Kate and Will: Officially not complete muppets
The outpouring of saccharine dross about the upcoming Royal Marriage has thrown into sharp relief the spectacularly low expectations we have of Royals.
William and Kate are being feted as the saviours of the monarchy largely because they are not foolish, badly behaved muppets and are not an embarrassment to the institution and the country.
Indeed they seem like reasonably likeable, down-to-earth people considering their situation - keeping in mind that I am making a totally uninformed judgment here.
What should be of more interest (or much, much less, depending on here you stand) is that many of their peers seem to think it fair that the English people bankroll their activities, which range from the venal to the inexcusable.
It’s hard to top the antics of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson when it comes to, at best, a complete lack of judgment.
As the UK trade envoy (under which position his expenses were paid reportedly to the tune of 129,000 pounds in 2007 when figures were last available) Andrew apparently seems to think hanging out with a convicted sex offender is appropriate behaviour for a royal.
Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in prison for soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008, but Andrew was reportedly meeting with him as recently as last December.
Epstein also helped Fergie by paying off $25,000 of her debt to help her avoid bankruptcy - an association she admitted later was “a gigantic error in judgment”.
This was the woman who was caught the previous year trying to sell access to Andrew - chalk up one more “gigantic error in judgment”, love.
Andrew’s role has since been downgraded in a bid to lower his profile.
I’m not going to bash you over the head all day with examples of Royal stupidity, but it’s safe to say I could have a good crack.
Whether it’s Prince Harry dressing up as a Nazi, his dad Charles avowing a desire to be a feminine hygiene device or Prince Philip - that’s the Queen’s bloke if you’re having trouble with the hazy honorifics - asking an Australian aborigine in 2002, “Do you still throw spears at each other?”, there’s plenty of material.
But then there are the wonderful Royals.
Remember Princess DI? I can hear you all sighing wistfully as you picture her, overly made up, standing in an operating theatre watching someone with a thousand times her aptitude and worth do something actually useful.
Princess Di is feted, nay, exalted, for her tireless work for land mine victims, HIV and AIDS charities and other charitable causes.
This is somehow seen - not just in her case - as a justification for the royal house these days.
They flit around the globe, drawing with them the illuminating beacon of the international media which burns brightly over a cause for a few minutes before moving on, hopefully leaving it better off for their efforts.
This is all well and good, but they, and she, should not be thought of as saints for this work.
Indeed, if they didn’t do such work, they would rightfully be criticised for being selfish, greedy wastrels suckling at the public teat, which they continue to do, charity work or no.
Drawing attention to good works and cutting ribbons has effectively become the “job” of the Royals, and to celebrate them as selfless philanthropists simply for showing up is letting them off pretty lightly.
I wish William and Kate all the best. Being a Royal would, let’s face it, be a shit of a job. And if they manage to find some comfort and sanity with each other as the most analysed and intruded upon couple in the world, more power to them.
But don’t expect me to care, and don’t expect more than a slow hand clap if they manage to occasionally lend their fame to a cause in need.
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