The Royal Wedding vs Celebrity Culture

Years ago my ancestors will have been confronted with the following drama. As they picked turnips and slop up from the fields of the North of England, or wherever it was they lived, some bloke from The London will have rode up on horseback and demanded money in tribute to his mighty mate. The penalty for not meeting his demands will have been death on the end of this psycopath's sword. "He's already killed Dave," one of the villagers will have warned breathlessly, "he reckons we've got to give him tribute or some guy called King will burn the village down".

Terrified villagers will have in the main relented and those that didn't would have gained a fascinating insight into pain.

Over time this arrangement will has turned into "taxes" instead of tribute and the concept of "some guy called King" will have evolved into a Royal family. The world in which we live has many events like this propping it up.

You, unless you are bloodline royalty, will have ancestors with similar experiences. Doesn't matter where they were from in the UK that's what, approximately, will have happened. Some people have ignored this obvious fact regarding the institution of Monarchy and over time come to love their servitude. These people are called Royalists.

From what I can work out there are two kinds of thinking Royalist. One lot who believe it's a conduit for nationalism and another lot who think they might get something in return at some point.

Firstly, as regards nationalism, if a monarch is intrinsic to our national character then no one ever informed me. Ever. I grew up in this country. I've hardly ever left it. If we didn't have a Queen I reckon we'd still be living in England.

Secondly, with regard to attempting to curry favour, I often wonder if people with access to the media have an OBE in the back of their mind when they support the monarch.

Let me make myself clear: without reservation the oncoming spectre of a royal wedding does nothing other than turn my stomach.

I'm therefore heartened to read a story in The Daily Mail which reacts with a level of horror at the news "We’d rather watch X Factor! Schoolchildren are more excited by reality TV than the Royal Wedding".

"The Royal Wedding may be just six weeks away - but most British schoolchildren would prefer to watch the X Factor, according to [...] Chris Rojek, Professor of Sociology at Brunel University [...]

Professor Rojek says that school-age children do not view the Royals as exciting as their chart-topping favourite acts, as he told the Daily Mail: ‘Getting to be famous by being born into the right bed, like Prince William, is now seen as somewhat dubious, in a way that it wasn’t at the time of Princess Diana and Charles’ wedding."

The tone of the article is (possibly intentionally) amusing but speaks to something I've always argued in the past: reality TV "stars" are actually more worthy of respect than the Royal Family.

Unlike The Royals they've had to make an effort for their fame. Unlike The Royals they are there because they're liked. Unlike the Royals if you ignore them they will go away. And finally, most importantly, unlike the Royals they do not demand tribute from you every month.

Here are a few of the counter arguments to my stance which I've come across:

They're good for tourism and earn more money than we pay in.

RESPONSE: Great, lets stop funding them and allow the institution to become self sufficient.

Who would you replace them with, the likes of Tony Blair?

RESPONSE: Yes, because at least he got voted out. Years from now as 'king Charles takes to the throne Blair will be an unpleasant memory. However, 'king Charles will never get voted out. He'll die in that job regardless of how well or badly he performs.

It's tradition.

RESPONSE So was burning Catholics, denying women the vote, serfdom, jokes about the Irish, etc etc etc.

In the unlikely event that you are a monarchist I'd be interested to hear any other arguments in their favour. Pop them in the comments section. Post anonymously if you like.

Further reading:

Royal wedding could be damp squib for tourism, says official

Visit Britain research chief warns that evidence from previous events points to visitors steering clear of UK around 29 April


Molly said…
Well you could always get a royal wedding sick bag ;]
Anonymous said…
More likely the Royals are a fluffy and approachable set of talking heads for the Orwellian Terror Regime which lurks beneath. Fine, slay the royals, but the beast has many heads and will return in some other, more sinister guise.

Internet licensing anyone? Freedom is dead.
Lord Lloyd said…
You are such a grumpy grots Nick.
Murray said…
Why don't we Unbelievers declare April 29 to be Tom Paine Day instead?

"Most wise men, in their private sentiments, have ever treated
hereditary right with contempt; yet it is one of those evils, which
when once established is not easily removed; many submit from
fear, others from superstition, and the more powerful part shares
with the king the plunder of the rest." (Common Sense, 1774)

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