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Comment & Opinion

Why I don’t think I’ll ever understand the Royal family

Royal baby-n

DID YOU hear about the woman who had a baby? It’s QUITE the story:  A woman called Catherine, or Kate if you are common like me, had a baby.

If your mind isn’t already blown, then get this ­- the baby is a boy (collective sigh), he has a dad called William (wild!) and they called him George (I was hoping for something more in the line of Brooklyn, Pixie or North).

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It’s an ordinary story, but the people involved (the Royal with a capital R family) are extraordinary. Or are they?

Since moving to London three years ago, I have grown increasingly puzzled by the Royals.

Sure, there was plenty of Princess Diana adoration in Ireland in the 90’s (Irish mammies asked for Lady Di haircuts in much the same way as their daughters asked for a ‘Rachel’ a few years later) and most of us were interested to see how the Queen’s visit last summer would play out, but other than that no one really gives a hoot about the monarchy.

I blithely assumed that it was the same over here, that they royal family was a bit like The Rose of Tralee in Ireland, something a bit old fashioned and embarrassing, but not really doing any harm.

I just assumed that people were grateful for the occasional double bank holiday and too distracted by their own problems, too detached or too weary to care.

It wasn’t until the royal wedding that I realised the flag wielding, royal enthusiasts lining the streets, filling trolleys full of celebratory snacks and novelty cakes in M&S and covering Greater London in bunting weren’t just taking any old excuse for a piss-up, they really cared about Kate and Wills, Harry and the Grande Dame of the whole royal panto herself.

Well wishers wave flags following the royal wedding in 2012
Well wishers wave flags following the royal wedding in 2011

‘This is England’ I thought, the country I love, where Jeremy Paxman skins MPS on Newsnight regularly, Radio 4 broadcasters go for the jugular of their own bosses on air, the land of Leveson and exposing MPS moat and duck- house expenses claims – so where were the dissenting voices?

Except for a handful of ‘party-poopers’ and some seldom-heard republicans, I couldn’t believe the reverence, the respect, the bowing and scraping.

Do the great British nation really believe that these people are where they are because of an inherited God-given right to rule? Did Spitting Image mean nothing? But seriously, do we really still believe in superior bloodlines?

Maybe the great British public really are just too polite to say anything, or to dare mention money.

At the royal wedding (a small intimate do) derrières and designers was discussed ad nauseam, yet very few spoke about the enormous cost.

Of course, we all know that the very private (when they want to be) royal family got rich in a very public way, but no one likes to talk about that – so sod it, didn’t Wills look handsome and wasn’t her dress divine!

A poll by YouGov found 81% of the public want the monarchy to stay, but 41% believed change was needed too, so I fully accept majority rule, but I do still have a problem with an unelected person sitting on a throne.

Maybe all the pomp and ceremony, the crown and curtseying, the protocol and the don’t-speak-unless- you- are- spoken-too, all the importance placed on heirs, Jubilees and state visits act as one big distraction from the meaningless of it all.

Of course, some will argue the monarchy has changed. Some elements (the well-oiled royal PR machine and some, ok most, media outlets) want us to believe that Royal family are ‘normal’ people.

Prince Harry, British royal
Prince Harry At Sandhurst

They work (well some of them do a bit sometimes), they shop at Tesco (or at least one of them has once been pictured outside a Tesco once) and they go to Vegas on private planes with their bodyguards and have naked snooker parties with girls…see!

Just. Like. Us.

I mean, come on…doesn’t every new mum have a stylist, hair and make-up artist on standby after they have given birth?

One thing is for sure, the Royal institution aren’t going to institute change, and as long as the public love and revere them (and are happy to foot the bill) they will remain where they are.

So George, I would wish you luck, but think you already have every advantage life can possibly give at your footstool….

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One comment on “Why I don’t think I’ll ever understand the Royal family”

  1. Louise

    Hi I love u prince Harry

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