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.