The Royal Wedding (A Rant)

What is it that makes us as a society so taken with the idea of royalty? Why is it that we label certain people as celebrities just for having been born to the right family? Granted, kids are told from the beginning stories of enchanted worlds where princes save damsels in distress, and princesses can feel a pea through forty mattresses (inbreeding apparently producing super-sensitivity). But is that really it? Do a few old fairy-tales about Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty really drive our fascination (and in many cases, creepy adoration) of actual royalty?

Now to clarify, I don’t tend to have a problem with most fairy-tales. Classism and swooning aside, some of the characters are fairly admirable. Princes ride around on snowy steeds, righting wrongs (the princes, not the steeds- though I’m sure they help). Princesses exhibit kindness to beggars and orphans (who tend to be fairies in disguise- but at least their hearts are in the right place). Kings and queens rule fairly and justly- all in all, they royalty isn’t half bad.

What I don’t get is how people think the royalty in our world is anything like that.

Let’s face the facts, historically, the nobility has been anything but noble. Inbreds, psychopaths, murderers, rapists, egomaniacal hedonists- these are the actual individuals who’ve comrpised royalty over the millennia. The kings and queens who weren’t dementedly evil (your Caligulas, your Bathorys, etc.) were either incompetent (your John Lacklands, your Ramses Vs, etc.) or apathetic (your Charles VIIs, your Louis XVIs, etc.). These were all individuals who, to varying degrees, claimed to have the go-ahead from God (or the gods- depending on the situation) to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, without fear of repercussion. Combine this with the constant threat of assassination by someone within your own family, and you’ve got perfect formula for producing self-absorbed, emotionally imbalanced maniacs capable of sending their own people to the slaughter at a whim.

“Ok,” you might argue, “but what about the good ones? Elizabeth II? Charlemagne? Asoka? What about all the iconic men and women associated with their nation’s golden ages?”

An interesting point, but I don’t think not running your empire into the ground is quite enough to constitute being a “good” monarch. The fact that every once in a long, long while, some ruler would actually make an effort to establish justice says more against royalty than for it.

“Alright,” you might reply, “but the days of the Draculs and the Romanovs have long since passed. The royalty of today are ceremonial at best.”

And that’s most of the problem right there. For being born to the right family, certain men and women still find themselves enjoying wealth, protection, and the inexplicable admiration of a number of fellow citizens. Imagine if, out of the blue, it was decided that Steve the mechanic was somehow special. Imagine if we had Steve’s face on every stamp, coin, and if before every film we had to rise for a short video of Steve walking around (a Thai thing- not British). Imagine if every major news outlet on earth had special coverage of Steve’s daughter’s wedding, for the sole reason that she was the daughter of Steve, and therefore her life is somehow special.

This is what bugs me. By accident of birth, some people are entitled (literally entitled) to enjoy fame, security, and luxury. It flies in the face of all our affirmations of basic  human equality. It’s a withered relic of a more ignorant time. It’s a continued waste of public money. How much goes into maintaining these people? Actual “incomes” (quotations required here- “income” implies work) aside, how much goes into the cars, the bodyguards, the pomp and circumstance? This is all hard-earned cash from the public that by all rights should be serving and protecting the public- not one random family whose distant ancestors happened to be megalomaniacs.

Now with all that in mind, I’m against protesting the upcoming (April 29th) wedding of William Windsor and Kate Middleton. I’m not saying I’m for celebrating it either. Ultimately, my issue is with the mindless inequality the whole concept of royalty is based on. William and Kate, despite the clamor being made about them, are just two people, and I think that people ought to have the right to marry each other without being screamed at. Don’t get me wrong- the wedding is almost certainly going to be a grotesque display of excess, decadence, and opulence, but in the end it’s just two people- two perfectly ordinary people- getting married. Screaming ourselves hoarse on the 29th is going to be just as bad going along with the royal fever. Again, don’t misunderstand me. I think the royalty- all royalty– should be abolished, and if we’re going to burn Buckingham to the ground, let me throw the first molotov. It is because I believe Windsor and Middleton are no different than you or I that I am against protesting their marriage. I believe that they should be given the same treatment as everyone else- no better, and no worse, and I’m guessing we can all agree that we would all want the opportunity to get married without having crowds roaring outside.

That said, I hope you’ll all join me on April 30th in “calling off with their heads!”.


1 Response to “The Royal Wedding (A Rant)”

  1. 1 bad dog
    June 12, 2011 at 3:50 am

    I import craftsman made products of various kinds (expensive stuff) from the UK and sell it in China. In doing so we help to support 50 – 60 respectably paid, skilled and highly skilled labour jobs in the UK. The royal wedding, the royal family and all of the nonsense and pomp that surrounds it is the best advertising that we can get. Good on em.

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