Power. Wealth. Decades long drama. These are the aspects of royalty and aristocracy that have captured viewers around the globe. Shows such as The Crown, Bridgerton, and Royals have dominated the media for years, feeding into viewers’ peculiar obsession with the elite. However, it is hard not to notice that the vast majority of these sorts of programs are centered around British royalty in particular. This is a very eurocentric perspective, leaving several millennia of non-European history untold.
Finding pleasure in learning about British monarchies and their histories is not a problem in and of itself. However, it becomes questionable when the intricate stories of foreign monarchies are cast aside as if royalty has only one face. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan or the Kingdom of Morocco are just a few examples of the plethora of kingdoms with fascinating histories that go unheard in favor of white, British kings and queens.
A solely western view has dominated our media for too long, leaving several groups in our society underrepresented. One step to combat this is to include more thoughtful representation of other cultures and their elite.
Monarchies are often riddled with corruption, and this entertainment obsession has the potential to glorify the toxicity and abuses of power embedded into monarchal life. This then begs the question of how to distinguish between a simple fascination with nobility and an obsessive desire to live like these members of society.
Members of royalty lead lives of incomprehensible luxury and intricate drama, which captures the attention of most “normal” citizens. As long as the problematic aspects of this life are recognized, it’s no crime to sit down with a bowl of popcorn and tune in to your favorite royal documentary.
As long as western power remains dominant in the world, British royalty will never leave the limelight. However, this shouldn’t mean that other monarchies must be hidden away. There are countless other monarchies with intricate histories that could expose audiences to cultures that have never been represented on such a large scale before.
Who knows, if the media looks a little further than this one particular island in the northern Atlantic, it may find the basis for a whole new show that will give The Crown a run for its money.