Baranyai: A royal marrying a commoner? Let go of the dogs!

If the wedding of Princess Mako of Japan reminds us of anything, it’s that royal duels are a gladiatorial sport. In no other arena do members of the public cheer or laugh with such a sense of entitlement.

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If the wedding of Princess Mako of Japan reminds us of anything, it’s that royal duels are a gladiatorial sport. In no other arena do members of the public cheer or laugh with such a sense of entitlement.

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Social media has become an online Colosseum for this judgmental spectacle. Emotions seem to be particularly strong when the twinning involves a “bourgeois”.

Well done to a quivering Kate Middleton, exchanging vows with Prince William, decked out in the scarlet tunic of the Irish Guards Mounted Officers. Well done to Kei Komuro, Princess Mako’s college sweetheart, in her ridiculous pinstripe costume. Send the tigers!

The engagement proved hugely unpopular, amid concerns over an outstanding loan held by Komuro’s mother. While Komuro was studying abroad, the paparazzi stoked the crowds’ thirst for blood with a constant stream of overwhelming images: eating at New York food trucks and sporting his overly long hair.

The mocking mob ultimately succeeded, not in preventing the union, but in dethroning their princess, who traded her royal title for love. The couple tied the knot in a civil ceremony this week.

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Their love story turns a popular fairy tale tale upside down: a royal lover breaks free from filial duty and persuades the suffocating monarchy to open the castle gates to a stranger. A Pygmalion-esque sequence ensues as the commoner is educated in centuries of tradition, topped off with a storybook wedding, attended by famous guests wearing structurally unlikely hats.

It happens. The Monegasques were totally charmed by Princess Grace, wife of Prince Rainier III. Although not a blue blood, Grace Kelly was Hollywood royalty. Her fatal car crash in 1982 presaged the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Comparisons to Diana have also revolved around Jordan’s Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, an internationally admired philanthropist sometimes criticized for her extravagant wardrobe. The Palestinian refugee daughter has a very active social media presence, describing herself on Twitter as “a mother and wife with a really cool job.”

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The “most glamorous royal in Europe,” according to Newsweek, is also a commoner. Letizia Rocasolano was an accomplished journalist when she married the future King of Spain Philip VI. Although Queen Letizia is divorced from a “shrill anti-monarchist” family, public taunts have mostly focused on the royal family itself, the struggling House of Bourbon.

Perhaps no commoner turned royal has been judged more viciously than Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. The former actor has faced relentless tabloid abuse, often with racial overtones. Disgraced TV personality Piers Morgan and his own distant and attention-seeking father Thomas Markle have joined the scum.

Meghan and Komuro aren’t the only tabloid fodder to suffer from an inconvenient parent. Of Argentine origin, Maxima Zorreguieta Cerruti married the future King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands under the shadow of his father. Jorge Zorreguieta was secretary of agriculture under General Videla’s military dictatorship, a regime known for its human rights abuses.

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There was intense public scrutiny of a different kind when Crown Prince of Norway Haakon, first in line for the throne, decided to marry Mette-Marit Hoiby, a former waitress and single mother. Her father, King Harald V, had reason to be sympathetic. It took him nine years to secure the right to marry Sonja Haraldsen, the daughter of a clothing merchant, eventually threatening that this was the only way for him to produce an heir.

Critically, the Japanese monarchy is running out of heirs. Mako Komuro, as he is now called, did not give up becoming emperor; as a woman she never had one. Ironically, the outspoken Japanese public who condemned his union overwhelmingly supports adding women to the line of succession. Emperor Naruhito has only one daughter with his wife, Masako Owada, a commoner.

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