The Lord and the Rings

With a text message that reads“Are you watching?!” 20-year-old Molly Hoarty jolted awake.  It was 5 a.m.  Blurry-eyed and tired, Hoarty rolled over and replied to her mom, “No, not yet!”

It was just an ordinary Friday. But for Hoarty, a second-year student at SUNY New Paltz, this was nothing less than extraordinary.  She was about to witness a real-life fairy tale: the royal wedding.

The possible future King of England, Prince William, married Catherine Middleton, a commoner on April 29.  According to USA Today, 23 million Americans tuned in to watch this historic wedding.

The couple married at The Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster (or Westminster Abbey) located in Westminster, London where Princess Diana, his mother’s funeral was held 14 years ago.

“You look beautiful,” said Prince William to Middleton when he laid eyes on her. She wasdressed in a lace, long-sleeved Sarah Burton gown.

“Kate Middleton was just an ordinary girl who is now a princess,” said Hoarty.  “Every girl wishes they could be a princess.”

To Hoarty, Middleton became a modern day Cinderella.

“America doesn’t have a royal family,” said Hoarty.  “There is something magical and fascinating about this aspect of British culture.”

Months of media coverage ranged from the guest list to Middleton’s gown. For Hoarty, a self-proclaimed “wedding guru,” the fantastic fashions and hats worn by the guests were her favorite part.

Although many Americans tuned into the event for a variety of reasons, for some, April 29 was a typical day.

At 5 a.m., SUNY New Paltz graduate student Zorielle Rodriguez had been up all night. Rodriguez worked to finish her curriculum guide so that she could get started on the four papers that she had to do.

“The royal wedding is meaningless to me,” said Rodriguez.

As an education major, Rodriguez said she believes “news coverage should have been used on educational reform or diplomatic strategies in the Middle East.”

Rodriguez assumes the popularity of this royal wedding is because of the tragic death of  Princess Diana.

“I tune out all media coverage about the wedding, I have too many other things to concentrate on,” said Rodriguez.  Instead, Rodriguez choose to spend the day focusing on schoolwork to maintain her grade point average.

From the perspective of a future historian, graduate student, Jamie Lewis, believes the media coverage of the royal wedding tells us about our culture.

“It tells us a lot about what we accept and reject; what values society holds dear,” said Lewis.

However, Lewis, who grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, thinks taxpayers should not have to help fund the wedding.

“Who are these people?” said Lewis.  “I never met them. I have friends I’d take a knife through the gut for and I wouldn’t watch their wedding videos. So why should I care about this?”

An estimated two billion people around the world tuned into to watch Prince William and Middleton seal two kisses on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

“It is an escape from all the other things going on in our world,” Hoarty said. “It’s a joyful occasion.”