Royal Days Are Numbered

Enjoy the royal wedding, because the the monarchy won't be around much longer

Back in my younger days, when I was a raging republican (note the lower-case letter), all this falderal about this Royal Wedding of The Century would have driven me into volcanic fits of apoplexy.

I remember the previous Royal Wedding of the Century (20th century version). Back in 1981, when Prince Charles entered into his cynical agreement with poor, gormless Diana to produce a few heirs then quietly disappear, I was oozing contempt for the whole process, and the saps who wallowed in that kind of claptrap. That didn’t stop me, however, from going to my friend’s house, where she held a royal wedding breakfast. As I recall, I said just enough obnoxious things that my host almost kicked me out of her house. Probably not my finest moment, but in my defence, I was a 25-year-old smartass at the time. Today, I am a much more mature person who recognizes that the hoi polloi simply love to watch fabulously wealthy people hold outrageously extravagant weddings to briefly take their minds off their dreary little lives.

See how I’ve matured? When I was 25, I never would have used a term like ‘hoi polloi’.

I don’t know how many Edmontonians will be up at 4 a.m. tomorrow to watch Prince Prematurely Balding walk down the aisle with Kate Middleton. Whatever their number, I suspect they will be divided into two groups. One group will be younger folks (overwhelmingly female), the People magazine-reading, Entertainment Tonight-watching, celebrity gossip obsessed generation for whom the wedding of Wills and Kate marks the official birth of another celebrity couple to obsess over. The other group will be made up of a dwindling core of blue-haired old ladies for whom  the monarchy might actually mean something, although I doubt if they’ll remember what it was.

For the rest of us, despite the over-the-top, wall-to-wall, utterly vacuous coverage (The Sun actually ran a story about an Edmonton couple who have the same wedding date! Stop the presses! Seriously, stop the presses before any crap like that ever runs again!), the wedding will mean nothing. Just the way the monarchy means nothing.

I used to be a little obsessed with getting rid of the monarchy, but now I’m a lot more in line with most Canadian opinion, in that we really don’t give a rat’s ass about the while thing.

An Angus Reid poll published late last year found only 21 per cent of those surveyed want Canada to remain a monarchy. Even more (32 per cent) want to have an elected head of state, and a remarkable 29 per cent are uninterested in the matter. There is very little interest in opening the whole monarchy can of worms; slightly less than half want to reopen the constitutional debate to discuss replacing the monarch with an elected head of state.

I am comforted in the knowledge that the number of Canadians who want to dispose of the monarchy will only increase. The only reason this anachronistic, anti-democratic, elitist institution has any support at all is because of Queen Elizabeth, who has built up a deep reservoir of good will amongst Canadians simply by
being so dependable and unobtrusive. However, there will come a day when the Queen will go to her eternal reward (she will be the only person in history for whom the afterlife will be a step down), and Prince Charles will become King Charles. Nobody likes Charles as a prince, and we will hate the guy as a king.

Charles is the royal family’s biggest liability. He’s the guy who cheated on that poor Diana, took up with that horrible Camilla, and has become a world-class eccentric and crank. He meddles in public affairs (royals are supposed to remain as neutral as Switzerland), and has created a nice little $50 million business for himself that includes a company called Duchy Originals, which makes herbal and homeopathic remedies, with little science to back up their claims.  Charles has become such a liability that there is talk — some secret, some out in the open — that he should be passed over as the heir to the throne when the Queen dies for the much more palatable (and popular) William and Kate.

This scenario, if it plays out, is likely to be years into the future. The Queen is 85 and, unlike most 85-year-olds who are simply worn down by day-to-day existence, she’s in great shape. Her mother, the Queen Mum, lived to 101, so it could be a long, long time before Charles assumes the throne, at which time he will be not just an eccentric and a crank, but an OLD eccentric and crank. And you can bet that if anybody tries to push Charles out the door that, he won’t go quietly.

Yes, I’m still an anti-monarchist. Only now, I can see a day when we don’t actively shed ourselves of this albatross, but the albatross will just die for inattention.

So, enjoy your royal wedding. The days of the monarchy are numbered — it’s in the thousands and thousands of days, but they are numbered. And I’m willing to wait.


All Content Copyright © SEE Magazine 2008 About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use Contest Disclaimer