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America's Obsession With Pippa Middleton

America has a long tradition of being obsessed with royals, mostly because we don't have any of our own.

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America has a long tradition of being obsessed with royals, mostly because we don't have any of our own. (No matter how you feel about them, Kennedys don't technically count.) And with the news from British magazine Grazia Tuesday that Pippa might move to New York City to work on her book—about party planning, no less—there's been a renewed wave of royal-fervor. If the reports are to believed, Pippa had originally been leaning toward Paris, but after that embarrassing "gun-gate" episode in France, she's set her her sights on a new land across the Atlantic. And that new land has reacted!

Charlotte Cowles, writing in New York's The Cut blog, asks breathlessly, "Is Pippa Middleton Moving to New York?!" Cowles writes, "Where would she live? [Manhattan, obvi] What restaurants would she go to? Who'd she hang out with? What parties would she attend? When is she getting here?!" Meanwhile, The New York Observer's Foster Kamer attempts to convince Pippa to choose Brooklyn. If Pippa is "Brooklyn," Kate (and before her, Diana) must be Manhattan, the logic would go—and Brooklyn is where the cool, writerly kids hang out, right? Brooklyn is NOW. Whether Pippa is "cool" or "writerly" we really don't know, as we don't know Pippa at all, and probably never will, even if she does move to New York City. But no matter. We know what we want her to be! We want her to be ours.

The funny thing is, while America's obsession with royals is nothing new, Pippa is a new kind of semi-royal for us to desire upon our shores. Back in 1995, New York's Rebecca Mead wrote about Princess Diana possibly moving to New York City, and "wishfully" pondered where the Lady would shop, eat, live, work, and who she'd date and snub and so on—what an entire day in her life might look like. (In the end, it doesn't really matter whether the royal actually moves to New York; part of the fun is just thinking about all of this.) But in contrast to our fascination with Diana or Kate, Pippa's sister, the actual royal-by-marriage, our feelings for Pippa have a decidedly different cast.

Pippa is a real kind of American hero, albeit in a slightly Kardashian sort of way. You might say she's our post-Reality TV royal, informed as we have been now by how the "celebrity sausage" is made. She's been involved in scandals like gun-gate. She dates, a bunch of different men, some of whom we don't even know the names of. She's taken off her bikini top and had her photo taken. In New York, she'd be all over Page Six; we can only imagine the juicy details—where she's living, who she's going out with, where she's getting her bottle service. Certainly, the New York Post needs her. Remember how much they enjoyed that fight involving the Monaco prince? But it could be argued that we need her as well. Beyond the supposed scandals and our admiration of her looks and lower half, there is the fact that Pippa is all of us. She's the one who didn't get the prince. She's the "American," even if she is, technically, British.

Ever since America and Britain split—that was a nasty breakup, wasn't it?—we've been in denial over a certain truth about ourselves, a hole in our hearts, which is, we have no monarchy. We don't have those crowns and scepters and fancy jeweled capes. We especially don't have a row of royal corgis sitting at the feet of our Queen. This all seems quaint and strange but also, a little bit wonderful. Perhaps this is why we watched Kate and William's courtship so closely, why we fawned over their wedding, why we marveled over those strange, pale little bridesmaids and the hats, oh, the hats. Maybe we're curious, maybe we're jealous. Not that we want such a thing, really—we love democracy, that's why we left jolly old England, that's why we prefer coffee to tea. No king or queen was going to tell us what to do! But we can't help but want that class of people whom we can both admire and despise, people on another plane than we mere humans, figureheads or rulers, depending on how we're feeling that day. (This may explain our obsessions with Jane Austen and Downton Abbey.) People who are living larger, magically, and what seems almost a myth. People who are not, and never will be, "tan mom." Certain dapper politicians and beautiful celebrities and larger-than-life Reality TV stars have fulfilled a part of this deep desire, but there remains a certain emptiness, which is why we've obsessed over Diana so much and, say, the Kennedys. We need someone who will wear a tiara, unironically. 

Can Pippa finally fill that void deep within the American psyche? She's our best hope, for now.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.