The extent to which the British royal wedding has provoked both gushing and loathing from the media and the public bears witness to the enduring power of royalty in human minds. These days, "democracy" is on everyone's lips as the universal shibboleth (though few could actually define it, if asked), but for the better part of history human societies have been governed by monarchs of some sort. Even Americans, who in the 1780s resuscitated Roman republicanism and later spread it throughout the world, tend to fawn over their leaders in a decidedly un-republican fashion. Remember the Obama inauguration?
Some of the hate for William and Kate is just humorous. I like Charles Stross as a writer, but his rabid anti-royalism is just outlandish. Yes, monarchies are "hereditary dictatorships", but that actually tends to make them less evil than the non-hereditary ones, and certainly more preferable to the revolving-door oligarchies that pass for republics these days.
I'm not so much a monarchist as someone who vastly prefers honest, organic statism to the totalitarian nanny-state democracies inevitably tend to produce. If you don't believe me, read Hoppe.
The philistines who complain about the cost of the royal wedding never seem to kvetch about the cost of killing people - be it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or elsewhere. I'm sure that, if they'd had a choice, the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would have preferred a small, private ceremony instead of a public performance. That's part of what most people don't bother thinking about: the life of a royal is circumscribed by duty and obligation.
In this particular case, a public ceremony may have been organized with more than just the newlyweds in mind. With Queen Elizabeth II close to matching Queen Victoria's record for the longest reign, and her son Charles so unpopular that crowning him might spell the end of British monarchy, odds are the Brits will be hailing King William V soon.
And who knows, maybe the Windsors' Serbian cousins might learn a lesson or three from the entire affair.