As I sat and watched the royal wedding on the 19th of May, proudly donning my custom Prince Harry sweater, my mother whaling loudly next to me, and my obligatory tea and scones within arms reach, I had to wonder – what makes everyone* so obsessed with the royal family? By “everyone,” I am referring to the 29 million people who tuned in to watch the wedding live like myself, undoubtedly in similar fashion.
Do I know every detail about the royal family? No. Do I keep incredibly updated on their philanthropic work? No. Did I know how old Queen Lizzy was until 48 hours ago? Also no. But do I love the royal family, nonetheless? Hell fkn yeah I do, and I couldn’t even give you a logical explanation as to why. In fact, it is this very illogical explanation that subsequently motivated me to do some serious and very deep research into my royal ‘fam’ obsession.
*Enters “why am I unhealthily obsessed with the idea of the royal family” into Google search*.
I was fascinated to learn that according to science, the royal family has essentially penetrated our collective consciousness. As it turns out, my mild obsession can be labeled as “parasocial interaction” which can ultimately manifest a “one-sided relationship” in which an individual becomes emotionally involved to another individual, without networking with them in an authentic way. However, parasocial behaviour doesn’t just relate to the royal family. This behaviour can be inclusive of being heavily attached to a particular celebrity, public figure, TV series, or even a popular televised sporting fixture, such as soccer or tennis. The royal family is essentially a real-life soap opera, abounded by love and loss, splendor and misfortune, and British accents (and who doesn’t froth over an accent). Tick, tick, and tick.
So yeah, I am the victim and cannot be held responsible for this fixation. But as I continue to research, I start to understand the psychology behind why I have been so devoted to the royal family for several years. These were my findings:
- It’s no secret every child loves a fairy tale, and the royal family is really the closest thing the world has to it.
- They arguably embody several traits that most children, like myself, were taught to practice from a young age e.g. they are well-mannered, kind, articulate etc.
- The royal family appears to be incredibly well respected and enjoyed by most, with an impressive 76% of Britain favoring the monarchy.
- They have been educated since birth to fulfill their position in the monarchy, rendering them to be very pleasant and delightful at all times.
- They have been through tragedy with the loss of the late Princess Diana, and mourned equitably.
- They have also devoted a majority of their lives to public service, all operating in armed forces at some stage e.g. Queen Elizabeth as a vehicle mechanic, Prince Harry as an air ambulance pilot, Prince Harry undertaking two tours of Afghanistan.
Right about now, I am starting to think my approval for the royal family isn’t so unjustified. With so many bad things happening in the world, is it such a terrible thing to be affectionate towards the royals without receiving anything back? They help charities, make bloody adorable babies, and above all, are incredibly compassionate. Oh yeah, did I mention that between them they support over 30,000 charities in total? Prince Charles also raises more than 175 million dollars AUD each year for his several charities, so I guess that makes dot point number 7.
HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE THEM?!
It’s like the characters in Grey’s Anatomy who are still around even in the 15th season, the royals have been a part of our lives for so long that we root for them and just want the best for them. However according to Tara Emrani, a licensed clinical psychologist, our worship of the royals is just apart of “human nature”. Emrani states that loving elevated figures within society is a very widespread habit, going on to state that “the royal family has found a way to stay relevant and be present in the media… The way that they portray the family is very relevant to people in that they have a family, they do normal stuff, they go to normal places, although they’re royal.”
Essentially, the royals participate in ‘normal’ day-to-day activities, ultimately leading us to assume that we are just like them, and that we know them on a deeper level. It’s no wonder that this feeling is often heightened when “commoners” such as Kate and Meghan marry into the royal family, after both meeting their respective Princes under very usual conditions, leading society to believe that it could happen to anyone.
Well, there you have it – my (and most likely, your) adoration towards the royal family is actually very justified, according to science (and science never lies). In saying this, there is definitely a line between ‘adoration’ and complete-restraining-order-obsesssion, only difference is one of them is clinically proven to be acceptable.
So, play on – keep buying tragic gossip magazines purely because Prince Harry’s face is on them, keep Google searching Prince George’s ‘outfit of the day’ for hours on end, and keep fantasising about your life as a royal, because in the end it’s “human nature”.