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Book Review: Royal Fever- The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture

Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture is not your typical book about the Royal Family. Instead of the same old biography, I found myself enthralled in the other side of the same recycled facts.

Royal Fever takes a look at the “role the British Royal Family plays in people’s lives and its contribution as an iconic pillar British culture”. Cele C. Otnes and Pauline Maclaran took part in almost ten years of field work (from 2005-2014) speaking to royal experts, collectors, examining the tourist experiences, fashion, products all to do with the royal brand.

Noted as the Royal Family Brand Complex, I found Royal Fever a great view into how the British Royal Family is the most famous and in a world where monarchies are dissolving they are still standing strong for more than a thousand years. It also takes a look at the economic and cultural significance in this day and age.

Just some of the many chapters lay out how the British monarchy engage the public through related experiences by creating interesting consumer experiences. Otnes and Maclaran also spoke to royal fans such as Margaret Tyler who demands a chapter of her own just to examine her collection of over 10,000 royal family trinkets and the psychology of why she does it. Another interesting and less known character is a retired American stockbroker who takes three months each year to hunt around England for rare (and expensive) memorabilia.

According to one estimate, the Royal Family Brand Complex is worth around $87 billion and brings in an upwards of $1.77 billion each year for the British economy. Some of those events including the wedding of Prince William to Kate, the birth of Prince George and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion choices alone is a significant part of that.

Royal Fever is also full fun facts such as how:

“The queen is the only person allowed by Rolls Royce to swap the hood ornament the brand provides for her own personal ornament of St. George slaying the dragon,” and “Since 2000, the number of people in the royal family’s internal public relations firm has tripled, to almost 30 people, with each royal couple or group having its own staff. They definitely understand the power of the public image.”

All and all, if you are looking for your same old biography with the same facts this book isn’t for you but if you are looking for a fresh new take on our favourite family that makes you think a little more closely on the ongoings behind the scenes I would highly recommend this book for you!

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