Cornell history profs weigh in on royal wedding

Robert Travers, Cornell University associate professor in history, was born and raised in England. He teaches modern British and European history. In regard to the wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, he says:

“The main significance of the wedding might be the international audience. For Britain, it’s very important to retain its global brand. We don’t export a lot in England, but weddings seem to be some of our best products.

“In another context, this is a very important event for the British monarchy – when compared to the wedding of Charles and Diana. The way Charles’ marriage ended was a disaster. With William and Kate, it seems to be the Monarchy’s way to patch a toxic event.

“This couple is projected as very modern. William and Kate are trying to behave in a less aristocratic and regal way, and presenting a more middle-class, sensible image. It helps that Kate was born a ‘commoner’ not an aristocrat. She will be driven in a car to the wedding, not in a state carriage. They’ll have a buffet for the wedding not a banquet. While they are living under elite circumstances, they are trying to make themselves less estranged from ordinary people.

“The British still have very mixed views about the monarchy. But there is a lot of interest and personal sympathy with William and Kate. If the wedding and the marriage appears to go well, it could also make Charles and Camilla seem more sympathetic, and make it an easier transition for Charles to become King.”...

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