Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Charles' 'Promotion' Underlines Absurdity of Royals
On Wednesday November 8th I posted on how we need to have an elected head of state, so useless had our prospective hereditary version proved to be. Now comes more evidence to back up my case. The Guardian leads with pictures of him in his three uniforms of Admiral, General and Air Chief Marshall complete with respective chestfuls of medals. We read that for his 58th birthday present he has received promotion to four star rank in all three services(I tried to copy the pictures used but they were not accessible online). He already, it would seem, has four air commodoreships as part of his total of 26 honorary military titles.
If anything exemplifies the absurdity of our royal family it is this fiction that they are distinguished, battle hardened warriors combined with their obvious pleasure in accepting these meaninglass titles. The last monarch to fight in a real war was George II at Dettingen in 1743 when he led his troops into battle. Less sympathetic accounts say his horse merely bolted in the direction of the enemy and that everyone else charged after him.
But at least he was there and, arguably, entitled to wear a general's uniform. Prince Andrew also saw active service but Charles's military experience is limited to his captaincy of coastal minesweeper, HMS Bronington in the seventies. 'I spent most of my time petrified that I was going to run aground or we'd have a collision' commented the future Admiral of the Fleet. Nelson he most definitely ain't. I suspect it doesn't need folk like me to make the case for an elected head of state- the royals do the job far too well themselves.
Not living in the country recently you may be out of touch. Polls are ambiguous on the Royals and reflect whatever absurdities they have recently committed. I teach a huge adult current affairs class and few of them think the royal family is worth hanging on to.
If it were left to me I'd deport the royals along with 97.3% of the British aristocracy and 84.3% of the associated heritage industry to any country that would take the rabble. But abolition’s so unlikely to happen in my or even my children’s lifetimes that it isn't worth getting into much of a spin about...
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