英王子の結婚 愛される王室復活の一歩に

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 1, 2011)
Britain's royal wedding could help revitalize monarchy
英王子の結婚 愛される王室復活の一歩に(4月30日付・読売社説)

The wedding ceremony of Britain's Prince William and Catherine Middleton, commonly known as Kate, was held in Westminster Abbey in London on Friday.

Prince William is the first son of the late Princess Diana, who in life captured the hearts of many people around the world, and Prince Charles. He is second in line to the throne after his father.

This is the first time in more than 350 years that a future king of England has married a so-called commoner. The royal nuptials were broadcast live around the world and watched by an estimated 2 billion people.

This shows public interest in the British royal family remains strong. The popularity of "The King's Speech," which won this year's Academy Award for Best Film, also helped shine a global spotlight on the royal wedding.

It appears, however, that Britons' feelings toward Friday's royal wedding are different from the sentiment that greeted the wedding of Prince William's parents 30 years ago.


Royals haunted by scandal

The wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana swept people in up a fairy tale world, and set off a royal frenzy.  チャールズ皇太子とダイアナ妃の挙式の際、人々は「おとぎ話」の世界に浸り、熱狂した。

In the 1990s, however, the couple separated and divorced, and Princess Diana died in a car crash in 1997. These events brought to light a number of conflicts within the royal family that had been hidden from public view.

The image of the royal family as Britain's ideal family--a portrayal carefully nurtured since the Victorian era of the 19th century--fell apart.

During the 1990s, the divorces of Prince Charles' sister Princess Anne and brother Prince Andrew also created an uproar and provided plenty of fodder for the tabloids and other media.

The British royal family is no stranger to marital scandal, including that of King Henry VIII, who separated the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century.
With the British royal family often in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the 1990s, some influential newspapers went so far as to call for it to be abolished.

According to recent opinion surveys, however, three out of four Britons support the existing constitutional monarchy.

Prince Charles' conduct is sometimes said to have been a remote cause of events that ultimately led to Diana's death, but support for his taking the throne has increased to about half of the British populace.


Moves to revise succession

The recovery in support for the British royal family apparently reflects a strong attachment to a constant institution in life during an age of radical change.

The increase in Islamic immigrants and a new phase of stratification in British society also might have heightened people's desire to keep a symbol of integration in place.

Some members of the royal family have made efforts to get closer to the people.

Queen Elizabeth II herself now pays taxes, a gesture of cooperation with belt-tightening by the royal family.

The royal family also has been keen to portray itself as open to ordinary citizens.

The right to the British throne has long been passed on preferentially to male lineal descendants of the royal family. But in recent years, there has been increased discussion of changing royal succession laws to allow the first child of a reigning monarch to take the crown irrespective of gender.

Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako canceled their scheduled attendance at the wedding ceremony in consideration of the hardships victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster are going through. Nevertheless, we hope the Imperial family will deepen its friendly ties with the British royal family.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 30, 2011)
(2011年4月30日01時11分 読売新聞)

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