It was in the news today. England’s Prince Charles turned 60, the oldest Prince of Wales ever. The media hyped it as “he’s been waiting his whole life to be king.” Well, la de dah. I’ve been waiting forever to be queen or a goddess and it’s not happening either.
But besides sour grapes I think the monarchy is a thing of the past. Over the millennia of culture growing and changing (and it seems, sometimes devolving) we’ve gone from loose-knit tribes through feudal states and monarchies to the current trend of dictatorships, distorted democracies and fanatical regimes. Hmmm, maybe we haven’t evolved or changed as much as we thought.
The media talked about Prince Chuck throwing himself into environmental and humanitarian affairs. That’s great. Really. And I doubt he or much of the royal family would survive long if they just sat around on their royal duffs. But you know, I too could do great works and wonders if I had the wagon loads of cash these guys have. And I would get to wear expensive jewels, attend gala affairs and be called ruler of my country when in fact I was nothing but a figurehead.
Yep, there are no teeth to the British royal family. Should they exert their might they would find it circumvented very quickly. After 1600 and Cromwell’s reign royalty roles changed. Unlike France, where they lost their heads, or Russia where the royalty went to a mass grave, the Brits managed to stay in some semblance of power.
What I’ve never been able to understand is the kowtowing that my country, Canada does to Britain. Once upon a time we were a colony. But we gained independence, didn’t we? Yet our coins are festooned with the head of Queen Elizabeth II and our constitution has her listed as the top honcho. The Governor General, a role appointed by the Prime Minister, is the Queen’s representative in Canada. Again it’s mostly a figurehead role though the Governor General is head of the Canadian armed forces. Could we see a day where the Governor General raised up in a coup, representing the queen (or king), and fought parliament for the right of sovereign soil?
I doubt it but weirder things have happened. Still, the role of Governor General, or monarch of Britain for that matter is that of cheerleader and publicist. A very rich publicist but when it comes to politics we (Britain, Canada, probably a few other countries that still have monarchs) let our elected politicians make decisions. It’s not that much better or different. We don’t pay tithes to the king or queen anymore but we pay enough in taxes that it equals a king’s ransom. But look at the countries with no figureheads; it’s not a lot different. Still, I prefer at least the belief that I chose who is ruling my country than someone who gets born to the position.
And should anyone wish to make me queen or goddess, I promise to do as much as the British royal family.