Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton

Our special relationship with 'Downton Abbey'

America has a remarkably close relationship with its previous owner. It seems we no sooner threw off the yoke of George III than we started collecting mugs decorated with the images of royal wedding partners.

England and the United States have been staunch allies for more than a century, and what diplomats call "a special relationship" has matured with time and wars.

And as the breadth and might of British Empire diminished and we emerged as a world power, we still looked to the English with the respect of a student who has surpassed his tutor but cannot bring himself to acknowledge the new order.

American television audiences for coronations, investitures...