A royal day for some

Kate and William kiss on the balcony: Courtesy of the Daily Mail

I know that I am known for being cynical about what people deem to be “popular” and “good”, but this is just something that I can’t just let pass by without complaint. Today saw Britain and the World engulfed in Royal Wedding “Fever”. With an estimated two billion people (just less than a third of the world’s population) watching Prince William marry Kate Middleton, it is difficult to deny the worldwide interest in the nuptials of the future King of England.

However, I was not one of these people.

As I have made it extremely clear to all those I encounter and all those who see my posts on social networks, I was not a fan of The Royal Wedding. I just don’t see what the big deal is. Why should London come to a stand still? Why are two billion people interested in a wedding?

The media has completely bombarded us with coverage of the wedding from word one. Ever since the announcement of their engagement in November 2010, news agencies worldwide have attempted to cover every single aspect of the wedding, from what dress Kate would wear, to where the couple would be going on their honeymoon.

I don’t understand why that many people care about the fine details like this. Maybe those interested in fashion would love to see the dress of Kate or a travel agent might care where they’re going on holiday.

My severe dislike of this wedding didn’t really being until a few weeks ago when in France. On television, the only channel in English was, the US news agency, CNN. Every night there was a thirty minute special on the Royal Wedding, hosted by an extremely stereotypical Englishman.

This steadily drove me insane until I was sick of the wedding talk and the constant comparison to the wedding of William’s parents Charles and Diana. My bugs with the coverage continued today, when I woke to find my parents watching the build up to the wedding on Sky News. I am a fan of Sky News, but not of today’s news anchor Eamon Holmes. Seeing his annoying chubby face outside Buckingham Palace only increased my anger. Never have I been so eager to leave the house to go to work.

Before these massive pieces of media coverage, the Royal family had never even registered a thought in my mind. Their lack of appearance in my brain made me think even more. What’s the point of the Royal Family? What purpose do they serve to our country? Do we really need them?

It seems that there is a split in public opinion about the monarchy and whether it is a good or a bad thing.

Monarchists would say that the Royal Family are a symbol of our countries history and act as a perfect representative of our country. The tourism they attract is extremely substantial, with tourists coming from all corners of the globe to visit London and Buckingham Palace.

It is also of the belief that the Queen has much more respect worldwide than that of elected heads of state. That is a useless comparison however. The Queen is only much more respected than elected officials such as Berlusconior Bush as she does very little. She is involved in zero decision-making that affects the

day-to-day lives of people in Britain. If she were to start making tough decisions that actually changed the way people in Britain live, her popularity would plummet.

The symbolic representation the Royal family bring to the world is not a good one. We all question why the Americans stereotypically consider we English as upper class tea drinkers who use an extremely posh accent. By no means does the Monarchy represent the majority of the population. They represent, at most, 5% of the British people and in a multi-cultural, 21st century Britain, is this acceptable? Does the slightly racist Duke of Edinburgh fit into multicultural Britain?

Since the engagement, Kate Middleton has also been referred to as “a commoner” by the media, due to the fact she isn’t a royal. This is despite the considerable wealth of her family. In a BBC special, Kate’s family tree was traced back. The presenter seemed almost disgusted to find that, three generations back on her mother’s side of the family, Kate’s ancestors were miners. A tad ridiculous.

The sexist nature of the Monarchy is also ridiculously outdated in 21st Century Britain. Why should a woman such as Princess Anne be behind Prince Andrew in the line to the throne, despite being older than him? Why should Prince Andrew automatically jump ahead of Anne in the line to the throne, just because he is male? It seems strange that in much more equal times that such a sexist system would still be in place.

Monarchy all round just seems a little outdated to me. Britain needs to enter the 21st Century. I’m not necessarily suggesting abolishing the Monarchy, just improving and updating. Maybe a less sexist, more modern and more democratic system is out there.

With Britain’s voting system being put to referendum next week as it is considered “out-dated” , why should the out-dated Monarchy not face the public vote. This is a simple way to bring the democracy back to the Monarchy. If the public accepts them, we once again live in a democracy.

I know I will once again be dubbed “a cynic” for my opinion but I am interested in hearing everyone else’s opinion on, the wedding, the monarchy and all things royal. Follow me on Twitter @naspearing and tweet me either with the #aroyalyes or #aroyalno to let me know your thoughts. Similarly comment on the post or on Facebook. I am happy to take all your opinions.

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3 thoughts on “A royal day for some

  1. Interesting piece Nick and interesting to see the main reason for your severe dislike of the occassion, the blanket media coverage. I agree that, such coverage does seem excessive, but it is no different to say, the World Cup, another event that has huge hype. People who would previously be indifferent to the event will either be dragged along for the ride, waving their Union Jacks or sticking England football flags on their cars even if they have never previously had an opinion on the royals or football. This drives those with slightly opposite views to have these polarised, due to the overhype of something they have no interest in or dislike. Personally I quite like the monarchy and football, but having lived with someone who loathes football, i can see how these big events can polarise emotions.

    However, press coverage will always be dominated by demand, enough people like royalty and football to keep both on the front and back pages. If interest wanes then the press would move their attention elsewhere. It is all demand led, market forces will always prevail.

    At present there is still demand for the “outdated” pomp and ceremony at home and abroad. Whilst this is seen as value to Britain and its economy, these traditions will continue. However public demand for modernisation will always mean that the monarchy is an ever changing beast. It is very different today to 100 years ago. The monarchy belongs to the people of Britain (and the commonwealth) after all.

    If the public ever lost confidence in the monarchy, that would be the time for a referendum. On the evidence of yesterdays procedings, there is a lot of life left in the monarchy yet. Public referendum would seem a costly and pointless exercise at this juncture.

  2. First of all I am a Royalist. Therefore I thoroughly enjoyed the build up to the big day and I believe it has been a shot in the arm for the Royal family which has attracted some criticism over the past two decades.

    Secondly, let me tackle a large myth which is that we (the tax payer) fund the British Monarchy. In the fiscal year 2007/2008 the Crown Estate paid the Treasury £211.00 million in return for £7.9 million in Civil List payments to the Queen. Using very simple maths you can see that the Royal family gave the country £203.1 million. I think that the public are getting a very good deal, also if you add the tax payed by tourists I believe that figure to be substantially higher.

    You also claimed that democracy should decide whether or not there should be a Monarchy. A recent poll by the Daily Mail indicated that an overwhelming 70% flatly rejected any suggestion of a republic. A telephone poll carried out by the BBC found that almost 80% of people questioned have said Britain should retain its monarchy. If it did go to a referendum, I believe it would be utterly rejected.

    Finally, sexism is a very touchy subject. If I turn this into an analogy I think it may become very interesting. I shall use football as “Matt” has done above. The mens football game is huge but there are women who are just as skilled with the ball and sometimes just as strong as any player in the Premier league. But why are only men allowed in the big football leagues of the world? The answer I believe is Tradition. Since the dawn of football 160 odd years ago men have played the beautiful game. I consider tradition to be the answer as to why the Royal family is reluctant to change its heir line.

    However the Queen has said previously she would accept changes to it;

    “The Queen has indicated her approval of plans to end the ages-old constitutional tradition of the first-born son succeeding to the British throne – a custom known as primogeniture.”
    Via BBC

    I doubt it will happen in the near future, if ever.

    The term Commoner is widely used to describe someone who is not in the Royal family. Katherine was not is not in the Royal family therefore she is a commoner. Also, the Middleton family earned there millions by building and running a successful internet company, I don’t think it is appropriate to imply she is an aristocrat just because she comes from a wealthy family.

    Overall the Monarchy is here to stay, funding itself, and slowly moving with the times.

    Yesterday the Royal couple left in an open top car, with balloons attached, driving themselves back to Clarence House. This is the start of a new generation of royals which will heave the royal family into the 21st Century.

  3. I like your post NIck, but I just think in these modern times, Britain is too dependent on the huge amount of money the Royals bring in through tourism. Yes, I agree the monarchy is outdated and yes, I agree it is sexiest, but whilst Britain is struggling nothing should be done which could possibly upset the income the Royals being in from tourism.

    Whilst I agree the wedding was very overhyped, if you look at the bigger picture it could not have happened at a better time. In a time of cut backs, fee rises etc, the wedding needed to be overhyped to bring in as much money as possible.

    Job well done I say.

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