Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Nation

It would be hard to explain the Royal family to Spock, who'd no doubt respond with something about how "that's not logical, captain".

And he'd be right, it isn't. But then humans aren't, valuing drama, ceremony and story telling in our leaders, all of which the royals richly provide. And that being the case there is some reason to split the colour and theatre of figure heads away from power which should, at least in theory, permit the government the space to do the job of governing.

There is of course another side: the degree in which national identity is closely entwined with that of the royals. The BBC presenter noted how every monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066 had been crowned in Westminster Abbey, which would represent nearly a thousand years of unbroken national tradition.

But what nation? I would not be surprised if there were phone calls to the Beeb about how there were separate Welsh and Scottish ruling families, and that this near millennium of coronation applies solely to the English.

For while Royals do a good job at connecting to all of the home nations there is an undoubted bias towards one in particular. The wedding service was performed by the head of the Church of England, in the capital of England, in English, as part of an English line of royals, wrapped up by that rousing chorus of William Blake's, a homage to England's green and pleasant land.

Bah! you're probably thinking: they're Germans or Greeks, not English!

I'm not sure how important that is, given we are all mongrel mixtures, but if it were think of this. Diana and Kate, the last two brides to marry those directly in line to the throne, both came from solid English families and so William and Kate's children will be at least three quarters English.

And if I had to bet I'd say that when their time comes to pick up the royal standard, maybe for that millennium in 2066, their list of titles will include King or Queen of England.


Tillerman said...

Woo hoo! I'm rooting for (future) Queen Beatrice.

O Docker said...

I think I can understand this, JP. If I were asked to name one British institution above all others that was purposeless, wasteful, anachronistic, and thoroughly out of touch with modern western cultural norms, it wouldn't be royalty.

It would be millinery.

Tillerman said...

For once, O Docker and I almost agree on something. As someone in Washington said last night, "How wonderful it is to live in a country where people don't have to wear hats like that."

JP said...

I think you are confusing us with the country that gave the world Lady Gaga

Tillerman said...

Lady Gaga is the standard by which we judge the character and decorum of English princesses now?

JP said...

I can think of no other possible excuse for Beatrice and co.'s hats.

tillerman said...

I think that Beatrice and The Other One were exhibiting extremely good manners by wearing silly outfits to their cousin's wedding. They didn't want their natural Ferguson/Windsor beauty to outshine that of the bride. That's the sort of kindness that makes them true princesses.