250 years after breaking free, Americans are more infatuated with the British crown than ever

Flags at half-mast, moment of silence at the Wall Street Stock Exchange or at the US Tennis Open, prayer for the Queen in Congress: in the United States, reactions to the death of Elizabeth II were strong, reports the FinancialTimes, and almost unanimous. The president and his predecessors from both parties have all hailed the memory of Britain’s queen: Joe Biden ordered flags to be lowered to half height in front of federal public buildings until Elizabeth is buried. Shortly after, Donald Trump lamented in a statement: “What a great and beautiful lady she was, there was no one like her!”

“For a nation born in opposition to the monarchy – and whose founding credo is that all men are created equal – Americans have shown time and again how infatuated they are with the royal family,” notes the British newspaper, which does not seem surprised.

The title recalls the very strong television audiences for royal weddings, the sidewalks strewn with flowers at the death of Princess Diana or even the success of the series The Crown and Downtown Abbey. In 2015, Barack Obama told Prince Charles: “Americans have a lot of affection for the royal family. Much more than for their own politicians.”

This is confirmed by Dan O’Brien, a resident of Portland: “She has served her people all her life. It’s a concept that Americans can’t even understand.”

Traditions and soap opera

This persistent attachment, two hundred and forty-six years after the declaration of independence, is the subject of regular analyzes in the United States, recalls the Financial Times. In 2013, Harvard professor Maya Jasanoff wrote in the New York Times that he “could reflect lingering insecurity about things we have lost” : traditions “which unite a nation and give it a certain legitimacy”, explains the economic daily.

“For others, the reality is more down to earth, continues the FinancialTimes. The Royal Family is the ultimate, millennial version of soap opera and reality TV.” The newspaper quotes Charlotte Clymer, a young activist and essayist in Washington: “In reality, it’s all just a big show for Americans. We are lucky to witness all the twists and turns without paying anything.”

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