Having read ‘Royal Babylon’, a phenomenal piece of writing by Heathcote Williams, on the website of the International Times, I am reminded that we have every reason to loathe the monarchy and yet have become inured to its existence. This is in part because of the way it has humanised itself.
Gone are the Germanic strangulated vowels and clipped consonants, to be replaced with the public-school cockney favoured by Tony Blair and Peaches Geldof. Prince William can kick a football about, with no apparent urge to pick it up and run for the touchline. Black people are glad-handed as often as possible, and even picked up if small and sick enough.
The royals seem pretty much like any other celebrities, and other celebrities relate to them as such. Is that Christopher Biggins or Princess Michael of Kent in the audience? Either way, they can take a joke, so long as it’s delivered in a spirit of ingratiating bonhomie.
And it’s all for charity. If Prince Charles can’t reach out to disenfranchised youths, raised on vast estates, surrounded by guns and having no hope of worthwhile employment, who can? And look at all those teenagers getting Iron Crosses as part of the Duke of Windsor’s award scheme.
Do we really want the bother of an elected president? Isn’t a Windsor a familiar and convenient alternative? In the same way, I’d rather my funeral were moderated by a vicar than have my corpse exploited by the humanists. However irrational religion might be, I prefer the diffident mumbling of a cleric to the outpourings of people so unrelentingly pleased with themselves. I’m serious about that.
Perhaps abolition of the monarchy isn’t a priority right now. We could get round to it when we get round to abolishing capitalism. Which reminds me...
Jeremy Hardy is a comedian and writer who regularly appears on BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.