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LostInParadise's avatar

What accounts for the public fascination with royalty?

Asked by LostInParadise (23624points) December 4th, 2012

Aside from Saudi Arabia, I can’t think of any places where royalty is anything but figureheads. Yet Japan and several European countries hold on to kings and queens and emperors. American newspapers carefully follow British royalty Why do these people continue to exist and why is their activity followed? They don’t do anything. Is there some sort of association between royalty and fairytales? Do we yearn to confer importance on a group of people of no particular distinction?

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18 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Lack of your own life. I think it’s ridiculous.

chyna's avatar

It could be the whole growing up with fantasy stories about kings and queens and princes and princesses.

burntbonez's avatar

All that wealth, pomp and circumstance! And when they get caught with their pants down, proving they are actually just like everyone else, everyone sighs a huge sigh of relief.

CWOTUS's avatar

We share another parallel with the Brits in this respect: it’s the cult of “celebrity” for its own sake.

Do you think a no-talent ditz like Paris Hilton would be followed as slavishly as she has been if there wasn’t something very warped about our love of celebrities who are simply “famous for being famous”?

Royalty exemplifies that, fortunately usually not so badly, since they are at least nominal / titular heads of state.

JenniferP's avatar

I have absolutely no interest in William and Kate whatsoever. I don’t put people above others.

DominicX's avatar

Because there’s something appealing about the grandiosity of monarchy and the power it once had; it’s a tradition that symbolized and defined their country and they don’t want to let it go.

filmfann's avatar


jca's avatar

I think people may find fascinating lifestyles that are different from their own, i.e. jewels, haute couture, castles, etc. This is nothing new – it’s been going on for centuries.

The British royals do donate time and money to charities, serving on boards, attending events such as fundraisers, visiting hospitals, orphanages, stuff like that.

OpryLeigh's avatar

They don’t do anything? The Queen is in her mid 80’s and she still works every day for this country. I am sure she would like to retire but she doesn’t get that luxury. Whether you agree that we should have a monarchy or not I think it’s a bit ignorant to say they don’t do anything.

I actually feel that the British royal family (the immediate members) bring in a lot of money to this country in tourism especially. They bring far more money into this country than they cost us (I recently saw somewhere that they bring in 7 times more money than they cost us but I have forgotten where I saw that now so couldn’t tell you how credible it is). Also, the arguement of “they are a drain on taxpayers money” is a crock as they actually only costs us around 70p a year, that’s hardly a “drain”. Don’t forget the Queen pays tax herself.

I have more respect for the Queen than any Prime Ministers (who are voted into power by the general public) we have had in recent history and so I would be very reluctant to be lead by these guys alone.

I have had this arguement on many occassions with people that don’t agree with the Royal family and I can understand some of their reasons but I have weighed up the pros and cons and decided that I am definitely for keeping them.

JenniferP's avatar

@Leanne-What do you define as the queen “doing” something. Do you mean public appearances. It does take effort to get up early and it is a pain to get made up and go in front of crowds and wave (unless you like that sort of thing) but what do they really do? I know they bring attention to causes. I suppose they may take in more money than goes into supporting them but what does that say about society that they are so in awe of mere people that they give them so much attention. Having said that, it is none of my business and I am not from England. I don’t usually give them a second thought to admire them or criticize them.

LostInParadise's avatar

@Leanne1986 , I have no problem with the queen busying herself making ceremonial appearances or tourists paying good money because England still has royalty. However, all of this depends on people taking royalty seriously, and I was just wondering why that should be.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@JenniferP This might give you some idea of what she does and I, personally, think that she does a valuable job.

I should have said that I agree that the celebrity type fascination is unnecessary. The fact that William and Kate felt they had to tell the world about their pregnancy before they were ready (apparently) to avoid speculation as to why she was in hospital is ridiculous. At this sort of time they should be able to tell people in their own time.

CWOTUS's avatar

Lots of people do the honorable things that the royals do, @Leanne1986. I guess part of the discussion revolves around the terms “cost-effectiveness” and “what does ‘royalty’ mean… in a democracy?”

OpryLeigh's avatar

@CWOTUS forgive me but I don’t think I understand what you are asking me! I don’t think the Queens role is just about being honourable or charitable, I think it’s about being a figurehead for the country as described in one of the links above. She’s not just a sweet old lady who opens hospitals and attends charity events.

“There are also outward duties of State, when The Queen represents Britain to the rest of the world. For example, The Queen receives foreign ambassadors and high commissioners, entertains visiting Heads of State, and makes State visits overseas to other countries, in support of diplomatic and economic relations.”

LostInParadise's avatar

Although the Queen technically makes decisions, she in fact has no power. For example, she is officially in charge of appointing the prime minister. If her choice did not coincide with the choice made by parliament, you can be sure that she would either be forced to abdicate or the entire monarchy would be abolished. In essence, she is a very highly paid governmental spokesperson. Her high salary is justified only by the tourist dollars she attracts.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@LostInParadise but the fact that the tourism she attracts brings in more than what the taxpayer pays to keep her is one of the reasons I am all for keeping her. It’s not like we have glorious weather to attract people!!!!

I think there are arguments for both sides and no one is really on the fence about this subject. However, I do believe her role as head of state to be an important one for the reasons above and, if it brings something to a country, I don’t see anything wrong with a bit of tradition. I wouldn’t be happy if we became a democracy, just my personal opinion though.

Shippy's avatar

All Royals bore me to tears. No interest in them at all. That goes for celebs too.

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