Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Pointless Post About Lust and Royalty

(Here's one for CyberKitten.)



Americans historically seem rankled by the idea of royalty. Our political bloodline does not acknowledge the validity of hereditary rule; indeed, popular democracy is diametrically opposed to it.

But we've become a more tabloid society in the past few decades, and Britain's royal family seems to possess this strange dual citizenship where they are constantly hounded by a rabid and scurrilous tabloid press, and yet they also represent centuries of noble tradition brought right into the present day. They may not have any real importance whatsoever (that's true of celebrities generally), but they become noteworthy when millions of people deem them so.

I became more aware of this during last summer's visit to London. We walked from central London out past Hyde Park to our hotel, and along the way we passed Buckingham Palace. There happened to be a military flyover and parade in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Falklands war, and everything was centered around the Queen's residence. I had been chewing on the whole rule-by-royal-bloodline business during our trip, and as we walked we stopped a local policewoman and I asked a badly-formed question about heredity in the royal family (specifically, I wondered why Prince Philip was not the King, and why Elizabeth's mother became the Queen Mum when Elizabeth ascended the throne rather than just remaining Queen until her death? The constable laid it all out for us, thanks).

I occasionally have reason to think about this when the royal family is in the news (usually one of our own tabloids at a supermarket checkout), and my middle-aged, lecherous self got a jolt of royal news yesterday when I stumbled upon mention of one Kate Middleton. I had to look her up, naturally, and it seems that she is being positioned to be, oh, only the Queen of England. She has been dating Prince William for about four years, and they are widely expected to announce their engagement, perhaps yet this year.



Of course, their marriage--and Ms. Middleton herself--needn't matter a whit. But insofar as the whole of British society seems taken by the matter, and given that the royal family is immensely wealthy and does, after all, still wield great diplomatic authority (and even some policy influence), it becomes news.



I'm lying if I don't say that half of my incentive to look up the details of Ms. Middleton was because she's a magnetically beautiful woman--no, let's be real: she looks like a college hottie. It's not hard to imagine how she caught William's eye, but the consequences of her dating the future King of England give the story some spice. Even more so because she is from an utterly un-royal background. The daughter of a couple of flight attendants ascends to the throne of England; it has a romantic pull for the ages. Imagine a schoolgirl dreaming of the young prince, and the impossible alignment of planets for events transpire such that he discovers her and asks her out and then makes a steady go of it. What must her parents make of this development? By most accounts, she has played her hand carefully and with great skill. She seems very poised, and she deals with the crush of papparazzi attention with ease and self-possession.



I suppose this is just what the courtship between young princes and princesses looks like. But this one promises to keep the process interesting. Or at least beautiful to look at.

***

One other thing. It seems obvious that Prince Harry is the son of Princess Diana and the man with whom she admitted having an affair, one James Hewitt (William bears a distinct resemblance to both Charles and Diana, and Harry not at all). Hewitt and the Princess of Wales claimed that they met only after Harry was born. But his appearance casts doubt, and given that these people are carrying on the teetering concept of a royal bloodline it seems odd that courtesy or decorum would keep the family from doing a simple DNA test. Is it only that Harry is currently #3 in line for the crown, and so there is no pressing need for the tumult and humiliation? That seems noble, but insofar as he may not actually carry the bloodline I'm surprised it's not looked into.

(I warned it was a pointless post.)

8 comments:

Jeffy said...

I'll take all the pointless posts you care to make that include more photos of Kate. I am sure are plenty around, given how busy the paparazzi always are with the royal family.

wunelle said...

Elizabeth herself was quite the picture in her youth, I believe.

But this story has all the ingredients for massive press coverage and... fun pictures! (Insert twenty-something woman's sounds of icky revulsion here.)

CyberKitten said...

wunelle said: Here's one for CyberKitten.

[Laughs]

Huh....? I'm a Republician (but in a good way) - though I must admit Kate is fairly hot..... [grin]

wunelle said...

I got the impression that the British have a love / hate relationship with the royals, loving to see the scandals and debauchery (and Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous), but also feeling very protective of them.

One just wonders if something could come along to tip popular sentiment towards abolition of the monarchy, and whether the hot young couple helps to revitalize people's interest...

CyberKitten said...

wunelle said: I got the impression that the British have a love / hate relationship with the royals, loving to see the scandals and debauchery (and Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous), but also feeling very protective of them.

Nah, that's just the tabloid press - though a disturbing amount of people do seem to actually *love* the Royal family. Beats the heck out of me why......

wunelle said: One just wonders if something could come along to tip popular sentiment towards abolition of the monarchy, and whether the hot young couple helps to revitalize people's interest...

There is a significant republican feeling in the country but I doubt if the Royals are going anywhere soon - unfortunately! Personally I have no use for any of them.

Karlo said...

Your forgot to mention the speculation that he's actually the son of John McCain with the result that the royal family may become American if McCain wins the election, in which case all Canadians and Australians will have to swear an oath of fealty to Cindy McCain.

Jen said...

Kate is pretty, which I'm sure is the whole appeal. If you stop thinking of the royals as anyone important, then their lives are still fun to follow as socialites.

Anyways, I think Harry looks more like Charles. Didn't he get a DNA test to prove that he's Charles' son?

wunelle said...

I'm not sure about the DNA test, but I'd wonder. You think he looks like Chas? I see Chas's horsey-face a bit in Will (sorry, not to be mean). Harry seems another animal altogether.

The DNA test is curious, as it would admit of doubt and could be quite humiliating. Makes one wonder...