Get passed the media fawning, and it’s difficult to see what all the fuss is about.
The media has been in a frenzy over the Royal tour of New Zealand and Australia this month. Morning, lunchtime and evening news bulletins have been filled with gushing segments on Wills, Kate and baby George’s trip to the Commonwealth states. But do the public really care about the Duchess struggling on the beach in wedges, or what toy Prince George didn’t like to play with?
Online sources have also been filled with Royal hysteria and every day each new report brings more irrelevant information; what animals George saw at the zoo or Kate pulling silly faces at someone’s child in the crowd. Kate’s outfits are yet again a focal point at every visit, a twitter search of “royal tour” comes up with endless articles about the “Duchess’s style and fashion” and her “best looks from the tour.” One website even letting you rate or slate her outfit of choice for each day, charming.
Elsewhere in the world a brutal civil war is being waged in Syria, Russia is flexing its military muscles in Ukraine and hundreds are still missing from a sunken cruise ship in South Korea. Whilst back in the UK The Trussell Trust, Britain’s biggest food bank charity, has said it has given out 913,000 food parcels in the last year, 347,000 more from the previous year. It seems bizarre that the media deem the Cambridge’s jolly down under as news worthy in comparison.
It cannot be doubted the Royal family do bring in revenue through tourism to the UK and this tour will boost the Royal image abroad to some extent, but the actual figures speak for themselves. According to the Guardian visitors to Buckingham Palace only brought in £9.3 million in 2012, whereas the Telegraph reported that the total Royal expenditure for the 2012/13 financial year amounted to £33.3 million. The Duke and Duchess’s tour of south east Asia and the South Pacific last summer cost almost £370,000 to the British taxpayer, but did Britain really benefit from this exotic Royal holiday?
The BBC has commented on the Royal couple being treated like “celebrities” and the trip has been a “royal love-fest.” But reports from theNew Zealand Herald and Australia’s One News both contradict this assumption with anguish over the tour costing $100,000 a day to host the couple. Who is really benefiting from these expensive royal excursions? Britain, the host country or the royal couple who have spent time in aluxury lodge in New Zealand which cost £207 per person per night?
Is this not a classic example of the Kings New Clothes? The media continues to tell us how fabulous the royal family are and babble about the great things they are doing for the Britain at home and abroad. Whilst at the same time Princess Anne wants to controversially “gas all the badgers” and the Queen and Prince Charles still are still asked for consent on numerous government bills, exercising the power of veto at their discretion. Why are these unelected individuals still exerting power over our democratic society? As Peter Hitchens said on Question Time “Thank Heaven we are not a democracy.”
But what does the British public really think of the royals? Numerous opinion polls from before the Jubilee in June 2012 demonstrate a high level of support for the monarchy, with 73-82% supporting keeping the monarchy and 76-86% thinking the Queen has done a good job. But admiration is not universal for the Windsor’s, 40-48% think the throne should be passed to Prince William after the Queen dies and skip Prince Charles altogether. Surely this indicates how William’s modern, celebrity style media status has boosted his popularity, compared to his father who is often perceived badly in the press.
A ComRes poll in 2013 revealed 56% of 18-24 year olds polled disagreed that the Royal family is worth the cost, could this be a sign that Royal popularity will diminish with time? For now the media looks set to continue bombarding the public with cooing front page splashes of baby George’s facial expressions and hysteria over Kate’s latest high street dresses. But try to remember that in 2013 the royals spent £200,000 on train service, £2.7m on helicopter maintenance, £2.1m on utility bills, £1.4m on food and drink and £500,000 on printing, postage and stationary. I wonder how many pens you could buy with £500,000?