Arise, Sarah Ferguson, a Royal who can pay her way
One of the great buzzwords of modern corporate wankery is “monetise”, an unattractive, cooked-up verb meaning to make money out of something. While I’m reluctant to contribute to its spread, it’s about time someone came out and congratulated the Duchess of York for finding a way to monetise the Royal Family.
Her bold move to sell access to her former husband Prince Andrew for £500,000 has been condemned by many as a debasement of everything the Royal Family stands for.
It is obviously just that, as for centuries the Royal Family has stood firmly for the view that it is the God-given birthright of its eccentric members to live high on the hog at terrific public expense.
There is a disturbing trend in modern democracies such as the United Kingdom, Australia and, most spectacularly, in the United States for cashed-up private citizens to buy access to senior members of government.
What Fergie was proposing was not even remotely disturbing, because it involved the provision of a fee, for absolutely no service in return, from an outfit which is now a politically-neutered historical anachronism.
It was a near-perfect socialist redistribution of wealth, whereby some toffy-nosed name-dropper with more money than sense would have done his dough paying to meet Prince Andrew, in return for which Prince Andrew would do precisely nothing.
But it is only near-perfect. The ideal scenario would be that the £500,000 meeting fee would be redirected to general revenue to relieve the British taxpayers of some of the significant cost of the Royal Family’s upkeep. On the grounds of fairness – especially after the Royals stiffed her out of so much cash with a paltry divorce settlement of just £15,000 a year – it would be nice if Fergie could keep a percentage on a commission basis for her excellent work as a go-between.
Subscribers to Hello! Magazine and cravat-wearers who dream of the golden years of the British Empire will splutter into their amontillado about the nouveau-riche (or in her case, not so riche) conduct of the apparently gouging Sarah Ferguson.
From my vantage point it looks like merely another brilliant contribution from a loud, boisterous, down to earth woman who along with the late and excellent Princess Diana deserves unyielding praise for helping to expose the quaint stupidities which underpin the Royals.
That said, it’s a bit weird that she reckons she can’t actually get a job. But you could probably also blame that on the company she used to keep when she was married. None of them have got one either.
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