Myriad thoughts ran through my head as I partially watched today’s event.
“What contact or connection do commoners have with royalty?” None whatsoever, for the majority of them.
“Why would a human bow, curtsy or genuflect before another human to show deference or servility?”
“What must it be like to be referred to as ‘subjects of the monarchy’ and not ‘citizens’?
See, that’s the difference right there between the British and the French.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose political philosophy influenced the Age of Enlightenment throughout Europe as well as aspects of the French Revolution, argued against the idea that monarchs were divinely empowered to rule. It is only the people who are sovereign, who have that all-powerful right, he attested. (This explains why the French populace, right up to today, are such fervent street protesters.) “C’est la rue qui gouverne” is the adage in France. Translation: It’s the street that rules.
France abolished its monarchy in 1792. The last king, Louis XVI, was executed by guillotine in a public square. Nine months later, his wife, Queen Marie-Antoinette, met with the same fate. It was she who supposedly said “Let them eat cake”, her response upon being told that her starving peasant subjects had no bread. Because cake is more expensive than bread, the anecdote served as an example of Marie-Antoinette’s obliviousness to the conditions and daily lives of ordinary people.
Which brings us back to the core members of the British royal family (I exclude the younger generation). They are not ordinary. From birth, they have led exalted, rarefied lives surrounded by great wealth, privilege and a retinue of attendants: manservants, ladies-in-waiting, valets, grooms, gardeners and stablemen, to name a few. They are distant, detached and disconnected from their subjects. Although it is true that Princess Anne, actively involved in 300 different charities, is known to be the hardest-working member of the family. I happen to think that Anne is kinda cool. While the other royals, cloaked and swaddled in their silks and finery, sat in comfort inside Westminster Abbey, she chose to ride on horseback (in the rain) with the Household Cavalry Regiment and serve as bodyguard to her older brother during the procession.
Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, rumblings of discontent have amplified. Why does the monarchy still exist in 2023? What purpose does it serve? And why must British taxpayers fund the ludicrously wealthy royal family’s expenses? The total amount paid in 2021-2022 was 86.3 million pounds. Britons are struggling. Since Brexit, the Ukraine war and COVID, child poverty, hunger and food banks have increased dramatically. Some pensioners (senior citizens) must choose between HEAT or EAT. Energy bills have skyrocketed despite oil and gas firms reaping obscene profits in the billions.
Charles and Camilla, gem-studded crowns on their heads, transported through the streets of London in a golden carriage (drawn by six white horses) … it’s phantasmagorical; they look like characters in a fairy tale or a Disney movie. Strip away the artifice and they’re just humans like the rest of us …. aren’t they??
The British Royal Family does not reflect today’s society. It’s anachronistic.
Listen to this articulate anti-monarchist on a popular English radio call-in show. I’m a fan of James O’Brien who is virulently opposed to the British Conservative Party which is similar to the Republicans in the USA –
Queen Elizabeth did seem to be the last acceptable monarch. It will be difficult to follow her. Did you by chance see this faux cover for the French satirical magazine Le Gorafi? https://www.legorafi.fr/2023/05/05/gorafi-magazine-couronnement-de-charles-iii-notre-guide-pour-sen-foutre/
Carol, I clicked on the link and saw the cover page. But the rest is just full of advertisements. Je ne supporte pas la pub. (la publicité). I’m happy to say that my blog is advert-free.
Same here. I don’t like ads either. The cover is the main point. I don’t think they actually produced a full issue on the subject but I could be wrong.
I watched with a bit of astonishment the pomp and pageantry of the coronation and quietly thanked the founding fathers of the United States for the revolution. A reading of the Declaration of Independence certainly reinforced the signers to the document were very forward thinking.
To declare independence from England and proclaim that all men are created equal … yes, absolutely.
Goshhh I have been avoiding clicking on any coverage on the coronation all weekend – I just find this kind of deifying of another human being so primitive and absurd… its not just the UK of course there are other countries that perpetuate this feudalistic traditions and it is so confounding how this is still acceptable in 2023…especially in a supposedly ‘modern’ state… I avoid pro-royalist commentators like the plague, they seem pretty brainwashed and beyond rationale… sorry for the rant 😂😂😂
Glad to hear it! People should rant more often. It’s more than elitism, it’s feudalistic, as you said (perfect word). So undemocratic.
But guess what? The majority of British citizens (or I should say ‘subjects’) LOVE this stuff. I don’t think they really think it through; it is a form of brainwashing learned from infancy. Loving the monarchy is wrapped up in different reasons: pride, nationalism, nostalgia, pure emotion, celebrity worship. Love of pomp and a party. And the terrible class system that still exists in that country.
Growing up in Canada, a framed picture of Queen Elizabeth was in every school classroom and we sang “God Save the Queen” regularly. Her face was on Canadian stamps.
The only sane voice was that anti-monarchy woman who phoned in on the radio show.
Thanks for commenting! 🙂
That is fascinating about your growing up in Canada… I am also from a commonwealth country but I think when we were growing up other aspects were happening geopolitically and so much of our national identity was about trying to divorce ourselves from a colonial past so the British Royal family barely featured in our world view and if yes it was portrayed in almost a negative light of previous subjugators… we have our own strange royal family but its split into more than 10 different states and I think not really held with the same deference. Do you think the youth in Britain still elevate the monarchy though? I see so many online commentators who ridicule them especially the whole pomposity around the coronation which was seen as such bad taste in times when the UK is going through financial disgruntlement.. but it’s hard for me to really gauge from a distance… I would be sad if this whole phenomenon can still be brainwashed into a notion so incompatible with current times ie that we are all born equal.
You might like this interview with Princess Anne by Adrienne Arsenault.
Alas, chère Jeanne, when I clicked on the link I received this message – This content is not available outside Canada.
It looked interesting!
Thanks for sending it.