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Are you being served, Ma'am?
November 12, 2002 1:09 AM   Subscribe

Are you being served, Ma'am? Need an update on the latest twists and turns in top-rated British soap opera 'Royal Family'? It's an endless saga of hidden homosexual rape, trollops, locked boxes, yacht orgies, bungled police raids, regal amnesia, tittle-tattle, KFC, naked princesses in fur coats, and endless amounts of rocks.
posted by humuhumu (43 comments total)

 
Catherine Bennett has made the best of a bad job. It's very difficult not to say, about the British Royal Family (after Prince Charles' embarassing habit of writing to journalists and so meddling in politics) that they they brought it on themselves.

I'm Argentinian and a republican, of course - but I can't imagine the UK without the K. They seem to be somehow on the left of British politics now (and Charles Kennedy the equivalent of a Maoist) while retaining some probably harmless reactionary traditions. You have to respect that.

I must say, though, that during the Malvinas/Falklands war it was repeatedly pointed out that the British Monarchy is everything except English or British. It's French ("Dieu ey mon droit" indeed), Dutch and now German. Is this strictly true? It's very funny if it is...
posted by Carlos Quevedo at 2:29 AM on November 12, 2002


You missed Greek.
posted by biffa at 2:32 AM on November 12, 2002


what the hell is this 'flypast' thing?
posted by delmoi at 3:27 AM on November 12, 2002


Dignitaries stand there and prominent aircraft - Spitfires, the Red Arrows, that sort of thing - fly past. Or over, more likely. But "flyover" means a bridge on a motorway, so they wouldn't call it that.
posted by Grangousier at 3:32 AM on November 12, 2002


Carlos, you show a good grasp of British politics, though I don't want to see the LD's little red book.

Yeah, the monarchy is anything but home-grown (see a certain Blackadder script where Darling claims to be as British as Queen Victoria).

"Darling: Four verses! Four verses! I meant four verses! Look, I'm as British as Queen Victoria.

Edmund: So your father's German, you're half German, and you married a German?"


However, I wouldn't wish to rid us of them on grounds of xenophobia or tabloid morality, rather on principle. In particular, that a state should be based on the fact that power rises from the people, rather than trickling down from a monarch.
posted by lerrup at 3:38 AM on November 12, 2002


I worry deeply about just whose face we'll get on the money.
posted by vbfg at 3:54 AM on November 12, 2002


damn limeys!
posted by billybobtoo at 4:12 AM on November 12, 2002


Tudor servant's letter decoded. Nothing new under the sun...
posted by plep at 4:36 AM on November 12, 2002


African ancestry of the British royals, by way of the Portuguese royal family. From PBS.
posted by plep at 5:08 AM on November 12, 2002


good reading that. do you think that diana is going to be slowly turned by the press from an angel to "trollop". i mean her current image is no good to Brits, other than as a tourist trap and gives far too much sympathy to people like mahommed el fayed who the british est. hate.
posted by carfilhiot at 6:02 AM on November 12, 2002


I think i must be one of the only people in the country who's under 30 and pro-monarchy. Not only do they give us endless entertainment, and generate loads of tourist money, but on a more serious note (and i'll probably get fried for this), i think they've given the country a stability that few other countries have had the privilege of over the years.

As they say, in times of crisis Britain turns to its monarch.
Or is that the BBC? Bugger, i can't remember...
posted by derbs at 6:14 AM on November 12, 2002


Mohammed Al Fayed only has sympathy from fans of Fulham FC AFAIK.
posted by vbfg at 6:20 AM on November 12, 2002


Bugger, i can't remember...

Funny, that's what the Queen said to Paul Burrell.
Sorry, I'll get my coat...

(but not before mentioning that for years there were two words that scared those of us on the fence away from the idea of a republic: "President" and "Thatcher" - scary enough individually. Absolutely terrifying together.)
posted by Grangousier at 6:40 AM on November 12, 2002


But why can't we have a president on the Irish or German model?

There are alternatives to the nightmare scenario you outline above.

derbs I'm not going to flame you, you know you're wrong don't you, deep down.

Send her victorious, my arse
posted by lerrup at 7:04 AM on November 12, 2002


and generate loads of tourist money

Is there any evidence (other than opion) that the tourist money would instantly dry up, were Britain to become a republic? Maybe it might even increase, if all those same tourists could tour inside all the palaces and houses, see all the art and antiques and gardens and hike all over those private estates?
posted by normy at 7:36 AM on November 12, 2002


if (volume of morning coffee < 1 cup) {opinion="opion" }
posted by normy at 7:41 AM on November 12, 2002


I'm not particularly pro, but I have a kind of affection for the monarchy. Not for the Windsors particularly, who have proved themselves to be pretty dull and unattractive. But it's kind of nice to have irrelevant and irrational but harmless institutions sometimes. It makes life less po-faced and grey.
posted by Summer at 7:51 AM on November 12, 2002


I think Derbs may have a point. The monarchy provides some stability and constancy that fills an almost spiritual need. I don't mean to sound too fanciful, but there are times of national crisis or celebration when a Queen seems more appropriate than an elected politician. Considering the sometimes awkward ( nice way of saying crass ) nature of the 9/11 anniversary celebrations, it would have been nice to have a Queen smile and wave and say appropriately solemn things about the spirit of America. Now does the need for a ceremonial monarchy outweigh the argument that they are a bunch of inbred parasites whose very existence spits in the face of the spirit of equality?
posted by monkeyman at 7:52 AM on November 12, 2002


Not only do they give us endless entertainment, and generate loads of tourist money, but on a more serious note (and i'll probably get fried for this), i think they've given the country a stability that few other countries have had the privilege of over the years.

I find it very entertaining, until I remember who it is that pays for them to make fools of themselves. The joke, evidently, is on us. Not sure about stability though, I'd say that stems more from the lamentable British tradition of refusing to rock the boat any more than is absolutely necessary. Off with her 'ead.
posted by zygoticmynci at 7:52 AM on November 12, 2002


I would also like to go on the record as being in favor of naked princesses in fur coats.
posted by monkeyman at 7:58 AM on November 12, 2002


Send her victorious, my arse

I believe Eddie Izzard had the right idea:
God please attack the Queen
Send big dogs after her
To bite her bum

posted by Dreama at 8:22 AM on November 12, 2002


As an anti-royalist I'm not really one for speaking up for these tedious in-breds* but for historical & factual accuracy it should be pointed out that nearly all royal lines will interbreed between territories because:

1. It helps consolidate alliances, aquire territory & the like;
2. Marrying down the social scale isn't the done thing & if you're a prince/princess you need to be looking at other princes/princesses so it's either yer brothers & sisters - not generally the done thing either - or princes/princesses of other territories;
3. Despite my comment (*), it has been recognised that restricting the ol' gene pool is going to lead to some interesting family traits. Spreading seed a little further is a good idea;
4. To keep 'undesirables' (read Catholics) from the throne, it may be necessary to 'invite' Protestants to perch their li'l tushes on the throne [see William & Mary of Orange...'a Neil & Christne Hamilton-type double booking' says the sub-editor behind me].

Sooooo, there will be all sorts of Germans, Dutch, French, Greeks, Belgians etc, etc involved in the British royal lineage. Stands ta reason d'hanit?

vbfg: If Fulham don't move back to The Cottage they'll hate him too...

normy: Put it this way, loadsa tourists go to Bath & Stratford-upon-Avon & the Romans & Shakespeare are long gone ;-)
posted by i_cola at 8:24 AM on November 12, 2002


I agree with the point you made Monkeyman

"The monarchy provides some stability and constancy that fills an almost spiritual need. I don't mean to sound too fanciful, but there are times of national crisis or celebration when a Queen seems more appropriate than an elected politician."

and these *real* times of national crisis happen perhaps once or twice a century, but when they do i would prefer to have a monarch in there, not just to unite behind but to also to have faith in the fact you know if the worst happens, they will 'go down with the ship'.

Whereas i wouldn't trust politicians as far as i could throw them (which for most of them, isn't very far at all). Modern politicians are just sly, ambitious PR guys, worse than tabloid journalists in my book. For example, take Bush... in times of crisis he runs off to his nuclear bunker; compared to during the blitz when the monarchy stayed in Buckingham Palace.

Not sure if the same would be true now though, but then i don't want to rock the boat ;)
posted by derbs at 9:18 AM on November 12, 2002


I worry deeply about just whose face we'll get on the money.

You mean on the future UK euros? Too easy
posted by matteo at 10:23 AM on November 12, 2002


derbs: So basically you're saying that democracy doesn't work & it's worth paying billions of pounds to a bunch of blue-bloods on the off chance that they'll be a focal point when we're in shit every 50 years.

You've get the politicians & govt. you deserve.
posted by i_cola at 10:27 AM on November 12, 2002


Teehee, Matteo. Perhaps it will help his metatarsal.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:41 AM on November 12, 2002


"...not just to unite behind but to also to have faith in the fact you know if the worst happens, they will 'go down with the ship'."

It'd be nice to think that, but it's a bit of stretch to imagine Liz and Charlie-boy opting to face the music with us great unwashed over catching the first plane to get-me-the-hell-out-of-here. We are their subjects rather than their equals, after all.

"Not sure if the same would be true now though, but then i don't want to rock the boat ;)"

Touché :)

And Matteo, please, for the love of God no!
posted by zygoticmynci at 10:44 AM on November 12, 2002


No euro or no Beckham?
David and his missus and the kids already _are_ the actual Royal Family, aren't they?
posted by matteo at 11:08 AM on November 12, 2002


No euro or no Beckham?

No Beckham, the euro's fine by me. I wonder, given current trends, are we likely to see her Majesty (the real one) suing Queen's Park Rangers?
posted by zygoticmynci at 11:42 AM on November 12, 2002


Carlos, several years ago royal genealogy-watchers pointed out that William, when he ascends to the throne, will be the most English monarch since James I. Though there were always spousal influences from varied royal lines, the major shift came with the House of Hanover, which was pretty thoroughly German (though directly descended from the English kings); the Hanoverian Kings even spoke German en famille for a number of generations. Don't forget that the House of Windsor changed its name, at the time of WWI, from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha! Post-Victorian intermarriage brought in some other European heritages, and while Prince Philip was nominally Greek, he was also a German (Battenberg/Mountbatten), returning a good dollop of that to the next generation. But Charles had the good fortune to marry Diana, whose family -- Spencer -- was almost entirely English going back several centuries. (For the same reason, William also has a higher percentage of royal ancestry than any in hundreds of years.)

Ethnic strains in the British royal family. Oddly, I couldn't find a really good link on this.
posted by dhartung at 12:06 PM on November 12, 2002


I think I speak for most Americans here when I say that we have no idea what the hell you're all talking about.
posted by ph00dz at 12:58 PM on November 12, 2002


ph00dz: Of course you don't, you're American. Have a this instead.
;-)
posted by i_cola at 3:34 PM on November 12, 2002


My Arse!
posted by Fat Buddha at 4:16 PM on November 12, 2002


As they say, in times of crisis Britain turns to its monarch.

And if the monarch wasn't there? I'm sure that in a moment of crisis The British People could somehow manage to produce someone who'd rise to the occasion and reassure the population - and for a helluva lot cheaper than the cost of supporting the current extended family and its excesses.

Maybe the fact that Britain "always turns to its monarch" is part of the problem?
posted by mediareport at 10:57 PM on November 12, 2002


What problem?
posted by Summer at 1:55 AM on November 13, 2002


What problem?

The problem identified at the end of lerrup's first comment:

In particular, that a state should be based on the fact that power rises from the people, rather than trickling down from a monarch.

Turning in times of crisis to what can charitably be called a gaggle of bloodsucking leeches from above rather than looking for inspiration from each other is, imho, a problem.

I forget, what's the collective noun for leeches again?
posted by mediareport at 8:09 AM on November 13, 2002


I know I'm a monarchist and all, but I do think that the considered, reluctant support of young, intelligent left-wing republicans (like Summer) is not only what keeps the British monarchy going (read Ben Pimlott's biography of QE2) but an affirmation of parliamentary democracy.

In fact I think the English (don't know about the British) judge each monarch according to her/his merits and so have the benefits of a presidential and a monarchicl system all in one.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:53 PM on November 13, 2002


I'm not sure what you mean by this, Miguel: "[T]he considered, reluctant support of young, intelligent left-wing republicans (like Summer) is...an affirmation of parliamentary democracy."

Funny you mention one of the Elizabeths, though; I recently finished reading as much as I could find online about the Tudors' Ireland policies. I think that might be having a slightly (cough) negative affect on my view of Britain's monarchy. I'll leave them alone to shiver naked in their limousines.
posted by mediareport at 12:31 AM on November 14, 2002


i agree with mediareport. you can call yourself anything but if you''re young and cool you're just not into the monarchy, it's strictly for old farts, like MC, i presume.
posted by carfilhiot at 12:48 AM on November 14, 2002


Mediareport: I meant that in a parliamentary democracy all political power belongs to Parliament. Presidential systems, no matter how light, are always more than just cerimonial. In the UK system, because it's a cerimonial monarchy, there's no counter-power - it's a pure parliamentary democracy. And that's cool. The same goes for the other constitutional monarchies in Europe, of course.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:39 AM on November 14, 2002


Mediareport, I fail to see how the actions of Elizabeth I have any relevance. Not only was it 400 years ago, but the monarchy was a totally different institution then. If you mean that Elizabeth I is an ancestor of the current royals - well she isn't.
posted by Summer at 3:24 AM on November 14, 2002


If you mean that Elizabeth I is an ancestor of the current royals - well she isn't.

No, I simply mean that hereditary monarchy itself is a problem that needs to disappear from the Earth. The sooner, the better. And save the Bush jokes; that wasn't preordained from birth.
posted by mediareport at 11:21 PM on November 14, 2002


i agree with mediareport.

I don't agree with you.
posted by mediareport at 11:40 PM on November 14, 2002


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