Polland, Imke

'For Better, For Worse'?


Royal Heirs Between Continuity and Change in Media Representations of British Royal Weddings (2005–2011)



What role does the British monarchy play in the 21st century? Do people (still) care about such an anachronistic institution? Why are they fascinated by the monarchy’s ritual media events? This study investigates the last two wedding celebrations of British royal heirs: Prince Charles’s marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, and Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding in 2011. Based on an analysis of British television and newspaper coverage as well as archive material, this book examines royal reporting, i.e. representations of royalty and royal events in the British media. It is shown how a phenomenon with seemingly pure entertainment value functions as a site for socio-cultural negotiation processes. The powerful cultural narratives constructed and disseminated in the context of royal weddings are relevant for understanding contemporary British society and the role of media institutions as they trigger processes of reflection on the nation and on media consumption and performance in the changing mediascape of the attention economy. This study’s media-cultural narratological perspective on royal reporting and the monarchy’s ongoing refashioning process sheds light on the cultural functions of the British monarchy in contemporary Britain, the role played by the heirs to the throne, and the British ‘cultural imaginary’.

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ISBN 978-3-86821-869-5, 354 S., 1 Tab., kt., € 43,50 (2020)

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