James Snell asks whether it’s finally time to think about a republic.
The baby is born! The die is cast! The umbilical cord has been severed, and with it, any hopes of privacy and freedom for the latest addition to our dear royals. The prince, who is now universally famous merely because of the body he gestated in, is known the world over; he now faces the privileges and pitfalls that accompany such illustrious parentage.
He is, after all, just a child. Yet is already embroiled in a morbid state of being, whereby he is meant to simultaneously long for and fear the deaths of his eldest ancestors. When each one in turn dies, he will advance further towards the ultimate prize, in the conveyor belt of the monarchy: littered with piles of blue-blooded corpses. What a fate for an impressionable young child, who will know from an unhealthily early age that he is oddly venerated by a public with which he has no contact! He will be valued, but only for his breeding pedigree: like a racehorse or hound.
He will be valued, but only for his breeding pedigree: like a racehorse or hound.
For, like that of those who bore him, his sole purpose in life is to successfully mate, thus continuing the plague of anti-democratic, ‘faux friend-of-the-people’ offspring that this supposedly civilised world cannot get enough of.
His parents have done their duty, by procreating and then not dropping the child in the haze of cameras outside the hospital. They have ended their functional use. If they want a ‘spare’, it will be encouraged, but apart from that, the dreadful burden passes on to the next generation.
And this obsession ̶ from foreign climes as well as our own ̶ will have a hugely detrimental effect upon the child’s emotional development. As I predicted in my début column for this very site, daily exposure to the adoring masses will expand the ego and engender the qualities and mannerisms resulting from royal exceptionalism:
“Waking a baby up with a dawn chorus of flashbulbs is not one for potentially inflamed egos, and since no royal of the internet generation has managed to be ‘normal’ (and the weirdness extends further than that, look at Prince Charles) this is a dangerous route to take.”
A poll published in last week’s Sunday Telegraph appears to demonstrate that we are all happy subjects, and that the current inhabitants of all of those palaces can stay there forever. Once again, a poll of this nature shows the stupidity and blind populism of the general public. Come the first diversion, when the current state of royal affairs is not all sweetness and light and babies, this new-found nationalism will reverse.
A divorce or a death will be all it takes, perhaps of a young and pretty one? That will be it. Another annus horribilis. It is foolish to assume that one birth has permanently either changed or cemented attitudes, and as a country we are rather to susceptible to crowd-pleasing, gooey sentimentality.
When the post-baby buzz wears off (I’d give it three months) then we can return to national normality and have the eminently sensible position of a republic advanced without fear of the oppression created by jolly ‘patriots’. Maybe then, we might have a sliver of a chance to ditch this medieval throwback, and move on as a vibrant, electorally diverse and forward-looking democracy. Perhaps then we can finally look other Western nations in the eye again, and not have this issue obfuscated away with the endless promise of reform.
The monarchy is damaging and idiotic by its very nature: a remnant of a time when a strong national leader was the norm, and perhaps even necessary for success in the cut-throat world of yesteryear. No amount of ‘reform’ will change that salient fact, and so we must arrive at the conclusion that the only way to improve the ailing office of Head of State is to make it accountable to the ballot box.