Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Tuesday, 5 July 2005

Vultures and Voyeurs

The future King William V has arrived on our shores to perform his first Royal engagements "on behalf of grandma", as 3 News put it in a usual display of adolescent angst. And the vultures and voyeurs in the media are drooling over him.

Not only a Prince of the blood, but such a hunk! And he's single, ladies, hold on to your corsets! Will the babe visiting children in the Starship Hospital. Hunky (and single) Prince William laying a wreath. Down-to-earth Wills yells "Awesome!" at the cameras, and hugs a passing waitress. "He's so hot!" she giggles to Our Correspondent.

This sort of salivating press attention makes me ill. I realise that a certain amount of vulgar speculation is inevitable when Prince Charming comes to visit. And to a point, from a Monarchist point of view, the attention is a good thing. The more positive press the Family gets, the better. But the press isn't concentrating on his future role, his preparations for it or his royal duties and the events he is attending. The press is too busy mooning over his dreamy eyes. And worse than that, they are comparing his "laid-back style" and "easy manner, reminiscent of his late mother" with The Queen's devotion to duty and proper reserve. Even the visit of the future King has become a stick with which to beat the monarchy, and a re-inforcement to the culture of celebrity worship. The media are treating the Prince like Robbie Williams or Michael Jackson. They are not giving him the respect to which his position entitles him. Instead of bowing, they are screaming girlishly. Instead of seeing him as future King, we see him as a rock star. "Is William what the monarchy needs....the new broom for the House of Windsor....?"

I was reading my new second-hand copy of the Selected Works of Dr. Samuel Johnson yesterday. And the editor thereof had included some of his private devotions and prayers. As I began to read, I felt like an agog and vulgar spy in the Confessional. I don't propose to quote any, but he bared his soul, and his sin, to the pages of his devotional journal, listing his faults, prayers, and resolutions to do better with ruthless honesty. I felt like I was looking into his soul. And I felt horribly dirty, voyeuristically reading his sins and confession like a vulture. I shut the book, and put it down. I have heard confessions from my Sunday School class, in an informal Protestant way, and I have confessed to my own Spiritual director. I decided "Do as you would be done by" applied, and I elected to cover Dr. Johnson's feet of clay. I didn't need to know, I regret knowing, and I don't need to read the rest. Some things are between a man and God, and I marked down the editor for not respecting that. I decided I would.
I shut the book.

William looks like being a very good Prince of Wales. But he faces challenges which his ancestors, some of them much worse, never did. Charles II, Henry VIII, and even George V did not have "The News of the World" camping outside their houses, poking into rubbish bins, taking pictures through bathroom windows, and demanding soul-baring interviews. And because they did not, what Her late Majesty the Queen-Mother called "The mystique of the monarchy" was maintained. Farmers in Cornwall, clergy in Yorkshire, and the King's people all around the world all would have, and did say: "The King is the King. God Save Him". The King is not an ordinary man. He is a godly Prince. And, as the Cornishmen, the Welsh and the Dominions did, we could be reliably summoned to every war from the English Civil War to the Malayan Emergency of 1952 and all of them in between, by a danger, no matter how remote, to his Person, Honour and Sacred Majesty.

Her Majesty understands this, that she is ours, and we are hers. That is why she maintains the sacredness and consecration of her office. She stands above mere celebrity. Those in the media who wish to drag the Throne into the mire of popular culture do not. Of course, the monarchy must maintain the support of the people, through personal example. And of course, there will always be interest in their private lives. But there are some things we just do not need to know. I don't need to know the brand of tampon used by the Princess Royal. I don't need to know the details of the Prince's sex life, or lack thereof. I don't need to read panegyrics to his dream-boat eyes, worthy of sixteen year old girls, published in respectable newspapers. For God's sake, let the celebrity-worship die. Let's rebuke the vultures, and shut the book. And let us pray that the country can survive a King with his flaws under a telephoto lens.

Pitt the Younger (originally posted here)