I’ve come across a blog about royalty. No. Royalty. Capital “R”. Full of love, tears and snivel.
- Darling, you used to call me "My Queen" before the wedding... - I've gone liberal since then, sweetheart.
I understand the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge (just imagine a Duke of Harvard or the UCLA for a sec) bring in a lot of money via tourism, souvenirs and TV rights to broadcast weddings, jubilees and pregnancies. Perhaps, deliveries, the way it goes. Media loves Royalty, because media loves Money. I can understand that. But why ordinary people would passionately love a few beings descended from fewer other beings without any hope of reciprocity in this relationship is beyond me. Strip those few royal guys & dolls from their titles, take away those toys of fairytale inspired imagination – you’d still have some people left to respect – but what would be left there to love? Sexist jokes of the Queen’s hubby? University escapades of the next king? Yes, I blame too many Disney cartoons/period costume dramas and too few Terry Pratchetts.
"What set Vimes's teeth on edge was the idea that kings were a different kind of human being. A higher life form". Terry Pratchett. Feet of Clay.
Today, pro-monarchy arguments cluster around the nation-uniting role of kings who are above partisan politics, and (some say) are cheaper to maintain than elected presidents. I will let the divine anointment argument slip. Most kings and queens were immoral and incompetent rulers with a few exceptions here and there. Those exceptions can be respected, but how can one LOVE them all?
Take Henry VIII. You don’t get any royaler royalty, but I can’t imagine anyone liking him.
The favourite jibe of stand-up comedians in 1536 was pronouncing "ex" in "Henry's ex-wife" as "axe".
Today, he would be serving life for murdering innocent people, disproportionate cruelty, blasphemy and gluttony. All the lawyers hired by Burger King to at least clear him off the gluttony charges won’t help.
Most of my friends in the UK are embarrassed of the K, and I can’t even mention what I hear from Scottish ski instructors in France, when I ask them about it. And sometimes, when I don’t. Of course, my sample can not be representative: I am not acquainted with Mr Sting, who, having spent some time with the Prince of Wales became a staunch supporter of the monarchy. I can’t bet that I won’t become a royalist after a dinner with Maggie Smith, and she’s simply good at playing duchesses.
But I won’t LOVE them, the royals, even if I’m persuaded by a very good persuader they are an Oh’K company for the U.
I am not a UK citizen. I go for the Times in the morning*. I enjoy coins with a profile of someone living on them, because it gives money more meaning. Spend it, spend it, spend it, while there’s still time. So, how come the issues of royalty are of any concern to me?
Oh, I am interested in art, you see. And art is about the exploration and celebration of love 50% of the time. I have here a severe case of irrational love and adoration towards a whole social class of people, love that is forever one-way. It is not an isolated case of
bird flu infatuation with royalty. Those cases are a legion. And I can’t remember any art that would be celebrating that kind of love. I don’t want to cure it, I want to research it.
In the Soviet Union, a lot of art was about the common folk’s love of demiurgish Lenin or Stalin, and most of it was done not by cynics, but honest and talented believers. Have a look.
Any ideas? Does anything come to mind? Anything similar about the royals? Queen Victoria listening to Oscar Wilde reciting a poem? Pray, help!
* The art column in the Guardian
sucks does not always agree with my opinion and my hotel does not carry the Telegraph. This largely explains my preference for the Times.
Do you want to debate this issue or just enjoy people debating it? Let’s Press it )