A WALT DISNEY FAIRY TALE IN A NON-FAIRY TALE WORLD
- The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is nearly upon us. Cable news channels are ramping up for 24×7 coverage. Brits of all shapes and sizes are busting at the seams, and people around the world who yearn for the days of Princess Diana are coming out of the woodwork like crazy. Why?
Think about it: On April 29, millions upon millions of people the world over will watch the wedding of a woman who is only famous because she is marrying a man who is only famous because he happened to be born into a family that has been declared royal by the British government. And you thought Kate Plus 8 was ridiculous?
While I somewhat understand the delusional fixation the British themselves have with the whole monarchy thing, the celebrity-worshiping obsession that millions of Americans seem to have with this fairy tale escapes me. Given that British Royalty has essentially been ceremonial for the last 400 years or so, the whole thing is a bit bread and circuses, don’t you think?
I mean hey — let’s talk seriously for a minute. Prince Charles (“His Royal Highness, The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales,” to be precise) seems like a nice enough chap, but Pee Wee Herman even thinks he’s prissy. Here’s a guy who’s waited around his entire life to become king, only to realize that he may in fact be passed over in favor of his number-one son, Prince William. (who also has a long pompous name) So what does Poor Charles have to show for it? By most accounts, an annual income in excess of $29 million. Not bad for a king in waiting, huh?
So what does the Prince of Wales actually do all day? I mean, what exactly does he do for a living anyway?
According to the Mirror, Charles is a very busy fellow indeed. In addition to 25 or so “royal engagements” per week, (shaking hands and cutting ribbons), he devotes a fair amount of time to his pet causes, which include the environment and organic farming. He seems to visit quite a few factories and businesses and such, where he passes out lots of “well done; carry on.” compliments. (and more handshakes of course) At an event in Halifax, Charles spent so much time shaking hands that the concert band was forced to play God Bless the Prince of Wales three times.
Between jaunts around Britain aboard the Royal Train, or by way of his dark blue Jag, Charles finds time to squeeze in get-aways to former British Colonies for more pomp and circumstance. All things considered, not a bad gig for the money.
For a majority of Brits, (referred to as monarchists), support of the Royal Family is inextricably linked to patriotism. Conversely, a significant portion of the population is becoming increasingly vocal in its opposition to the monarchy, calling it an expensive and unaccountable institution, particularly during weak economic times in an increasingly competitive world.
The bottom line is this: The monarchy costs British taxpayers in excess of $100 million a year; principally for the purpose of allowing the queen’s royal subjects to feel good about themselves and forever bask in the glory of the “good old days” of the British Empire.
Oh, and for all you crazy American monarchists, be sure to visit the official Royal Wedding site. It’s pretty impressive; Cinderella would be jealous.