Recently a rich woman had a baby and many people got excited about it. I am of course talking about the birth of William and Kate’s (AKA the Duke and Princess of… I don’t know…) third baby, although my wife had to tell me about that, because I was busy having a life and being too cool to notice.
The last time I wrote about politics was just prior to last year’s general election, when I likened the Tories to the Galactic Empire from Star Wars; an oppressive and evil regime. This month I’ll be likening the royal family to an underwater fish tank; completely pointless.
I would say I’m definitely a Republican – not in the American sense of the word, which seems to include approving of Trump as president, thinking God is important, and being concerned about what happens in a woman’s uterus. No, I mean in the British sense, which mostly focusses on the removal of the monarchy. Ideally via catapult.
My anti-royal sentiment started when I was eight. I very vividly remember standing amongst crowds along Doncaster High Street, watching the Queen drive by on her way to some ceremonial visit at the town’s Mansion House. My mum asked me if I wanted to see the Queen, and I was quite curious, initially thinking that she was popping into Woolworths for a three pack of old lady knickers. What I actually saw was a bunch of people giddy with excitement, anxiously waiting to wave at a passing Rolls Royce. As she passed, a lady standing next to my mum blurted out ‘oh my god, I can’t believe it’s her!’ I was embarrassed. For her, and the rest of Britain.
Following that, I did some research. I discerned that while the Queen couldn’t actually tell me what to do, nor have my head chopped off on a whim, ala Queenie from Blackadder, she did have some power over those people who we elected to represent us. That didn’t sit right with me, and the next Christmas, as my family gathered around the telly to watch the Queen’s speech, I revealed that I thought she, and the whole royal family, were dumb.
My grandmother passionately disagreed, saying the Queen worked very hard for us all every day. My nan owned several commemorative plates, which sat high on a shelf, adorned with images of the royal family smiling. One, of Charles and Diana holding baby William, was positioned next to a framed photo of my mum and dad holding baby me. I can’t quite remember which one got dusted more frequently.
Trouble is, just prior to my republican revelation, I had completed a school project about the English Civil War. That, famously, ended with the decapitation of the King and the establishment of an English Republic – way before America won independence from the crown, and France made revolutions popular and sexy. We had already killed our monarch, so why were the people of Doncaster almost fainting at the sight of one, and why did my nan not have room on her top shelf for a photo of me at the top of the tallest tree in the park that I printed and framed for her?
Unfortunately the guy that took over after the civil war seemed to be just as big a tyrant as the guy he had executed. I can imagine Oliver Cromwell tweeting a bit like Trump:
GOING TO IRELAND. THEY DRINK LOTS AND SMILE. SAD.
TAKING THE ARMY. LET’S MAKE ENGLAND GREAT AGAIN. #MEGA
However, politics aside, I just hate it when people fawn over wholly unimpressive individuals. Had Stephen Hawking been rolling though Doncaster that day, or had Neil Armstrong been cartwheeling by the Frenchgate Centre, I would have whooped and cheered.
Sure, the Queen seems like a nice old biddy, and the power she has over us is ceremonial and never used, but so is the ‘you can shoot a Scot from the city walls with a crossbow on a Sunday’ law we have here in York. Although it’s very interesting and quirky, and delights the tourists when you tell them, you wouldn’t actually want to see its legally tested, would you?
The trouble is, the royals keep having children and reinventing themselves to appeal to the next generation of their subjects, so their popularity might not die out as soon as I would like. Just think on this: young Prince George might have looked adorable as he greeted President Obama in his dressing gown, but in the future, as King, he might decide to ‘get more involved’ and order ‘his’ Royal Navy to nuke Denmark for a laugh. Jus’ sayin’.