marriage would not be allowed no matter how pretty she was or how enamored the press became with her. Yet here we are, and in 2010, and the monarchy has finally modernized its ideas and approach towards how it views courtship and its role in England and the world at large. In allowing this courtship, engagement, and eventual marriage, they have allowed for the possibility of a King that will truly be a man of his time.

So yes, America, this is an important story. It’s the story of an institution’s survival despite changing times and finding that balance between maintaining tradition whilst correctly adapting to changing attitudes and climates of the time. It’s proof that you can keep those things you deem important – in this case the dignity and prestige of the House of Windsor – whilst not miring in the petty details and constructions of past rules and obligations.

Respect and reverence for your past while allowing yourself to adapt to modern times. Now there’s something worth celebrating.


20 Responses to The Marriage of Kate and William, King of the 21st Century

  1. Gman says:

    If you had written this piffle and tripe 230 years ago, your Tory butt would be hightailing it to Canada, Mr. Local Treasure. I would not be surprised if the Windsors try to worm us back into the Empire using this “reg’lar folks” spiel, as opposed to the Euro-Socialist Ivy-educated Obama.

    I smell a rat.

  2. hebe says:

    Well now that they hold no real power, it just doesn’t matter which millionaire’s daughter he marries.

    I thought this was a “guys’ column”.

    • hebe - Wow, good point! I’d forgotten that it was only within William’s lifetime that the monarchy stopped ruling England and shifted power over to democratically elected officials. Could’ve sworn that happened much much earlier, but your response is snarky and dismissive so it must hold some merit, right?

  3. JGR says:

    Hebe’s probably more excited about The Beatles on Itunes. Guys can’t be interested in monarchy? I never knew that. Maybe, just maybe, Kevin was writing more about a stodgy institution that has learned to be less stodgy– A lesson many people/other institutions could learn from.

    • JGR - No, he’s right. It’s totally a girl thing to write about why something that people Stateside think is just a tabloid story is, in actuality, historically relevant for a number of reasons.

      We now return you to your expected blogging.


  4. Liz says:

    Yes! The story! I’ve been waiting for someone to see the actual story in this (as opposed to speculation over the ring, the wedding and how Kate will deal with being royalty)

    I think I read that Charles knew Diana for 28 days before they married – I’m glad these two took their time to get to know each other.

  5. nicole says:

    This is the first time for England – but not the first time for other countries.

    The Crown Prince of Norway wed an unwed mother. And said he was prepared to leave the throne to do it. (The public decided it was okay).

    The Crown Prince of Denmark wed a *nobody* Australian who didn’t even speak the language.

    As usual, American doesn’t look very far beyond its own nose, and really doesn’t know what’s going on in the world.

  6. hebe says:

    Didn’t mean to offend! Not interested in Beatles on ITunes. Just surprised, that’s all. You’re correct in calling out my sexism and I caught your sarcasm.
    So continuing enlightening on this gripping engagement.

  7. Nicole – Right. But are you trying to infer that the Royals are following the example of Norway and Denmark rather than the changing societal attitudes as a whole and the recent history of the family (and in particular the PR hit they took after the failure of Charles & Diana’s marriage that they never recovered from)? If so, that’s incorrect.

  8. hebe says:

    It used to be called a Morganatic Marriage, meaning a marriage between people of different social status. Actually all of Queen Elizabeth’s II children have had Morganatic Marriages, but as Kevin points out, Diana Spencer and Sarah York come from well established family lines that do hold titles.

    4 of the 6 Henry VIII married were Morganatic. Often with mistresses and 2nd wives, family titles are bestowed after the marriage. King George’s III two brothers went further and married commoners; Anne Horton and Maria Walpole, who was even illigitimate.

    Then there was King Edward VIII who abdicated the throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson.

    I know, much more than you wanted to know, but there it is.

  9. Tony Barbaro says:

    I just wonder how long before people take this to the extreme like they did with Charles and Diana, I always found that a little creepy.I guess we should just be glad they aren’t inbreeding anymore, after all I think that’s how Charles got those ears.

    • Tony – The ears he totally gets from his father. Unfortunately he has his mother’s facial structure, so they’re more pronounced.

      I have a feeling it’ll be even bigger (worse?) than the Charles/Diana marriage. There’s a better story behind it, and William is even more beloved than Charles was in his time due to the appearance of being more charismatic and, perhaps more importantly, for being the son of Diana.

  10. crabby old emily says:

    You know way too much about this subject for a guy.

  11. Amanda says:


    (This comment brought to you by my 14 year old self.)

  12. hebe says:

    Crabby old emily: You’re so right! I’m not a guy. Don’t know why people assumed I was.

  13. Brad says:

    I still think this is a relevant “guy” story because, let’s face it, Kate Middleton is naturally HOT.

  14. HomeTownGirl says:

    I love this Kevin…And to those who find this mockable, poopoo on you! :)
    I’d rather watch/hear about this than the Charlie Sheen/Lindsay Lohan garbage.

  15. Some people may find this marriage somewhat controversial but you did a good job at explaining the situation. Thank you for sharing.

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