Oh, baby! A royal baby on the way is going to spawn (no pun intended) increased obsession and news about The Royals, whether we like it or not. Like sharks to chum, there is a virtual media feeding frenzy occurring over the baby news, just like there was about The Royal Engagement, and The Royal Wedding. Let’s face it, we just can’t help ourselves!!
We find ourselves Googling Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and, undoubtedly, if someone smuggled out pictures of the Duchess in the hospital they would be sold for millions and the whole world would look at them (even if we felt a little guilty about it). This royal fascination, or even obsession, is not a new one, and it is part of our thirst for more, more, more. So, what’s the deal with it anyway? Here are some psychological reasons:
1: King/Queen Archetypes
From babyhood we are read fairy tales of castles nestled at the top of hills surrounded by billowing, white clouds. We watch movies about princes, princesses, kings, and queens, and imagine ourselves as secret nobility. Children want to feel special, valued, and important (and don’t we all?), which is why the royal archetype is part of our earliest consciousness and deepest fantasies. As we grow up, and see the British Monarchy in modern, non-fairy tale fashion fulfilling this archetype, we just can’t help but watch and be amazed.
2: Desire to be Included in Something Larger than Ourselves
It is not uncommon to want to feel a part of something larger than ourselves, be there to witness part of the history of the world and make it a part of our personal history. That is why we all got up early or DVR-ed the Royal Wedding, helped home shopping channels sell out of replica sapphire engagement rings, and bought designer wedding dresses inspired by Catherine’s lacy-sleeved number. We want to feel included in something monumental and important.
3: Shared History
The whole world is watching The Royals just as we do here in the U.S. But, there is something more to being an American and following the British Monarchy. Even if we do not have a personal British heritage, many of us who identify as Americans have sat through U.S. History classes or citizenship classes learning about our messy break-up from the UK, seeing the Brits as our distant cousins. We may feel more a part of them collectively, as Americans, than we feel toward other countries. And who doesn’t want to know the “family gossip” about our cousins once removed?
4: Cinderella Story
The knight in shining armor and the romance of a commoner becoming Royal makes the William and Kate story all the more fascinating. Imagine being a relatively ordinary young woman and going to college to complete your education. Along the way you fall in love with a prince, get swept off your feet, and marry, becoming a world-wide, beloved figure. Someday you will be the Queen. And to think, the rest of us just worried about finals in college! The real-life romance behind the story is so compelling and different than the disaster of past royal romances that we can’t help but watch and root for them.
5: Wish Fulfillment
We all wish we could win the lottery, have our 15 minutes of fame, be an A-lister, and, yes, be told that we have Royal blood. Although we do not often think about the real consequences of these desires being fulfilled, we all have fantasies about getting money, influence, and power, which will magically solve all our problems. No, the Royals don’t worry about their bank balance, and no, the queen doesn’t ever have to use a poop-scoop to pick up after her beloved corgis; who wants to deal with these mundane tasks anyway? Is it any wonder that we wish to be a Royal when we have dish-pan hands?
6: Mirror of our Family
We see The Royal Family from womb to tomb. Just like in our own family we attend their weddings, funerals, hospital stays, births, and vacations. We feel a part of them, and they are more like us than we might imagine, adding to our fascination. Even more, we know about them in such significant public ways that we become more and more intrigued about what they are really like privately. Who doesn’t want to know if the Duchess ever has an acne breakout or if Prince William has any annoying habits? This is why we always hunger for more.
The simplest psychology behind our Royal Family fascination is that we will always want to know more about attractive, wealthy, influential, and sometimes scandalous people. Well, if you want more, no worries. Sit back, grab a cup of Earl Grey and have a scone. The Royal baby news wave is just beginning.
Why are we so fascinated by the Royal Family?
Dr. Nicole Joseph is a licensed clinical psychologist who currently works for The Child and Family Counseling Group. Dr. Joseph has experience counseling individuals, couples, parents and families. She received her undergraduate degree from American University and finished her Masters and Doctorate at the American School of Professional Psychology. For more information about Dr. Joseph, check out her website.
Disclaimer: Shrink Wrapped: Sessions To Go ™ is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or supplement assessment and/or treatment by a licensed mental health professional.
Dr. Nicole Joseph © 2012