I sometimes wonder what it must be like to be Prince Philip. I mean – how would you feel knowing that a couple of million people lick the back of your wife’s head on a daily basis? I’d certainly feel a bit self-conscious in public for a start.
OK – with self-adhesive stamps slowly replacing the old calorific versions this is less of a problem – but you still have to wonder what goes through his head when he gets his renewal documents through the post from Horse & Hound Magazine and there’s a picture of his wife right there on the envelope.
There are those in the UK who say that the time of the Royal Family is over and done with – that they cost too much too maintain (as if they’re an old car that we know we should trade in for a new, more sporty model) and we should just get rid of them and have a duly elected representative. Because clearly having a President to vote for and maintain would be far less expensive… (hmmm…)
And OK, most of them aren’t actually British anyway. I mean sure, Elizabeth can trace her ancestry back to the time of Henry VIII, but her family is mostly German (quietly dropping the surname Saxe-Coburg during the War for the more politically correct Windsor) and all her children are half-Greek – so many would argue that they have little right to be there in the first place.
At least in the USA when they vote for a President they have to be (as Springsteen would say) Born In The USA (we should be eternally grateful for this rule, thus stopping the prospect of Governator Schwarzenegger ever getting control of The Button and turning the Oval office into a pancake)
I have to say that whilst I quite like the royal family in an abstract way I do feel that maybe we could root out a few of the more useless ones and save ourselves some tax expenditure. I mean sure: we need the Queen and Philip to wave at the masses from their pearly carriages, but Zara Phillips has a successful career as a dressage rider so surely she can earn her own keep now?
But various things do concern me about their Royalness – like are their waving hands insured against Repetitive Stress Injury and if so for how much? Do they have removable legs so that they can all fit into those carriages? Has she ever been tempted to chop off someone’s ear when knighting them? Does the Queen secretly skateboard around Buckingham Palace, listen to Hip Hop and wear VW signs around her neck when she’s off duty (you’ve got to admit – if you lived in a house with that many steps and banisters you’d be looking to pull the odd vertical lift or so) - and has she ever sat down at a four-course meal and just announced “Actually, one is only in the mood for Spam and Baked Beans today”?
Most important of these worries is the Royal Seal of Approval. On certain products in the UK you will find the Royal seal. IE Cornflakes – next time you are in England ask for a box of cornflakes and look on the side – there it is: the royal seal.
The thing that worries me about this is exactly what does a company need to do to get the seal and how does the Queen go about checking that said product is still up to scratch? Is there, perhaps, a monthly task where she goes to a special Cornflake Testing Room, sits quietly at a table with nothing more than a bowl, spoon and a fair portion of Kellogg’s finest before scoring them out of ten? Does she ever send any of the lesser royals to do this for her? If so does this explain the relevantly low public profile of Princes Andrew and Edward in recent years – are they locked in a cellar under Balmoral forever quality testing Assorted Wheatie-Flakes?
Sadly the rather dull answer to this question is that there are no corridors full of footmen and conveyor belts brimmed with products for the lesser royals to wear, eat, make or wipe their backsides with (if there is a man/woman who is paid to do this for them then I do NOT want to know) and award marks – anything that is used by anyone in the royal household (yep, even the bloke who lets in the milkman) automatically gets the seal.
Sometimes this world just doesn’t live up to expectations!