Here’s to Will and Kate giving marriage a royal boost

Doing three things will keep you out of poverty in this country, observes William Galston, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. Finish high school. Wait until you’re at least 20 years old to get married. Wait until you’re married to have children.

Britain’s Prince William and the woman who on Friday will become his wife, Kate Middleton, don’t live in this country. And it’s a rock-solid bet that neither of them will ever live in poverty.

But, oh, how I hope their (mostly) by-the-numbers progression from school to courtship to marriage could set an example for any of their American cousins in danger of failing Galston’s guidelines.

Our culture more than celebrates celebrities. Americans don’t merely consume vast amounts of movies and music, news and gossip, made by celebrities. We emulate them as people: celebrity hairstyles, celebrity fashion, celebrity diets.

And royalty — particularly, for these United States, the British royals — are the original celebrities.

The British press seems amused that the royal wedding has been bigger news on this side of the pond. Nielsen reported Monday that, during the past month, the impending nuptials made up twice as large a share of the news in traditional U.S. media as in the United Kingdom. Millions of Americans are expected to rise before dawn to watch Friday’s ceremony live.

If the any of the viewers, especially any young men and women, come away with a renewed sense of respect for the institution of marriage, then the saturation of coverage and early wake-ups may have been worth it.

Would that the institution of marriage in America didn’t need a boost from the institution of the monarchy in Britain. But the royal couples of Hollywood by and large have been poor advertisements for tradition in love and marriage. And the data suggest we need inspiration from somewhere.

Among the states, only Hawaii had a higher marriage rate in 2009 than in 1990, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Georgia, the rate fell by 37 percent during those years.

The percentage of unmarried Americans has been rising for more than four decades after falling during most of the preceding seven. One bit of good news: The divorce rate fell steadily during the 2000s.

Children are bearing the brunt of our turn from tradition. Since 1981, when William’s parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, were married, the proportion of American births out of wedlock has more than doubled (see page 11 of the PDF) — to more than 40 percent of all births in 2009 (see page 5 of the PDF).

Overall, one in four American children is being raised by a single parent. That figure is 10 percentage points higher than the average for all industrialized countries, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Remember what Galston said about marriage, kids and poverty? In 2009, a household headed by a single mother was five times as likely as a two-parent home to be in poverty. Poverty was three times as likely for a single father and his kids as for a two-parent home.

Wishing for help from Britain’s royals comes with its pitfalls. There is, of course, no telling whether their marriage will be more successful than that of William’s parents. And how many little girls, having seen the spectacle that was Charles and Diana’s ceremony, grew up wanting a grand wedding as much or more than a marriage?

But, given the poor example set for today’s kids by their own celebrities, not to mention their elders, any better role models are welcome. Here’s to many years of Britain’s future king and queen being just that.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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43 comments Add your comment


April 27th, 2011
7:18 pm

Nice column Kyle.

If Will and Jill generally end up in divorce, and Will and Bill stay together, who is doing more for marriage?

“Among the states, only Hawaii had a higher marriage rate in 2009 than in 1990…”

But. But! But I thought Hawaii was part of Kenya. You mean it is actually a State? An Ameruican State? Damn!

Legend of Len Barker

April 27th, 2011
7:24 pm

Royalty – with the exception of ol’ Henry VIII and Elizabeth II’s children – stays married.

The peerage, on the other hand…

Michael H. Smith

April 27th, 2011
7:31 pm

You’re killing me, Kyle. Two blogs in a row. The birther crap was always stupid and we got rid of the Royals in this country centuries ago. I’m ready to move on to the real issues of the day. Please no more left-over wacko conspiracies cooked up as dirty tricks campaign or Royal worship blogs.

Good night all.


April 27th, 2011
7:45 pm

Well,Well,Well,sing another song roy.

Mr. Dithers

April 27th, 2011
8:48 pm

Sounds like a column Jim “My head is in the sand most of the time” Wooten would have written. Maybe he did.


April 27th, 2011
9:01 pm

Who cares? Even the Brits don’t care about the Royals anymore. Most of them are like those of us who aren’t protected by GOP special interest groups, the phony religious leaders and corrupt politicians!

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

April 27th, 2011
9:59 pm

Well, us Conservative Republicans beleive in the Sanctity of Marriage. That’s the reason why most of us ain’t been married more than three times. Besides, we’re Fiscal Conservatives. We don’t like paying alimony and child support to more than two women at a time.

But I’m shocked—shocked!—by some of Wingfield’s statistics. Heck, I never knew 40% of the kids are b—ards! Just look to your right and your left. If one of them ain’t a b—ard, it’s you! I think I’ll drink a case of beer or two.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights.....

April 27th, 2011
10:16 pm

I don’t know about marriage, but I do know that the DIVORCE rate is sure to get a big boost off of women looking to get married just for the ceremony and NOT the actual marriage itself.


April 27th, 2011
11:47 pm

You sound like Wooten! I thought you new age conservatives stayed away from social issues.


April 28th, 2011
6:38 am

Jay, you do realize that the “royals” are nothing more than a wealthy welfare class that the British citizens allow to keep in place.

As for children with single parents, this country rewards this type of behavior. Why do you think it continues?

Joel Edge

April 28th, 2011
7:05 am

Good article, Kyle. There’s a reason why kids from complete households do better in life.

Ayn Rant

April 28th, 2011
7:08 am

Perhaps those “conservatives” who believe in a government big on social issues should enact a Defense of Marriage Act that forbids divorce and requires young people to marry by the age of 21.

What? There’s already a Defense of Marriage law? And it permits divorce and forbids same-sex marriage? Those dim-witted slogan-shouters can’t get anything right!

Next, they’ll come up with a Path to Prosperity act that gives the American oligarchs another tax break, and replaces Grandma’s medical coverage with a $500 voucher for private health insurance.


April 28th, 2011
7:33 am

I find it interesting that the CDC tracks marriage rates. That speaks volumes. :)

stands for decibels

April 28th, 2011
8:04 am


only Hawaii had a higher marriage rate in 2009 than in 1990

perhaps because all those people who go there to get married, never leave?

(my crackpot theory…)


April 28th, 2011
8:24 am

There’s a reason why kids from complete households do better in life.

Another republican feel good statement.

Bart Abel

April 28th, 2011
8:26 am

“Overall, one in four American children is being raised by a single parent…”

I suspect that a high divorce rate is another factor.

One Nation Under educated

April 28th, 2011
8:38 am

all you wal–mart republicans got your invitation?

..i’m sure it was an oversight, yeah…
…lost in the mail…or something…


April 28th, 2011
8:41 am

Kyle, it’s a nice thought to hope the Royal’s wedding will have some impact here. Unfortunately, the brutal truth is that America has dumbed down to the point where the institution of marriage is becoming more and more an object of comtempt for the mindless.


April 28th, 2011
8:41 am

Just ignorance.

Freedom Lover

April 28th, 2011
8:42 am

Studies show that financial troubles are a major contributing factor in divorce. Government laws and welfare rules encourage single parent families and of course Federal Reserve policies and government spending are destroying the economy. Meanwhile in Britiain, the royal family lives parasitically off the wealth of the nation. What they don’t steal (oh yes, by approved law of course) today, their ancestors stole in centuries past. Kate and William will certainly not have to face financial issues. Even the staggering cost of security for this circus is being foisted upon the overworked taxpayers of the nation.

Give me an enititled lifestyle with billions in inheritance, millions in the bank, free travel and invitations to exquisite events hosted by the filthy rich all over the globe, etc. and I think I could make even the worst marriage work.

If all it took were good examples to make marriage work, Ozzie and Harriet would have solved the divorce problem singlehandedly.

Not that I object to successful marriages. Currently going on 26 years in my own.

the watch dog

April 28th, 2011
8:54 am

Can the marriage agreement be improved upon? I think so. It is called the 5 year marriage agreement with an option to renew. As of now it states “until death do us part”. That would be changed to read “until our 5 year option to renew is not renewed” This gives the Husband and wife a way out, other than going 6 feet down.
When the lady of the house bcomes aware that her option may not be renewed, she will start sprucing herself up, preparing delectible dinners and being more enthusiatic in the romance department, candlelight dinners and wine and soforth.

As it is now, she lazes around the house all day grousing about the bum she married, that will all be a thing of the past. I know this will work, it needs just a little “fine tuning”.


April 28th, 2011
9:00 am

Don’t let statistics get in the way of Baby Mama’s right to welfare. All the Demwits on here are just sad he isn’t marrying a guy to set a new presidence.


April 28th, 2011
9:02 am

This is idiotic. Everything about this marraige is degenerate and anti democratic. He is going to be a KING man. We fought to get rid of one of those. And this family actually gives royality a bad name. Yet you hold them up as something we should admire and emulate. Are you just stupid or is this the latest new idea for the degenerates ruining the Republican Party


April 28th, 2011
9:03 am

watch dog- Can the marriage agreement be improved upon?

I was always told to wait until she turns 40 then trade her in for two 20 year olds…


April 28th, 2011
9:08 am

44- This is idiotic. Everything about this marraige is degenerate and anti democratic.

Only if you want to end up with fights over syrup at IHOP because no one has a nuclear family to teach them values anymore. But don’t worry, it’s all rainbows and unicorns here in obamaland…


April 28th, 2011
9:28 am

I’d like to thank the Obama’s for giving the youth of America great role models. A educated, married, family man is indeed rare these days. God Bless The Obama’s.

Road Scholar

April 28th, 2011
9:29 am

Randall; Hear, hear!

Ben Franklin

April 28th, 2011
9:40 am

What 44yrs_married said.

Ben Franklin

April 28th, 2011
9:42 am

Thank you Randall for pointing out America already has roles, and patriotic role models at that.

Junior Samples

April 28th, 2011
9:42 am

Three cheers for Randall!

Recent Grad

April 28th, 2011
9:44 am

I would hope American youth have better things to do than fawn over British Royalty. And another way to avoid poverty is to not have children at all. Stick that in your hat and call it macaroni!

Jim Sutherland

April 28th, 2011
10:16 am

Down the loyalists!

Joe Mama

April 28th, 2011
10:24 am

I thought we didn’t care what dirty furriners did. Besides, don’t the Brits have commie health coverage for everyone? Clearly, we should NOT be emulating them.



April 28th, 2011
10:29 am

The fact that we have more babies born to unwed mothers than any other nation in the world tells us the story. We are doomed as a nation. These kids, many unwanted, most unsupported either with love or financially, will grow up to the hoods, whiners and drains on society we are seeing growing around us at an ever increasing pace. I am glad I am old, and have seen America when it was indeed America the Beautiful.

Ayn Rant

April 28th, 2011
10:38 am

We don’t need British royals as role models for marriage. We have our own American red-blooded role models: Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich!

Freedom Lover

April 28th, 2011
11:58 am

Let’s also not forget that as a royal you have but one responsibility – to breed more royals. Marriage is expected. Just look at Charles and Diana. He really loved Camilla all along. He married Diana because Camilla was already married and just not up to par. Diana unfortunately thought that Charles actually loved her when in reality he just needed a fertile recepticle for his sperm. That her good looks might improve the appearance of the blood line didn’t hurt either. Can you image how ugly a child of Charles and Camilla would have been?

The royal family should never be held up as an example of anything other than what is wrong with allowing anyone to rule anyone else against their will.

Kyle Wingfield

April 28th, 2011
12:09 pm

Freedom Lover and others: My only point in referring to the royals is that, if impressionable young people are going to watch the wedding anyway, I hope they come away with a greater respect for the institution of marriage, which sorely needs it. That’s all.

Bleeding Independent

April 28th, 2011
12:49 pm


Wouldnt you agree that they have those role models already with Barack and Michelle.

Hillbilly Deluxe

April 28th, 2011
2:07 pm

Good column, Kyle. A stable homelife is the best thing that children can be given.


April 28th, 2011
4:34 pm

What a pleasant idea. American youth finding inspiration to marry from the British royal couple? It could have some merit, but alas, please excuse me while I go pet the neighbor’s unicorn.

I Know You Are But What Am I

April 28th, 2011
4:52 pm

Kyle, I am fine with promoting marriage as a stable foundation for raising a family. However, (and I know you’re not arguing this), it is not the government’s place to dictate such arrangements, nor does one political party claim superiority in the “family values” arena.

I notice when Michelle Obama spoke about improving the eating habits of our kids, a lot of right wing pundits took her to task, saying that government had no business telling us how to feed our children. The same could be said of the government promoting marriage. Nuff said.

Freedom Lover

April 28th, 2011
5:15 pm

Kyle – that is fine, but it doesn’t change the truth that marriage is generally not the coming together of a princess and a prince charming in some fairytale setting followed by riding off into the sunset in some fairytale horse-drawn carriage to live surrounded by riches with no cares in the world. Far too many young girls (and one of my wife’s lifelong girlfriends is an example) see weddings like this and get it in their heads that it is. Three marriages later….. You get my point. Again, not sure that looking at this couple should give anyone a healthy respect for marriage at all.

Frankly if these kids could look at their own parents, grandparents, friends parents, political leaders (Ron Paul and his wife have been married and faithful for over 50 years now) that would be a far better example because these real life folks are dealing with real life problems and still loving each other, etc. after many years of marriage, etc. Of course your statistics bear out why they can’t generally look to those folks for inspiration and a positive example.

Sorry, I just find the whole ruling monarchy crap a bit much to take – not that our non-representative failed republic system has turned out so well either.


May 1st, 2011
2:49 pm

Just to clarify, the royal family in the UK do not hold any real power and are merely state figureheads, we have a democratically elected government that makes all the decisions. Most brits especially in the north tolerate but do not venerate the royals. Their money may be originally ill gotten but they do now pay taxes and have to work for their status. Besides which, they seem to be a fantastic tourist pull for foolish foreigners and so contribute that way. more fool the foreign journalists who gushed over a royal wedding that had nothing to do with them. Myself, I’m a socialist which also has a strong tradition in the UK, and don’t forget even as a monarchist nation we still have a free national health service open to everyone, a mainly subsidised higher eduction system and a national minimum wage ensuring people can earn a living wage. If I recall correctly the “land of the free” is only just starting to embrace these notions, so which is the more backward nation?