They grace our tabloid covers and drive page views for websites. The sartorial choices of the Duchess of Cambridge ― and now Meghan Markle ― are seemingly endless fashion blog fodder.
And then, of course, there are the big events. Nearly 23 million U.S. viewers watched the coverage of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding. An estimated 33.2 million people in the U.S. watched Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997, and around 17 million tuned in to see her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles.
“I think it’s fair to say that the American people are quite fond of the royal family,” then-President Barack Obama remarked during a 2015 Oval Office meeting with Prince Charles. “They like them much better than they like their own politicians.”
The interest extends all the way to Queen Elizabeth. Season two, episode one of Netflix’s “The Crown” attracted three million viewers in the U.S., according to Nielsen.
But why are Americans so fascinated with British monarchs and their relatives? We spoke to psychologists and royal family experts to find out.
A fascination from childhood
The first explanation may seem fairly obvious, but it’s meaningful: “We are fascinated and obsessed with fairy tales. They have been a part of our society’s fabric since childhood. They help us escape from the everyday mundane,” Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, told HuffPost.
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