Like his Great Aunt, Harry is the Royals’ secret weapon
My parents only ever had two reasons for sotto voce exchanges. Those secret impassioned conversations always ended when I entered the room with them shaking their heads, unable to contain one final utterance, “A complete disgrace. Ruining the family name.”
So, either my sister had gone among the Macedonian boys again, or Princess Margaret had been snapped with a new suitor.
Mick Jagger, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Keith Miller, Roddy Llewellyn, rock star, actor, actor, sportsman, photographer, tinker, tailor, soldier, toyboy. The woman’s ever-present fag and sleepy eyes looked appallingly post-coital. And the presses ran overtime and the photographers camped cold nights in hawthorn hedges and Princess Margaret became the dark star of a theatre in which the great unwashed passed judgment on Royalty.
It is psychologically enriching to be better than your betters. Over the garden fences, neighbor-to-neighbor we excoriated Margaret. But in our conversations with ourselves we loved her showing us the hollowness of the royal claim.
Paradoxically, Princess Margaret’s dalliances playing in News Of The World, instead of making the Royal Family look tawdry and immoral, showed them to be … like us.
Despite having been elephant-stamped by God, this woman stumbled through life on feet of clay, and her family suffered her tawdry doings stoically and we could all relate to that suffering, having an uncle of sister of equivalent disrepute.
And how lily-white did our Monarch look, opening parliaments and remaining loyal to her Prince, alongside her sister who was flagrantly doing neither? We couldn’t help but admire Elizabeth, a stoic, exemplary figure suffering the disgraces of a tearaway sibling. Thank God she was our Queen rather than Margaret. It’s a cinch being seen as a saint when your sister is no better than she ought to be.
The royal minders must have been horrified when The Margaret Show first broke on the world. The sudden intrusiveness of the press, cameras zooming in from unfathomable distance, headlines saying whatever they pleased, a mood of permissiveness in the air giving their charges dangerous ideas of free love. How could this be controlled?
But pretty soon they realized that Margaret was running blindingly good interference for the Queen. The hoi polloi seemed to be thanking God that Elizabeth was their Queen. They seemed to think that they had won a fifty-fifty bet with the devil. And Margaret wasn’t half willing to play bad cop.
For some Margaret showed the human face of the Royal Family and made them real, connected them to their subjects. For others she showed how lucky we were that the monarch was a saint. Just look what we might have had. And who wants to storm the palace when you can pity and empathize with its inhabitants?
Once the Royal minders cottoned on to this dodge it was inevitable they’d play it again and again. Good cop, bad cop. White rose, black sheep. Don’t offer the people a choice between a Monarchy and a republic. Offer them a choice between a noble, faithful monarch and a libidinous ne’er-do-well.
They will count themselves lucky to get the former. They will feel they survived a narrow scrape, if you can paint Margaret black enough. The libidinous ne’er-do-well has become a royal staple since Margaret stumbled unwittingly into the role.
Hence Prince Andrew became the next generation’s libidinous ne’er-do-well. A stalking horse, a tethered goat, he was a whole circus of bleating critters for the press to chase to ground.
And he did his best in the role. In any normal generation it would have been enough. But despite his staccato gaffes and his wife’s mind-bogglingly guileless fumblings at court and her skirt-lifting calisthenics in the clubs of London, they were unable to run interference between the press and the heir to the throne.
King Kong buggering himself on Big Ben could not have distracted the public from the idiocy and sexual chicanery of Charles and Diana. Andrew, brave Andrew, with an erotic masseuse here and a Gaddafi or so there, didn’t stand a chance. As a tethered goat to draw the leopard of the press, he was a failure.
Now his nephew Prince Harry has been photographed playing strip-billiards in Vegas with a couple of hotties. A naked romp, the papers say. An improvement from dressing as a Nazi at a fancy dress party, for my money. Still, the Queen is reported to be shocked. But then, the Queen has been reported shocked more often than R.P.McMurphy.
Clarence House has asked U.K. media to “Respect the prince’s expectation of privacy.” I don’t even have one of those myself, and no one is vaguely interested in me. If Harry truly has an expectation of privacy then he is even stupider than his slender gene pool would excuse.
But you see the real storyline emerging here around this kid. A hundred and eighty million dollars a year on Royal security and they couldn’t stop these photos? The royal minders have chosen him as this generation’s royal tethered goat. A bleating, fornicating, morsel to draw the press. Because in my reckoning, if there isn’t a manservant-hulk standing by to prevent nude photos in which Harry is handling his royal jewels, then there must be a manservant-hulk standing by to encourage such idiocy.
So the-powers-that-be have decided he is to be the new Princess Margaret. It will give us a lot of dark fun. Prove irrefutably, one more time; we are better than our betters. And ease his brother’s path to the monarchy.
Soon we will be thanking God Wills is our King and not Harry. Thanking our lucky stars our head of state is a good, wise, reasonable person, when it could so easily have been otherwise.
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