Royal Rebranding

May 7, 2011 - 11:40 am 7 Comments

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 2.39.18 PMOn April 29, it was impossible to escape the Royal Wedding. Whether you witnessed this historical event live at 6:00am or relied on the magnitude of recaps to keep you well informed, William and Kate, or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they’re now formally known, were all anyone could talk about.

In this day and age, it’s hard for us to relate to the monarchy, an institution that seems so far removed from life as we know it. Better yet, the monarchy reminds us of the historical lessons learned in school or fairy tales where the prince and his princess live happily ever after. For Americans especially, monarchical rule was an institution of the past, boldly abolished in 1776 with our Declaration of Independence. We’ve moved on without looking back; but sometimes we forget that across the Atlantic, that traditional form of leadership still exists.

And it does. Last Friday we got a glimpse into the sheer grandeur of what the monarchy embodies. It’s not like visiting Versailles or the Tower of London where everything’s stagnant and behind glass. 200-year-old breastplates that took many hours each of polishing were on display right in front of our very eyes – and on soldiers no less. Prince Charles and Camilla traveled in an Australian State Coach, which we’d normally figure would be collecting dust in a museum. Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace were brought to life with hordes of supportive Brits, cheering jovially for the union of two beautiful young people – the future of the monarchy. No, the monarchy was very real that day for everyone across the globe.

As Americans, we can’t help but react to the concept of a monarchy in one of two ways; we either view it as outdated, a relic of the past, or we romanticize the very essence of it, generating this fantasy which has no bearing on reality. In many ways, these preconceived notions were corrected while watching the Royal Wedding. More than being merely accessible and imaginable for us (considering that those privileged to the inner-workings of the institution are very limited), the monarchy was revitalized. The royals seemed like real people, very much in love. Their demeanor was entirely relatable from Kate’s slightly nervous smile as she made her way down the aisle to Will’s whisper, “You’re beautiful” once she stood beside him at the alter. And Kate’s reaction, “Oh wow,” when she stepped out on the balcony and beheld the crowd of supporters? Exactly what we all would’ve done.

Despite the resplendent setting and décor, the overall feeling was very young and fresh – the hopeful endeavor of a new beginning marked by contemporary royals, especially Kate Middleton. On her special day, she was luminous in her simplicity and perhaps all the more loved for it. Instead of hiding behind a massive bouquet and a poufy creampuff of a dress (sorry, Diana!), Kate was herself – very down to earth and radiant as ever. Certainly a paradigm shift when it comes to the royals presenting themselves to their public.

William and Kate’s wedding was essentially a rebranding of the monarchy. It was the perfect occasion to showcase the traditional opulence of the institution, but with a twist – that twist being the young amorous royals who rejuvenated the affair. In many ways, it reminded us that the monarchy is not ingrained in the past but has a clear, positive future lying ahead. Through William and Kate, we begin to perceive the monarchy’s ability to relate to its people and embrace the changing times.

7 Responses to “Royal Rebranding”

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