left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Catherine's pregnancy brings back memories of Diana

Updated: 2013-07-23 08:10
( Xinhua)


The marriage of Prince Charles and Diana had come at the end of great social change in Britain through the 1960s and 1970s and was right in the middle of a period of serious economic crisis.

Members of older generations that had fought throw at least one and maybe two world wars were often staunch in their support for the royal family.

But younger generations born after the war had been formed by greater individualism in the 1960s and challenges to social hierarchies. They were more ambivalent about royalty.

For the generation leaving school and beginning their working lives in 1981 and 1982 the royal family and royal babies sometimes seemed a irrelevance from another planet, with nothing to do with real life.

For that generation, unemployment had risen from just over 1 million in 1979 when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher won power, to 2.5 million in 1981.

It was to continue rising for another five years to over 3.5 million as the British economy's industrial base shrank and restructured. Old manufacturing jobs disappeared, and with it whole communities and ways of life which had lasted for 150 years were destroyed.

Charles and Diana were to have a second baby, Harry, in September 1984.

The Queen's second oldest son, Prince Andrew, was to marry in 1986 and they in turn had two princesses, Beatrice born in 1988 and Eugenie in 1990.

While many industrial regions of the country were devastated by unemployment, the royal family produced a counter-narrative of marriages and babies that seemed far removed from real life.

Parallels can be made with today, with the British and world economies suffering the after-effects of the Lehman Brothers crash in 2008.

The British economy is still behind its 2007 peak, wage growth is at 0.9 percent against inflation of 2.7 percent.

Catherine and William's royal baby will only be a momentary distraction from the everyday worries of most people.

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.