Royal wedding: Mysterious charm of monarchy

By Zhang Yanbing & Hua Xiuping (
Updated: 2011-04-27 17:16
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Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry at Westminster Abbey on April 29. How will this royal wedding impact Britain? So far no consensus has been reached. Some are taking it rather moderately, but many more agree that a royal wedding is able to create a sense of wellbeing in the middle of an economic downturn. It is generally believed that the extra spending may pump billions into the British Economy, despite warnings of the high economic costs due to a double four-day bank holiday.

What other benefits will the royal wedding bring to Britons? To boost British patriotism or bring a feel good factor to the British government? Many Britons would doubt that. Some have pointed out that the public may not respond in the way that the Tories hope. To the Royals, a fairytale wedding is also not an easy sell because many remember the last wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981.

So, no more bright sides to this event? Of course not! In our opinions, at least, it helps broadcast the mysterious charm of the British monarchy, which makes Britain more respected around the world.

Having lived in England for around five years, we perceived that no matter how gentle and modest many British people may look like, they are actually very arrogant and hardened with pride in their hearts. They possibly look down upon most other nations. What do the British really feel about Americans? The answer may be ‘show offs or too self-obsessed’!

Where does the pride in British hearts come from? Of course it is partly due to their glorious history. It was the largest empire and the foremost global power in the world. At its height, the British Empire held one-quarter of the world’s population, and covered almost a quarter of the Earth’s total land area. Because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its numerous territories, it had been said ‘the sun never sets on the British Empire’ for over a century. As a result, its political, technological and cultural legacy was widespread.

The situation may have changed too much for Britons since the Second World War. The rise of the United States and the independence of British colonies in the 1950s made the decline of the British Empire so sharp and so unavoidable. Today, Britain is still a major power in the world arena, but its role has become much less significant. Nowadays, it either is thought as a ‘yes-man’ to America, or serves as a coordinator among major political or economic powers such as the US and China.

So what makes Britain special today? Without doubt, one key part is its monarchy! As we know, the politics of the United Kingdom takes place within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, in which the monarch is head of state and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government. Right now, the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is called Her Majesty’s Government. In an open world where many politicians are more or less behaving like superstars to please the voters, the British monarchy stands out with mysterious charm!

To conclude, although quite a few British are indifferent to the coming royal wedding, it may be better than any alternative in shaping foreigner’s views towards Britons. It kind of promotes public fondness towards British culture and politics around the world. Many enjoy Kate Middleton’s beauty and dignified composure, and women are fascinated by the elegance and romance shown in the many details of the forthcoming wedding ceremony. To some extent, the wedding is unifying more than the British!

Dr. Yanbing Zhang, Assistant Professor in International Political Economy, School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University.

Dr Xiuping Hua, Assistant Professor in Finance, Nottingham University Business School (NUBS), University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC).