Were you obsessed with seeing Kate Middleton’s baby bump? Did you shed a tear or two when Prince William, Prince Harry and Duchess Catherine came out in the rain with umbrellas, to remember the 20-year anniversary of the death of Princess Diana? Perhaps you anxiously awaiting the official engagement announcement for Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle? Science can explain your obsession with the royal family, and the reason makes perfect sense!
According to Tara Emrani, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist at NYU Langone Health, it all comes down to the science of “human nature.”
Why are we obsessed with the British royal family? Even back to the ancients, Emrani tells InStyle, people looked up to those who were considered “celebrities,” such as philosophers and even gladiators.
She explains that scientists have determined that we are social beings, and we survive within a group, not on our own, alone.
“According to many evolutionary biologists and anthropologists, we humans are social animals. We like to be socially interactive. We kind of like to grow as a group, and we survive better in the context of a group than by ourselves.”
Science has proven that as humans, we look to copy the singular actions of other humans, and then emulate them. We learn from other members of the group.
“And it is our nature to identify individuals in the group that are one-of-a-kind for skills and uniqueness that precedes our own.”
So why is the British royal family so special? Emrani suggests it was when Princess Diana married Prince Charles that this obsession began. When commoner, daycare worker Diana Spencer married a British prince, suddenly all of those childhood fairy tales came true!
“When Princess Diana became a princess, that allowed the royal family to burst into a level of celebrity they never experienced before cause here was a commoner who got there.”
This obsession has evolved onto Diana’s children, Prince William and Prince Harry. Emrani simply explains that the way we now see how Kate, William, Harry, and the other members of the royal family relate to each other, and their family, is relatable to “normal” people.
“The British royal family has found a way to stay relevant and be present in the media. And the way that they portray the family is very relevant to people in that they have a family, they do normal stuff, they go to normal places, although they’re royal.”
When Prince William recalled his personal grief and anger over losing his mother, the late Princess Diana, or when William and Kate confessed to watching Game of Thrones while eating a takeout curry, all whilst wearing “comfy clothes,” and when Duchess Catherine had to scold her misbehaving children before her sister Pippa’s wedding, normal people could relate to them, despite Will and Kate’s elevated social status.
In a positive light, Emrani explains what happens in our brains when we see how the royals deal with certain situations, and our brain asks “how can I be that?” Humans look to find a way to improve their own status.
“They have the same tools as us, but how are they so distinguished compared to us?”
Yet, Emrani contends that those with body image issues and clinical depression could have more serious issues with becoming obsessed with a celebrity. Instead of looking at celebrities to learn how they can improve their own existence, some people could be too scared to live their own lives, and do nothing.
Avoiding life and just becoming celebrity obsessed is a form of escapism. Emrani suggests that those who are using a celebrity obsession as a way to avoid living their own lives need to “get involved in your own life.” She suggests taking a class, talk to your family and the “celebrities in your own life,” explaining that life is about the connections you make and share.
“What means the most to us at the end of our lives are the connections we make and the love we share. You can’t share love with a celebrity.”
What do you think of the science of the royal family? Do you think that because they do “normal stuff” you can personally relate to Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Harry and the rest of the royal family? Please share your opinion below!
[Featured Image by Heathcliff O’Malley/WPA Pool/Getty Images]