“The Queen has as much of a job as Kim Kardashian does.” Those words got me into a lot of trouble this summer, when I dared to question why there was endless news coverage and a five-day public holiday in the UK over what I presumed was the Queen’s birthday. As it turns out, as my opponents informed me, the Diamond Jubilee was not a celebration of the Queen’s birthday – but rather of her having reached 60 years on the throne. I would have much preferred if it were her birthday, because at least that would have merited some kind of festivity.
I have a friend who decided to get up at 6 A.M. on June 3rd 2012 in order to secure a place by the bridge so that she could watch the Queen’s Jubilee Regatta. In other words, she was getting up at 6 A.M. to watch a boat with the Queen on board sail past. In other words, she was wasting her time. On observing her appalling eagerness, I was firstly puzzled as to why the mere fact that the Queen has stuck around for so long deserves any celebration at all, and secondly as to why anyone would want to participate in it. According to my friend, the nation was celebrating the Queen’s 60 years of “service,” and by attending this regatta, she and her fellow Brits were repaying her majesty. Seriously.
What and/or who does the Queen serve exactly? You see, it was not any particular “labor of the Queen” that produced this ridiculous carnival, but rather her decision to renounce a private life in order to be a public figure. Right. As you can tell by now, I don’t like the royals; I see no point to them, and would vote to admonish their elevated status in the UK if they did not provide us with sporadic but unrivaled entertainment.
To me, the role of the Queen and the members of her family is less “service” than it is scandal. There is nothing better than when something outrageous happens within the British royal family, the supposed global epitome of class and etiquette. For this reason alone, I vote for the royals to stay around forever. There was a rather boring period in the 90’s when William and Harry were still at school, Charles was quietly seeing Camilla and the Queen was going about her “service” in which I nearly gave up all hope in my quest for royal disgrace. However, with the recent addition of the common Middleton family to the mix, the future looks bright. There is no better place for scandal than in a dysfunctional family, and there is no family more dysfunctional than one that combines royals and commoners.
I must admit I watched the Royal Wedding. But I certainly did not watch it in order to somehow live out childhood fantasies vicariously through ordinary girl-turned-Princess Catherine. Rather, I watched it to see if Kate would trip down the aisle. Or to see how many times the Queen would direct her ice-cold glare upon Carol Middleton, lest she think she was somehow now part of the royal family. Or to see if Harry would turn up hungover. None of these happened, but there was just so much potential.
Fast forward 18 months and we have had not one, but two, thwarted opportunities for a full-fledged nude photo scandal in Britain. In August, Prince Harry drunkenly decided to partake in a game of strip billiards while on holiday in Las Vegas. As the title of the game might hint, the Prince did indeed strip. A “friend” took a few photos, and the rest should have been royal scandal history. Except the majority of British newspapers refused to publish these photos. Why? Because the palace lawyers strongly advised against it. Kate’s photos were slightly different. She was sunbathing topless on a private residence in France and someone, who can only be described as a pervert, photographed her. Again, the photos were only published abroad. Thus have the Brits been deprived of royal scandal twice already this year. When will the Queen and her people realize that an entertained public is a happy public? A regatta in her own honor surely does not count as public amusement.
It is clear that the royal family represents and would like to upkeep a certain standard of behavior. However, sooner or later the royals, who essentially don’t have jobs, will not be able to justify funneling $60 million a year from taxpayers. The people need to get something out of this money, and if anything, it should be entertainment. The royals have reached a point, through their merger with a common family, that the public’s relationship with them no longer involves just reverence, but also identification. We civilians like the fact that the royals are susceptible to the same gaffes and mistakes as we are, so after bestowing us with centuries of “service,” why are they so reluctant to let us see them in all their scandalous glory?