As Prince William and Kate Middleton exchange wedding vows this Friday (6 am ET, 3 am PT for those planning to tune in...
), it will mark the climax of the incessant media frenzy that has surrounded the event since the two announced their engagement last November. While royal weddings have always generated a good deal of fanfare and hoopla, in the past they tended to be more merger than marriage. As any history buff (or frequent watcher of historical dramas like The Tudors or The Borgias
) might tell you, royal marriages were often arrangements to forge alliances, augment political power and/or increase material assets.
Unlike Will and Kate, they seldom had anything to do with love.
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