From "The Tides' Circle Bay's monthly magazine
One of the Brits
In view of a well-publicized recent birth, this time I’ll write about “The Royals.”
The Brits love the Royals, Americans love the Royals, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders – in fact the whole western world loves The Royals.
Well, that is what we, 64 million of us in these crowded islands, are told anyway. Constantly.
Thousands, if not millions, of trees are felled in the process. The recent birth gave royal commentators yet further opportunities to occupy our TV screens and tell us how lucky we are to have them; what a joyful, wonderful, historic occasion this latest birth is; how delightful the parents are. How brilliant. Look! He is carrying the little princess down the steps; see how he opens the car door himself and isn’t she beautiful? How marvelous they are!
That’s why the Americans come here, you know. Because of the Queen and the Royal Family.
Really? Oh yes, they love the pageantry, the tradition, and the history. Without the Royals, well…
The British media puts out this kind of nonsense all the time. Without the Royals, what? No foreign tourists would come to our green and pleasant land? The money markets would collapse? We would sink in to the North Sea? It would be the end of civilization, as we know it?
I don’t think so. We did without them once and carried on quite successfully.
From 1645 to 1660 this England was a Republic. At the end of the English civil war Oliver Cromwell, a Member of Parliament, deeply religious and a brilliant military tactician, was declared “Lord Protector” (and is often described by historians as ‘The father of English democracy’) and had the head of Charles 1st cut off. Charles 1st was the last of the Kings who claimed “The divine right” to rule over us.
I met a “Royal” once. H.R.H. Prince Edward, the Queen’s third son. (Fairly low in the pecking order.) He came to open a local school’s new swimming pool and believe it or not I was invited. Yes, I found it hard to believe myself.
I have to say, it was quite an experience. Police cars, security, helicopter circling overhead, the whole nine yards as you would say. We were all lined up, thirty or forty of us. An equerry then instructed: Don’t shake hands, unless His Royal personage offers his Royal appendage to you, don’t speak unless his royalness speaks to you. Don’t, under any circumstances attempt to photograph his Royal face. By now I was expecting some kind of immortal deity but in fact, when he finally appeared, he was surprisingly ordinary, young, balding, friendly, nice suit. He did speak to me; he didn’t shake my hand. It was all over in a few minutes. He flew off in his Royal helicopter, back to his Royal Palace and his Royal life.
We have not spoken since; I fear we never will.
No, I and slowly but surely more and more of my fellow countrymen, (and women!) view this privileged family, who are, after all, the descendants of warlords, robber barons, invaders and German princelings, as an anachronism. It is seen by many as illegitimate and offensive. The hereditary privilege the Royals and their brown-nosed friends cling on to is past its sell-by date.
It is time the Queen and the Duke retired. It is time Prince Charles and the rest of them got proper jobs and earned their place in the real world absent of the unnecessary deference that, for some reason, is afforded to them all the time. It is time their ownership of vast tracks of the British countryside was given over to the building of houses and apartments for the homeless of this country. It is time their palaces were thrown open to the public. It is time we had an elected House of Lords.
In short: It is time.
I’ll never get that knighthood now.