In September of 1982 I was home on leave in Birch Run, Michigan taking some time before heading overseas for four years. My parents were both at work so I answered the doorbell one sunny midmorning. It was a saleswoman. Immediately, she started gushing excitedly about the marriage of Prince Charles to Diana and that the result of that union had just yielded another little royal named William.
I cocked my head and grinned; I actually felt embarrassed for her. She was trying to sell me some kind of commemorative plaque or chinaware or something like that revolving around this cockamamie British royalty BS and I was having none of it. She noticed the wry unconvinced look on my face and stopped talking. She knew she’d run into a definite “no sale” and just asked me if my wife was home.
I told her, “Sure, my wife is here, but she’s from the Philippines and doesn’t know a Prince Charles from a Fred.” So much for that, the young saleslady went on down to the next house to try her luck there.
Even before I ever much contemplated the notion of royalty I was dubious about it. Then, over the years, after considering it every so often when it would come up in the news, I eventually came to the conclusion that the idea of royalty is nonsensical. In fact, the more I know about them—the royals that is, and especially the British royals—the more I came to loathe their continued existence as an institution.
What upsets me more than the survival of modern European royalty is that much of my fellow citizenry continue to fawn over them, as if “these people” are worth even a moment of our attention and even less of our respect.
My fellow Americans, (and fellow commoners!) do you understand how “these people” came to claim these ridiculous titles such as king, queen, prince, princess, duke, earl, duchess, ad nauseum? Well, I’ll tell you. They are nothing more than an invention; a ruse foisted upon our European “peasant” ancestors to convince them that “some people” were anointed by God to be their rulers and betters.
Does it not anger you then that people would continue to hang onto these kinds of obsolete notions? Americans especially should reject this crap, but for the most part, we don’t. It seems like we can't wait to scrape, bow and curtsy all along with the rest of the mindless fools everywhere who kowtow to these pretenders.
It’s pathetic when you think about it. The very idea of royalty is that God, through his divine intervention, caused certain bloodlines to be superior to others. This was rule by divine right—to be “God’s chosen,” so to speak. You would think that a secular Europe would stop lending credibility to this archaic convention, but they don’t. In fact, they seem to embrace it more than ever.
In America we fought a war 200 years ago not just for independence, but also to rid ourselves of idiotic concepts like “the divine right of kings.” My ancestors from Scotland and Ireland left the Old World to escape European heavy-handedness, and much of the excesses from which they escaped were due to their being stuck as “subjects” of a monarch and his royal henchmen, all generally titled as “Sir So-and-So.”
Being a subject meant being “subject to” the capricious whims of some duke or earl, all “sirs” mind you, and all due to the mistaken notion that these people are divinely better than people without the “correct” bloodlines. Almost 300 years ago my Scottish immigrant ancestors finally just said, “kiss my arse” to that idea and left all that garbage behind; and I agree with that sentiment every bit as much today.
A “subject” is someone who owes allegiance to a king or queen, not necessarily to a country, not to freedom, not to a constitution, but to a flesh-and-blood person. That is old-fashioned archaic malarkey and yet the Brits still officially talk about owing allegiance to the Queen. Even our Canadian cousins to the north still consider themselves her highness’ “subjects.” If they can stomach such a thing then fine, but for Americans to continue to worry about how to correctly curtsy or bow to Queen Elizabeth is a nauseating thing for me to watch.
Speaking of the Queen, she came across the pond to “the colonies” not long ago, and much of the talk on the news was of the various foul-ups committed by just about any “crass” American who came within spitting distance of the old girl. I think Nancy Pelosi made a supposed booboo when she reached out and shook QE’s hand without the queen having proffered hers first. Oh my word! And when President Bush made another of his continuous speechifying faux pas and then turned and winked at the queen, from the reaction you’d of thought he’d just asked her out for a date. Unforgivable! I could hardly stand to watch and listen to any of that idiotic drivel and mostly didn’t.
I had the opportunity the other day to speak to an expatriate Englishman on this very topic. Mark is his name, and with his deeply tanned, well-muscled sleek physique combined with his long sun-streaked brown hair, he looks more like a surfer from Southern California than a Limey. He’s a good fellow and I thought I’d ask him how he and his “mates” feel these days about the British aristocracy.
Basically, he had nothing to say about the royals at all, and certainly nothing good to say about them. Mark claims that most of the people he knows back in the UK, including him, think it a complete waste of government money. He reminded me that there’s a heck of a lot more to the royal lineages than just the queen and the princes. He reminded me that the whole country is pocked full of these royal bastards, as he referred to them.
I asked him, “Why do you guys put with it? I mean, think about it Mark, these arrogant jerks have the gall to call someone not of their bloodline to be MERE commoners! Doesn’t that irritate you that they would dare to continue to call people COMMONERS? I mean for chrissakes, that’s the height of arrogance, don’t you think?”
“Oh yah, a lot of us have had it with them. But what can you do? And truthfully, I just don’t think of it all that much. I just ignore them.”
I yielded a little saying, “I have to say that I DO think it’s a good thing that Harry and William are serving in your military, but it almost seems like they do it more out of some kind of guilt complex or because its expected of them. I just wish some of OUR rich boys would find it within themselves to serve, but we haven’t had rich people like that since World War Two. So GOOD for the princes!”
Concerning the royals, for the most part what I got from English Mark was indifference, as if he has better things to worry about. Still, considering how little he cares about the queen, a woman he’s supposed to be pledged to as a citizen of England, his blasé attitude says a lot. It tells me that if most of the “commoners” of the UK feel as he does then perhaps the future of British royalty IS very much in question.
If I were British, I’d demand the immediate dismantlement of all things royal. I would consign its trappings to the trash heap of history. At the very least I'd consign them all to a musty old museum, the perfect place for old irrelevant things.