Would someone please tell me the point of the Royal Family?

Posted on April 16, 2009


This week, Barack Obama flew into Britain on a wave of good intentions and an overwhelming popularity that has not been seen in the hands of an American official for decades, possibly not since JFK. With the election of the charismatic, in touch and laid-back Obama its suddenly become cool to like America again.

After eight long years of the world’s politicians slowly backing away as from George W. Bush as he sat on the floor, scribbling on the Oval office walls with crayon, it’s quite a jarring shock to see every politician trying to become Obama’s new best friends.

Even the Queen got in on the act, putting her hand around Michelle Obama’s waist (when an Australian minister hugged the Her Majesty several years ago he was forced to resign upon his arrival home for his gross misconduct). “Aww,” said the voice inside the minds of media commentators and old women everywhere “isn’t that nice, giving her a hug, the sweet old dear. She’s just like us”. A nice notion for sure, but it is one that time and again has been proved to be false outside the heads of misty-eyed, so-called patriots.

As if to prove my point, step forward Prince Philip, the walking, talking, embaressing sound-bite making machine. Prince Philip is a man seemingly intent on having the biggest hand possible in ruining the perception of the royalty at home and abroad. A man so infuriatingly ignorant and out of touch as to be at the very least a borderline racist. And that’s just in public. Phil the Greek’s shining imput into the world of global politics and diplomacy this week consisted of interrupting Barack Obama’s conversation with the Queen, whom he was telling about his meeting with the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese that morning. Can you see where this is going? Yep, “gaffe-prone” Phil shuffled up to the most powerful man in the world and balked “Could you tell them apart?”. Right next to a microphone. Nice one your Highness. Jolly good japery.

Except it’s not. And its not the first or even second or third time that The duke of Edinburgh has suffered from foot-in-mouth disease. If any other public figure, celebrity or television/radio personality had made such remarks they’d have been dragged into their boss’s office so rapidly the soles of their shoes would be likely to catch fire, but when HRH Prince Philip does it all we really got was several news reporters tutting remarks that equated to them saying “oh what a character he is!” in a manner more befitting those times when granddad starts swearing at the telly at Christmas

Prince Philip is really just the tip of the iceberg. This year alone we’ve had the revelations that Prince Charles calls the only Asian at his polo club “Sooty” (although he apparently likes it as a term of endearment) and the unnervingly similar story of his son Harry referring to one of his comrades as “Paki” (and choosing a rather unorthedox fancy dress costume some years beforehand.). Its entirely possible, and indeed likely, that in both of these cases the afflicted party doesn’t mind, but one question remains: if they did find it
offensive, would they dare speak out against the royals? Surely the army commanders would take the side of Harry Wales? And why risk jeopardising social and business links within one of the country’s most prestigious social clubs? Especially since the Windsor’s have been members for decades.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the entire royal family is racist (just Prince Philip), but they live such sheltered lives, so far removed from reality that they simply do not know when they behave like national embaressments. Nobody tells them they were wrong, they just continue to live in their own dimension, ocasionally visiting a little planet we like to call “Earth”.

Case in point: Whilst millions upon millions are suffering job-losses and repossesions due to a global monetary crisis, Charles tells the media that we should stop worrying about the economic train-wreck and instead focus on climate change some more. Amazingly he thought this would be an excellent idea, probably since his place on the Civil List (the royal’s wage scheme)
has secured him a ludicrous amount of money for the past sixty years and will continue to do so for the remainder of his days (which in turn will be lengthier than normal due to the fact he does a miniscule amount “work” in his life.)

Even more annoying is the fact that te best arguments anyone can come up with to keep the royals are tradition (it was traditional to repress women and subjugate Africans but we’ve managed to live without those traditions for a while), andthat they bring in tourism. Surely if thats their main function then the fact that we pay so much in taxes to keep them makes that slightly redundant. Heres a better idea, evict the Windsors and make Buckingham palace into a giant museum to the outdated tradition of the royal family and charge extra money on ticket sales into the palace, thus raising tourism revenue. That way we could preserve the tradition in a way that makes actual sense, instead of allowing such a voluminous and pointless family free reign over our money and time.

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