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I freely admit that, since around my mid-twenties, I have always been something of a royalist. Before my mid-twenties I was, of course, aware of them but, on the whole, as they didn’t have anything to do with me – quite sensibly – they didn’t often really cross my mind.
Around my mid-twenties, I came to the conclusion that it was quite cool to have the most famous royal family on the planet. Why not? Who else had a royal family like ours then? Nobody.
Yes, there were, and are, other royal families dotted about but, even to this day, ours are the best known and, frankly, if you are going to have one at all, ours are the best of the bunch.
Now I’m starting to have doubts. Just small little ones you understand, but doubts none the less.
Clearly, people who would favor a republic don’t want them around. The same applies to those who don’t necessarily mind them being around, but object to them being so extraordinarily wealthy.
Not being a ‘republican’, nor bothering that they are wealthy, I was quite happy to have them around.
The thing is, a royal family have to have some mystique surrounding them. No, I don’t mean that X-Men character with blue skin – albeit that would be fun – I mean they have to seem somehow different to us mere plebs.
That is how it works. That is how it has always worked and, indeed, how it needs to continue working.
Unfortunately, after the late Princess Diana shagged her way through army officer James Hewitt, former England rugby star Will Carling and lung surgeon Hasnat Khan, she ended up in a car with her latest shag target, Dodi Fayed.
The paparazzi / British secret service / a drunken Henri Paul at the wheel (delete as applicable) then caused the car to crash and she died.
That, to me, is when things started to go badly wrong with the royal family. Although it wasn’t their fault really, it was the fault of the British people.
Thousands of complete lunatics, – I beg your pardon – people, lined the streets as her funeral cortege crawled by. They stood there openly weeping and wailing and throwing battered daffodils at the cars.
The media kept calling her ‘The People’s Princess’ for some unfathomable reason, which only seemed to serve to increase the bizarre outpourings of grief from lots of lunatics, – I beg your pardon again – people.
I suppose, to some degree, she was ‘The People’s Princess’, but only the people called James Hewitt, Will Carling, Doctor Hasnat Khan and Dodi Fayed could really ‘lay’ claim to that title (if you’ll pardon the awful pun).
Suddenly the royal family decided – or their advisers decided – that they had to start ‘connecting’ with the people.
I’m sure it sounded like a good idea at the time but, like so many good ideas, it wasn’t.
The ‘mystique’ has slowly been eroded and that is very much to the royal families detriment.
It was fine when Prince Charles talked to plants and called new buildings popping up in London ‘monstrous carbuncles’.
Indeed, many people talk to plants. Some prefer it to talking to the wife. Many people shared his view that much modern architecture was crap.
It was fine when Prince Phillip insulted the Canadians by telling them, on an official visit, that they wouldn’t choose Canada for a holiday or, even more splendidly, advised students in Bulgaria that if they remained there too long they would all get pot bellies. Students in China, or somewhere similar, that if they stayed too long they would develop slitty eyes.
That’s what British royalty did. The Queen Mother drank gin, the Queen was diplomatic and loved everywhere she went, Prince Charles was slightly mad and Phil the Greek went around insulting everyone.
It was all part of the mystique.
Of course, there were some ‘lesser’, or minor, royals who occasionally popped up to embarrass the family. Princess Michael of Kent being a particularly good example. As well as having a mans name in her official title, she was excellent at causing embarrassment.
Princess Anne could be quite good too, once gloriously telling a media reporter to ‘Naff orf’.
Sarah Ferguson? Excellent! Pictures of some bald chap, who’s name escapes me, sucking her toes was superb.
You see, the minor royals, while causing embarrassment to ‘The Firm’, never damaged the overall mystique.
What have we now?
A royal baby called Archie. Archie???
As soon as I heard, I found myself singing that ‘one hit wonder’ by the cartoon characters The Archies, led by Archie Andrews.
“Sugar” do-do-do-do-do-do “Oh honey honey” do-do-do-do-do-do “You are my candy girl” etc etc.
I wondered if he would grow up to be like Archie Bunker, America’s answer to Britain’s Alf Garnett of beloved memory.
Of course, there are people who have an ‘issue’ with the new royal baby being of mixed race, given that his mother, Megan, is half African Caribbean.
Personally, I wouldn’t care less if he was mixed Chinese, Asian, African, Outer Mongolian and French – well, maybe French.
What I do care about is this.
If the royal family is to continue, it will only do so if enough mystique is maintained. All this ‘touchy feely’ stuff just doesn’t work. It’s a modern approach but, unfortunately for them, they are our royal family and, as such, they are not modern. They can’t be. It doesn’t work that way.
We need them to be slightly aloof. We need them to drink gin for breakfast, talk to plants, be loved everywhere, insult people for fun and, if a bit of drama is needed, shag around a bit and die in a tunnel.
What we didn’t need was for all those lunatics, – I beg your pardon – people, to weep and wail and throw battered daffodils around. All this achieved was for the royal family, or their advisers, to think they needed to ‘be in touch’ with us plebs.
No they didn’t. They needed to carry on carrying on like the Royal Family!
And they certainly didn’t need a baby called Archie bloody Harrison either.