Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why Prince William & Kate Middleton's engagement is a second best royal news story

Not to sound ungrateful.

I am extremely happy that Prince William and Kate Middleton have just announced their engagement to the world and put all of us out of our will-he/won't-he/should-she misery.

But, I feel a tad unsatisfied with this royal  news story. Sure it has all of the elements of romance and the elusive happily ever after. The afterglow will carry me for a week or so until the news dies down. We can now look forward to months and months of speculation, waiting for the wedding date announcement and then the wedding itself. It's almost agonizing in its lack of immediateness.

This is quite the contrast to the ultimate royal news story: death.

Yes, the great royal leveller. A royal death news story has a lot of advantages. It's immediate, occasionally unsurprising and filled more intense emotion depending on where he/she was on the royal food chain. For instance, say someone who is 355th in line to the throne will not elicit the same interest as, what I like to call a Royal Big 5 death. Who is on that list? The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry. When any of them die I know who I would buy souvenirs for.

When one of them dies there will be massive coverage and it will be immediate. Given the time-sensitivity of the occasion, this event cannot, unfortunately, be drawn out. It would be inappropriate. There will be no months upon months of waiting. If two or more of them die it could be extremely interesting to discuss what precedence the coffins will enter Westminster Abbey in. See? How much more interesting this coverage is?

Unlike death, royal weddings are a more difficult event to relate to. After all, we all die, right? Most of us will never wear tiaras, ride in glass carriages or have a golden page in the history books. It's enough to make you jealous. See, that doesn't happen with death now does it? No one gets jealous so we bypass that emotion altogether.

Like royal weddings we also see commemorative souvenirs. But better. I can't think of the last time I saw royal death tankards at a garage sale. Commemorative royal death mugs are different in the amount of guilt involved in throwing them away. They're an investment you can sell on eBay. Unlike royal wedding china, which you can't give away because there's so much of it.

Those souvenirs will have to wait. The reality is, we have a royal wedding to look forward to.

I guess it's better than nothing.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

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