Last night, or rather very early this morning, I found myself tossing and turning for the umpteenth time. Surrendering to the restlessness, I switched on my bedside lamp and reached for my phone, if only to alter my rather ambitious alarm setting. In doing so, I saw I had a Facebook notification from The British Monarchy. This tiny red herald of joy informed me that-only a handful of minutes prior-Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge had been admitted to hospital in early stages of labor! Suddenly my insomnia did not seem as intrusive. Quite the opposite, actually! Obviously at that point in the proceedings, no one knew if it was to be a Prince or Princess, but I had my secret hopes for the latter.
This morning, I awoke oh so excited to discover that my secret dream of a wee Princess of Cambridge had indeed come true! Brimming with euphoria, I immediately began scouring The Internet for any and all news on the subject. Far from disappointed, my heart warmed when I saw that even my tiny hometown newspaper had a lovely birth announcement. Smiling to myself at all the joy and new life in the world this morning, my heart suddenly stopped as I scrolled down to The Dreaded Comments Section: Where All Hope and Good Feelings Seem to Die. There, staring me boldly in the face, was a comment which bluntly read:
“Okay and? It doesn’t pertain to anything in the u.s. so why would we care.”
Once my breathing returned to normal and I was able to still my tapping thumbs, I calmly attempted to begin a thorough and detailed analysis of everything that was flawed in this comment (punctuation errors notwithstanding).
Now, I will be the first to admit, that I do in fact have a slight Anglo-bias. My upbringing, my friends, my travels, my education, my line of work and many of the things I love dearly have brought me back to England time and time again. Both literally and figuratively, some of my most cherished and beloved memories have been spent in England or with England. Now, while I acknowledge that the majority of people do not lounge around with their family and see who can name the most British monarchs in chronological order, starting with Egbert king of Wessex (it’s my mother, in case you’re wondering…though post-House of Hanover always gives her a bit of a stumble), I DO acknowledge the extreme importance of cultural awareness and community.
I must say, I do congratulate the author in question on successfully summarizing one point: “It doesn’t pertain to anything in the u.s. so why would we care,” may very well be one of the best summations I have recently heard of everything considered conventionally “wrong” with the stereotypical American mentality.
Kind sir, do let me share with you the vast arsenal of reasons “why we would care.”
First and foremost, the very fabric of our nation is woven with countless Anglo-threads. A large majority of American people can trace their lineage back to English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh settlers. As a result, there comes a point in the World Timeline where many Americans find their history is in fact British history. Now, by no means, do I pretend to be so ignorant as to claim that EVERY American can trace their lineage back to British settlers-in fact it is just the opposite which makes America the beautiful and diverse place that it is-but regardless of where your ancestors may come from, it is undeniable that the British peoples contributed greatly to the American population and culture.
Not only do we share a common history, but we also overlap with a common tongue, legal system and religious practices. There are many aspects of “American life” which have their roots in British influence.
Now, many people will counter my argument saying things like, “What about the Revolution? Why would we care about a nation who oppressed us 300 years ago?” Well, what you may not have noticed, is that you have in effect answered your own question: it was 300 bloody years ago.
In the time since the American Revolution, the United Kingdom and the United States have become close allies, entering into what is called “the Special Relationship.” This was especially prevalent during World War II and has benefited both nations ever since. Both nations view their relationships as extremely important “as evidenced in aligned political affairs, mutual cooperation in the areas of trade, commerce, finance, technology, academics, as well as the arts and sciences; and the sharing of government and military intelligence, and joint combat operations and peacekeeping missions carried out between the United States Armed Forces and the British Armed Forces.”
So, my apologies, sir, but I believe that this wee piece of British news may indeed prove to pertain to the U.S..
Furthermore, this tiny Princess is part of a much larger historical event. Thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013, Her Royal Highness The Princess of Cambridge, will be the first royal in history to retain her place in the succession to the throne regardless of any brothers born after her. This is monumental step forward for the monarchy, for England and for the movements of feminism and equality around the world.
But let us put historical, cultural, social, ideological and political connections aside for a moment, and focus instead on the benefits of the United States (and the rest of the world) welcoming this news with open arms and warm hearts. With such horrific events dominating today’s headlines, we very rarely give positive news it’s due. Why shouldn’t the birth of this child-who may someday have a very important role to play on the world stage-be celebrated for the glorious piece of creation that it is? How does a new life in this global community-no matter how royal or not-fail to “pertain” to every single one of us?
This child, this new life-just as every other child, every other new life, every other beginning-represents far more to this world than Anglo-American relations, or the stylish British monarchy, or fodder for our Facebook feeds.
It is a pure and unadulterated representation of hope.
And I think that is something we all could care about.