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Is it strange that here in the geographical middle of one of the world’s largest and oldest democratic republics, a king and queen are crowned annually?  This is, however, as American as apple pie!

In 1776, the people of the thirteen British colonies separated themselves from their Imperial overlords by signing the Declaration of Independence.  Over the next seven years, Americans fought British redcoats in battles from Canada to South Carolina.  Yet, after forging a new country and a kingless democratic republic, the American public returned to adoring their former monarchs!  In 1838, Americans followed the coronation of Queen Victoria with rapt attention; in 1860 her son Prince Albert Edward was greeted by huge crowds when he visited the United States; Princess, and now Queen, Elizabeth’s life has been monitored by Americans since the 1930s; and the fascination with her grandson Prince William has reached celebrity proportions.  And these are only the real life royals!

Movies, television shows, and books permeate our society with stories of fairy tale princesses and handsome (sometimes charming) princes.

Royalty: An American Tradition of Ak-Sar-Ben examines the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben coronation through a historical lens. Visitors will learn not only how the coronations were influenced by historical European courts, but how and where there are ‘kings’ and ‘queens’ all around us.