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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

British monarchy serve as face of leisure

Photo provided by EPA

   While Americans have had little to do with the British monarchy since independence separated the two nations, the distance has allowed the royals to be viewed not as a head of state but as pop culture celebrities. For many, they want to know all about the glitz and glamor, characterized by tense drama, replete with love and tragedy. 

   Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have remained in the public eye ever since their announcement to step away from royal duties in 2021. Americans related to them, viewing the couple as underdogs fighting against a reactionary institution. 

   Harry’s memoir, released on Jan. 10, elaborates on the story many were eager to hear. The book detailed the reasons leading to the couple’s resignation as full-time working members of the royal family, along with his grief following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, and his difficult relationship with the press and his family. 

   Published by Penguin Random House, it sold a record-breaking 1.4 million copies on release day, outpacing the previous record-setter for the company: former President Barack Obama’s 2020 memoir, “A Promised Land,” which sold nearly 890,000 copies on its release date. 

   Harry and Markle have kept their American audience captivated, partly due to the Duchess of Sussex’ own American background, but also because of how they have been able to spread their story. On Dec 8, 2022, they worked with Netflix to release the docuseries, “Harry & Meghan,” which was seen by one million households in the U.S according to Samba Television. Their two hour long interview with Oprah Winfrey on the Columbia Broadcasting System garnered a staggering 17.1 million viewers on March 7, 2021, during the height of public outroar and support.

    The tense drama is explosive, contrasting with the extravagance of royal formal events, yet both fit hand-in-hand comfortably. According to Deadline, 29 million Americans watched the 2018 televised royal wedding of Harry and Markle. It even beat out the royal wedding before it: the 2011 marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, which saw 26 million U.S. viewers.

   Undeniably, however, the person core to American fascination was Diana, who was considered the people’s princess. Her marriage with then-Prince Charles in 1981 was one of the most-watched televised events in the U.S. 

   However, her unhappiness mixed with her untimely death hit Americans deeply. Her funeral on Sept. 6, 1997 garnered over 33 million American viewers, according to Nielsen.

   Historical dramas like “The Crown” capitalized on the triumph and despair as it documented the life of Queen Elizabeth II. Season five reigned the coveted number one spot on Netflix’s “Top 10” chart from Nov. 7 to Nov. 20, 2022.

   However, the celebrity soap opera waned in recent years with the death of Elizabeth II.

   The former queen, who served as a constant in Britain over a 70 year reign, drew only 11.4 million American viewers during her funeral on Sept. 19, 2022, in data recorded from Nielsen. Philip’s funeral the previous year showed the same lack of American interest. For many Americans, the long-reigning royals lacked the allure younger royalty reveled in as they reached their twilight years. 

   Seeking a happy-ever-after, Americans love watching the royal family from a distance, but they need the drama, the connection, and the relatability, to come back every single time for their favorite celebrities.

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About the Contributor
Brian Ly
Brian Ly, Production Chief
Brian Ly is the Production Chief for the Tongva Times and is entering his fourth year with the paper. In his personal life, Brian has a keen interest in insects, collectible card games, books, and movies. He even aspires to raise his own "Gregor Samsas" when he finds the right environment. Interestingly, Brian initially joined the newspaper in his freshman year, mistaking it for a history class due to the presence of a textbook. Despite the unexpected start, he remained with the Tongva Times, drawn by the strong sense of community and the chance to interact with diverse individuals, from school athletes to the mayor of San Gabriel.
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