‘I can relate to them’ - Have we fallen back in love with the royals?
PUBLISHED: 11:08 20 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:20 20 October 2018
With the recent media frenzy surrounding the flurry of royal weddings, tours and babies, it seems that the British fascination with the family is higher than ever. Katie Crowson asks if we have fallen back in love with the royals?
Those we spoke to in Norwich agreed the royals were held in higher esteem than ever before, with Prince William and Harry having a major impact on the levels of affection.
Juliana Rands, from Fakenham, believes that as a country we have ‘fallen back in love with the royals’ because of William and Harry. Now that they have children of their own they’ve ‘become a lot more inclusive’ she added.
Lynne Cockell saw greater openness as causing greater empathy. She said: “I have kids the same age as Harry and William and I can relate to them as they have opened up a lot.”
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams, who is regularly in the public eye being quizzed about the family and its impact, said social media was ‘all important’ adding: “The monarchy uses it extremely well as it must. The broadcast of the Queen’s Christmas message on social media is an excellent example.”
But this has also enabled access to their lives 24/7. Some of those we interviewed saw this as a positive, allowing exciting proximity and empathy between younger Brits and the young royals.
However, others suggested that it is part of a superficial fascination with celebrity, verging on voyeurism. Student Jessie Sprouse said ‘we’ve fallen in love with celebrity culture’. She added: “We’re all very nosy and it’s exciting to know behind the scenes stuff.“
Fame was a repeated theme, especially in relation to Meghan Markle, whom Juliana Rands believed had introduced a ‘bit more glamour’. Melanie Atton agreed saying: “They’re more Instagram now, they’re more fashionable.”
However, there was scepticism amongst many older people who saw this as part of a ‘Kardashian’ world, out of touch with the realities faced by ordinary people.
Sandra Lundry, 76, argued that whilst ‘the young love it all,’ essentially ‘it’s part of that celebrity culture.’ As far as others her age are concerned, she added: “We get fed up with it. It’s thrown down our necks, the media push them too much and put everybody off.”
Amongst older interviewees, there were criticisms around privilege and use of public money to fund their lifestyles. Mrs Cockell, 62, said: “Whilst the young are intrigued by what the royals are wearing and where they are going on holiday, the older generation are thinking ‘how much does it cost?’”
Sandra Lundry, 76, argued that she was fed up of hearing about ‘wonderful Harry’ who ‘should get a job!’ She added: “My son has to work so hard as a chef. He’s coming up for 30, he’s never going to be able to afford a mortgage.”
Bonnie Wilson, 21, saw the Queen’s long reign and her removal from politics as a source of public affection.
As we approach Christmas opinions were divided as to whether the physical presence of the royals in Norfolk affected our regard for them. Many said they didn’t feel an especially close connection.
According to Mr Fitzwilliams, the Royal family has transformed with the times, which he sees as vital to the transformation in the British relationship with them.
He added: “The monarchy has recovered brilliantly from its low in the 1990s. It has adapted with William marrying into the middle class, Harry marrying an American and both for love.”