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More like a royal pain

For a whole week now being a sensible person has been hell. I speak, of course, of the royal wedding and the absurd sycophancy that has risen beside it.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2010 21:33 IST
Tanya Gold
Tanya Gold
Hindustan Times

For a whole week now being a sensible person has been hell. I speak, of course, of the royal wedding and the absurd sycophancy that has risen beside it. I thought sycophancy had died during the long Blairite summer because Cherie Blair yawned at the Highland Games and it was quite obvious that her husband thought he should be Queen. But no, it was just drowsing, Sleeping Beauty style, and now it is awake.

David Cameron, who can never disguise his worship of privilege, led the charge, announcing he had banged the table at a meeting when he heard of the engagement, in a sort of weird aristocratic fertility rite. The cabinet banged too, which made me feel sorry for democracy, as well as for the table. Clegg and Miliband, who should both know better, screamed their delight as well, because this was a bandwagon they were too scared to jump off.

It seems that in these crazy days, insulting the wedding has achieved near-criminal status. Peter Broadbent, the bishop of Willesden, told some truths on his Facebook page. He called the excitement "nauseating tosh", described the royal family as "corrupt and sexist" —which Kate Middleton could hardly deny, if she were still allowed to speak.

But Broadbent knows what the politicians and the media — who have been whipping up this wedding cake of ecstasy — do not. The monarchy and its evil twin sycophancy is both parent and press officer to the class system. As long as we drool over the largely uninteresting, often self-pitying family at the head of the nation, social mobility will wither and die. The hereditary principle — promotion via womb — had, I thought, been shrivelling, but not this week in 2010, not looking at David Cameron's happy, they-won't-notice-the-cuts-now face.

But The People love it, scream the media, as they misrepresent Britain as a country waiting for the working classes to crawl out of their coal holes and rejoice. I don't believe it, because it is a fool that clutches a stranger's happiness and mistakes it for his own. For the rest of us, it will be the psycho-spectacle of the marriage that we will gobble up; it is more sadistic and prurient than loving.

This nonsense is inhuman to the royal family, too, who need to work hard to disguise their misery. It is no coincidence that the Queen prefers dogs to subjects, and you don't have to stare at Prince Charles before you realise the prospect of kingship has ruined his life. In Prince William you can already see the same twitchy, barely-suppressed rage of living a life not his own. As for the late Princess Diana, who was smarter than most of them — well, as soon as she knew the score about being royal, she couldn't stop vomiting. Royal wedding fever? Any shrink would laugh their face off.

The Guardian.

First Published: Nov 25, 2010 21:32 IST