Culture At Large

The allure of royal weddings

Maureen Herring

We love our fairy tale weddings.

Little girls dream of becoming Disney princesses and a royal wedding is the culmination of those stories. We especially love it when commoners rise to royalty. Even Shrek gets a royal wedding.

And so Prince William and Kate Middleton, who will marry on April 29, have been gracing the covers of magazines all over the Western world. The wedding is a royally huge event, and not just for Great Britain. So far 30 percent of visitors to the official wedding blog are from the United States.

American culture may tend toward the casual, but we still like pageantry. We expect spectacle out of our Super Bowl halftime shows. Even if we don’t actually watch the Oscars, we want to know what people wore and who they sat with. In high school, we crown a homecoming court and prom king and queen.

Could the American tendency to make kings and queens cultural icons represent a longing for something grander? Do we elect multi-generational leadership like the Kennedys and Bushes out of this desire? Could it be that we borrow other countries' royalty because beneath the independent spirit of American culture, there is something in us that wants a king?

I've been wondering about the Biblical parallels. After centuries of being governed in a unique way, the people of Israel rejected the system God set up for them and demanded a king like the other countries around them. Status and power seems to have gotten the better of Israel’s first king, Saul, and he became paranoid and brutal. Then Israel got a really iconic king in David.

We love it when our royalty seems accessible and compassionate, which is why we loved Princess Diana. When celebrities like Bono are out there doing good they confirm our allegiance and loyalty. Sometimes we are inspired to embrace their causes and make them our role models. Until, like Mel Gibson, or David, or Charles and Diana, they fail. Then we re-examine our allegiances and question whether we really ought to look up to celebrities or royalty. If we are honest, we may have to admit that we derive a certain satisfaction when the rich and famous lose status. Some of us may even use a king's failure to excuse our own.

Maybe we’re attracted to royalty because we really are designed to have a king. Not the kind that reflects who we are, but the One that we were created to reflect. Revelation describes some majestic pageantry, including a throne with lightning coming out it as it sits in front of a crystal sea. Jesus sits on the throne surrounded by worshippers, both human and angelic. Amazing as it may seem, the Church is the commoner bride of Christ, the royal Son who will never let us down.

Topics: Culture At Large, Arts & Leisure, Entertainment, Theology & The Church, Faith, Theology, News & Politics, World, North America