By Novar Caine
As a British royal wedding counted down, not everyone was cheering. With an estimated 2 billion people tuning in to watch the showy event in London, many people just wish the royals would go away.
William Wales and Kate Middleton (a mere “commoner”) tied the knot at a time when public opinion of the German-ancestral House of Windsor is at an all-time low.
During a talk show on the BBC, the host asked audience members who would be watching the nuptials on TV; a few hands sprouted up. Who wouldn’t? Most.
A poll published in The Guardian newspaper revealed only 37 percent of people in Britain are “genuinely interested and excited” by the wedding. However, 63 percent said the UK was better off because of the royal family.
It’s not just the extraordinarily high cost of maintaining a big family and their collection of airy palaces and other residences, as well as their international travel costs; it’s that in the egalitarian era we thankfully live in, the privileged status of members of the British royal family – and any, for that matter – is anathema.
It is an awful affront to free-thinking people that by chance of birth you are better than others.
The last time there was such fuss about a royal wedding was in 1981 when William’s parents Charles and Diana walked up the aisle, the beginning of a tormented soap opera that ended in disaster. Courtesy of the shameless media, we are now being treated to a repeat spectacle, hopefully without the tragedy.
Ultimately mindful of the public’s view of them, the royals are embracing the internet to show they’re with the common man. William and Kate’s wedding was streamed live on YouTube, and there’s an array of official Facebook and Twitter accounts detailing their highnesses’ movements.
There are those who say the royals are valuable for Britain and more than pay for their massive upkeep, because of their global tourism draw. But visitors to Buckingham Palace and other royal assets don’t get to see the queen and her family. A quick tour and out is about as much as they experience. France’s tourism industry is more sizable than Britain’s, even though their royals have long since had their heads chopped off.
It’s just as well Britain is run under the parliamentary system and not the supposedly noble, whose role is largely ceremonial, because otherwise the ruler revolts spreading throughout the Arab world might well be sparked in London. As it is the royals survive as a publicly funded institution because they have vast support from the wartime generation continually enamoured by an 85-year-old queen who rolled up her sleeves and mucked in (Queen Elizabeth II was a mechanic during World War II). It’s largely the monarch’s no-nonsense approach to her long reign that has engendered the support she has.
Outside of that aging generation, the youth don’t see the relevancy of a monarch, and why should they?
While QEII is an admirable woman and in an immensely un-royal fashion has devoted her life to the service of her country — having visited 111 countries and territories since her coronation in 1952, ahead of an historic trip to the Irish republic in May — lesser royals do little for Britain and its associated Commonwealth members.
Anti-monarchy group Republic held a party on the day of the wedding — a “Not The Royal Wedding” bash. Traditionally, British subjects (not citizens) have held boozy street parties on grand royal occasions, but a third of local authorities say they did not receive applications for such an event (though 4,000 were held across the country).
And another poll, by ICM Research and commissioned by Republic — maxim: “I Want a Vote, Not a Wedding” –showed that four out of five Britons are “largely indifferent” or “couldn’t care less” about William and Kate’s wedding. Meanwhile, 18 percent of Britons were reported to have fled the country ahead of the event and others descended on London to protest against the nuptials.
Among them was the group Muslims Against Crusades, which says Queen Elizabeth’s reign is equal to that of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, currently under allied fire to enforce a no-fly zone across his country as a bloody uprising against his rule continues. Such extreme elements will not benefit anti-monarchy campaigners.
People wish the young couple all the best as they embark on married life. They just, increasingly, wish they and their much wider family weren’t undemocratically representative of the people.
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