+At some earlier point in their lives, it seems that both of our two main political leaders expressed republican views. But the radicalism of earlier days withers the more it is exposed to the oleaginous wiles of the British establishment, with all its inducements and rewards. Both leaders are now fully signed-up monarchists and neither will espouse the slightest doubt that the British monarchy is the mainstay of our quality of life, aka as ‘the best country in the world’ to live in. There will be no hint—after the mourning for the Queen is over—that this might be a good time to look again at whether the flummery, obsequious deference and deeply ingrained class distinctions we all hold dear are actually any good for a country facing a very shaky future. But that is one of the very reasons we’re told we need the monarchy, to provide a rock of continuity we can cling onto as more waves of misfortune ravage our crumbling, post-imperial glory. But you’ve got to give it to ’em—the royals can always come up with something to distract us when the going gets tough—a birth, a wedding, an affair, a divorce, a funeral. With careful timing we can now anticipate the coronation. Perhaps next year, not too long before a general election.
+The coronation will, after the state funeral, be the biggest show on earth, bigger even than Maggie Thatcher’s semi-state occasion. At both events our statement of pride will be expressed through a display of plumage, both literal and metaphorical, from the plumed hats to the Ruritanian chestware. Ahh, the chestware! I came across this photo which shows Prince Edward alongside Prince Charles, sporting a fine display of medals. Since Edward’s military service was short, uneventful and prematurely curtailed I wondered which campaigns his medals were awarded for. None, it turns out. Three of them, the Queen’s Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals are just commemorative gongs somewhat less useful than a jubilee mug. I wonder how many other worthy recipients got the whole set? I imagine his line-up will be lengthened when Edward gets his Coronation Medal (there’s bound to be one, isn’t there?). These medals are created to adorn the emperor’s clothes. No member shall go naked up the aisle of state. One of the medals was given to Edward by the Sultan of Brunei. That must have been a real honour (“500 Rolls-Royces, $20,000 haircuts, and a 1,788-room palace: Everything we know about the lavish life of the Sultan of Brunei, who sparked outrage after introducing a law punishing homosexuality with death” screams the internet). It is interesting (sort of) that another far eastern potentate, Kim Jong-Un seems to avoid the chestware altogether, preferring, generally to be seen in unadorned, austere tunics. Perhaps we should stick with the medals.
+The Archbishop of Cant(erbury) gave one of his routine solemn homilies this morning on the BBC’s Thought for the Day slot. The Archbish gave us his usual, standard stuff about eternity, resurrection and all that, which made me wonder: is there a special place in Heaven for royals, or do we all just get mingled together, indistinguishable from each other? And will there be a special barber’s shop to keep the Sultan of Brunei in trim?
+One sight to avoid when the funeral takes place will be the twitching, sobbing, self-flagellating form of Nicholas Witchell, the BBC’s royal correspondent (whom I believe Prince Charles once described as that ‘dreadful man’). At times I thought Nicholas, wearing the appropriate wig could have stood in as Her Majesty’s double. But alas, no. Now, as the baton is passed on, poor Nicholas has reached the apogee of his career, and must await his medal.
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