When I was a boy I was obsessed by Princess Anne and Prince Charles.Why could they not come down our street in a large Vanden Plas, or even an Austin Princess – a kind of imitation Rolls-Royce – and scoop me up and take me a few miles, a 15-minute drive at the most, to Buckingham Palace. And lavish me with food and beds with blankets and sheets.
My mother did take me and lose me, unintentionally, at the Trooping of the Colour in Whitehall in 1951, when the Royal Princess appeared on a balcony and the crowd rushed forward. I still remember the screams and joyousness of meeting the heads of the tribe that made up Great Britain at the time. Of course just over 10 years later the screams were reserved for another kind of royalty called The Beatles. The royalty of fame and fortune.
A desire to gaze and gawp, to look and linger when famous people are treated like royalty, is too big a desire for most of us. Hence wasn’t it killing two birds with one stone when Harry met Meghan? When royalty met celebrity?
But it has seemingly all unravelled in the last year or two. We seem to be having a rerun of earlier royal spats. Coming as it does in the middle of serious business about getting people back to school and work, and the fallout over how much of the money now owed by the Treasury – ours – was pissed up the wall. We will be looking into the entrails of what we have been through for years to come. The world divided between those that enacted the policy and those that didn’t but thought they should have.
I have often been asked if I’m a monarchist, or a mild supporter of the idea of royalty. I always say the same thing: that I have lived in one monarchy and two republics, the US and France. I would not want to be poor in either of these republics. Nor in a monarchy. But getting rid of the monarch? Would that bring us nearer to the eradication of poverty? They’ve certainly not managed that in the republics I have lived in. Hence is there actually a relationship, as some suggest, between enormous privilege and wealth, and the continuance of poverty?
Very little thinking is used for getting people out of poverty. It’s all about making the poor more comfortable
Why put all your energies into getting rid of the monarch when you still end up with poverty? People say that the money could all be used up for social good, but I doubt it would change anything. It might relieve poverty for some. But relieving poverty extends it, creating dependency on the generosity of others. Condemning people forever to come back for a top up.