TODAY | December 25, 2010
>> royal wedding of prince william and kate middleton . it's major news in britain, but is the monarchy even a bigger deal for americans ? nbc's lee cowan reports.
>> reporter: it's a quintessentially english as the royals themselves. a pact the bottom of which some claim to have found love. pub love, anyway. so a pub seemed a fitting place to test public opinion about the royal wedding .
>> it's way more exciting than anything that we're doing. so why not be obsessed with it, right?
>> reporter: here at the old kings head pub the fairy tale of william and kate is like cinderella on steroids.
>> i was so excited, because i followed the royal family . and i remember where i was when diana was wed. nothing's going to be bigger than this wedding. it's every girl's dream.
>> reporter: this pub isn't in england. it's near los angeles . a walk from the beach. but this is the tale of two pubs. and the reaction to the wedding we got at this one, the king's head pub in the heart of london, was far different.
>> it's great we've got a day off.
>> it's too much like a celebrity wedding now, you know.
>> reporter: how is it that we in the colonies are more royally raptured than britons themselves?
>> i think americans love buying the dream or kate middleton and prince william .
>> reporter: we're fascinated by the royals in movies. love and will read any royal intrigue.
>> diana was on our cover of "people" magazine for more than 100 times . 120 times.
>> reporter: we're a proven royal market, just days after the couple announced their engagement air and hotel packages popped up. americans may shell out more than $100 million this year on tourism related to the monarchy like visiting buckingham palace .
>> truth is they are like our distant relatives, only with an accent that makes them sound a lot smarter and a lot better mannered. but when it comes to the royal wedding itself perhaps the absence of a monarchy just makes the heart grow fonder.
>> i think if the americans had a royal family they might think fairly differently about it.
>> reporter: so happily ever after as charles and diana were supposed to enjoy never came. and many are still bitter.
>> i think the american people are probably a little bit more realistic about human nature than the stiff upper-lipped brit.
>> reporter: in fact, many brits are opposed to the monarchy altogether. and see a lavish wedding in a bad economy as royally out of touch.
>> it's hard to see taxpayers' money being thrown on the wedding.
>> reporter: we have our version of royalty, too. the glow of paris hilton or david hasselhoff may have long faded here, but in europe they remain as bright as ever. maybe an american culture obsessed with the dark side of celebrity, the royals offer something hopeful.
>> no matter where you're from,