WDWPUB is proud to release this week in honor of the Royal Wedding: AN UNUSUAL JOURNEY THROUGH ROYAL HISTORY by Victoria “Tori” Martínez.
Lets meet Victoria:
I wouldn’t call myself a Monarchist and I certainly don’t believe in the Divine Right of Kings. I’m not even sure that I like the idea that taxpayers should support expensive figureheads with little real purpose.
As an American, my great hero is George Washington, who not only refused the title of king as the first leader of his young country, but was lauded by European monarchs for freely retiring his authority after just two terms as president of the United States of America. Washington’s own former king, George III, called him the “the greatest man in the world” for giving up his power.
Still, history has always held a special fascination for me, and for some reason the institution of monarchy and the individuals associated with it have a special place in my consciousness. As I write this, I’m in one of my favorite cities in the world, London, eagerly awaiting the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton.
Because of these conflicting feelings, I regularly wage an internal battle in my mind over whether the remaining modern royals are an anachronism or important national and cultural symbols.
Perhaps this personal conflict is what makes me find royalty – both historical and contemporary – such an intensely interesting and meaningful focus of research and writing. I’m always trying to discover more about these enigmatic, celebrated and vilified individuals and their lives. Who they were or are beyond the stiff monuments, formal portraits, fabulous jewels, and historical and media sensationalization.
I hate the idea that anyone could be so one-dimensional as we’re often led to believe of the famous or infamous, and royals are more often than not prime candidates for this type of characterization. To an even greater extent, I get bored of hearing about the same people and places time and again as if they are only interesting because they are the easiest to define.
As a result, I find myself gravitating toward the forgotten people and obscure aspects of historical and contemporary royalty, always knowing that underneath the thin veneer of what we’re taught in school or read in the media is something much more interesting. I’m happy to say that I haven’t been disappointed yet, and my greatest pleasure is sharing what I learn with others through my writing.
It’s always nice to turn what is a tiresome topic for many into fascinating fodder for a dinner or cocktail party. I’m never more satisfied than when I’ve “converted” someone from a passive or disinterested observer of history into an inquisitive and involved participant in the past. Since the past is a place I like to visit, it’s nice to have others there with me, especially when I can play the host and guide.
Ultimately, this is exactly what fascinates me about history, and royal history in particular: that it is not about any one event, now or in the past; it’s about the journey into the past that is as colorful and richly embroidered as a priceless tapestry in a grand old castle.
Sure, even I as a democratic American am fascinated with modern events like the Royal Wedding and all the pomp and pageantry that come along with them. But whether you see in those trappings fairy tales and romantic ideals or waste and unnecessary expenditure, it’s important to remember that they only hold those meanings because of their history and significance in shaping our modern way of life.
By taking a journey through royal history, whether by watching a modern prince marry his middle-class fiancé on YouTube or reading about Anglo-Saxon kings and their tattoos, we can find out so much about ourselves and our own histories and identify with royalty not as statues or paintings, but as people not very different from ourselves.
Victoria “Tori” Martínez