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Tony Grist

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Gilded Butterflies [Dec. 20th, 2015|10:44 am]
Tony Grist
Once in a while I come across an argument for monarchy that impresses me. Peter Hitchens has one this morning. He says the monarch has no power but- like the king on the chessboard- occupies a space that would otherwise be occupied by others less worthy- and hungrier- meaning the likes of Thatcher and Blair and Cameron. I suppose it's not so much a new argument as a telling phrase. King on a chessboard- I like that.

What I really hate about monarchy is not so much the institution itself as all the crawling that goes on around it- all the buttering up and flattery. What other tiny, boot-faced, old lady keeps on getting told she looks stunning in her unfashionable flower-pot hats? But I suppose that vile business- that worship of power and wealth and position- would carry on no matter who occupied the palace. There will always be courtiers.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2015-12-20 11:07 am (UTC)

And once more I advance my argument about the Irish presidency, where the position on the chessboard has been held by a series of dignified, thoughtful people who used the very limited powers of the office office for what they believed to be the good of the nation (and largely succeeded).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-12-20 12:46 pm (UTC)

Re:

Yes, you've done well.

I'm not really wavering in my republicanism, just giving the opposition credit where credit is due.
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[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2015-12-20 11:09 am (UTC)
and there will always be obsequious hangers on around them/

Edited at 2015-12-20 11:10 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-12-20 12:49 pm (UTC)
The silverback will never be wanting for flea-pickers.
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2015-12-20 01:34 pm (UTC)
Hm, this has something...
Well, one can imagine why William now tries to establish the image of "just a normal family" for his one in the public.
Grandma can think what she wants about it, but her time is obviously limited through her high age.
You can hide in a palace, send your children to school where they also only meet other children which come out of a comparable wealthy family, and let yourself be protected by lots of guards and police which need to be paid by the public - or you can just step a little down and try to not be any different than other people, just a person which happened to be blessed or cursed with a big name which you can't choose when you're born.
That whole mumbo jumbo also is like a golden cage that limits the existence and your own mental cosmos...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-12-20 05:08 pm (UTC)
I think William is trying to position himself- insofar as is possible when you own palaces- as a boringly ordinary chap. This is in marked contrast to his father- who has always been determinedly eccentric, opinionated and hungry for attention.
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2015-12-20 07:44 pm (UTC)
Well, appearing pretty normal grants you more popularity than just being a spendthrift. Also, at least I could guess this, after being in a golden cage for decades, there comes the time where you personally say "I'm done with it" and the best it is if you found a family if you start as early to get this also stuck into their lifes. No extra treatment, no wrapping up in cotton wool.
He may also have experiences with his brother why he did do that much nonsense in his younger years - just a trial to break out of all of this and get a "Leave me alone!" done.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-12-21 09:53 am (UTC)
My guess is that William- when and if he becomes king- will try to function as a Scandanivian-style "bicycling monarch".
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2015-12-21 10:13 am (UTC)
Would guess so too.
But maybe this also is for the better.
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[User Picture]From: howlin_wolf_66
2015-12-20 04:22 pm (UTC)
I think she DOES look good for her age - but then, she has the resources to ensure that this is so, so it's no wonder! :-)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-12-20 05:56 pm (UTC)
I think she has a puffy, mean-looking little face.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2015-12-21 10:54 am (UTC)
For the past couple of generations we've been lucky with our monarchs in Denmark, but it's always a gamble, isn't it? I mean, we have a queen who has illustrated Tolkien, translated de Beauvoir with her husband and created stage sets for the Royal Ballet, which is awesome, but what will we get a few generations down the line? And what will it cost us?

It's difficult to reconcile my yearning for the fairy tale with republicanism - perhaps even impossible - and on balance I really think a presidency with limited political scope would be preferable. Or at the very least cutting the monarch out of the legislative process entirely and limiting public funding to include only the reigning monarch, her/his spouse and the heir to the throne.

(The ex-wife of the second son of our queen got a permanent post on the state budget of £200,000 as part of her divorce settlement - on top of what she would have received had it been a normal divorce. How can that even happen? She's probably a very lovely person, but how is she worth £200,000 of the tax payers' money?)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-12-21 04:52 pm (UTC)
Our last "interesting" monarch was Edward VII. All of them since then (I'm not counting the appalling Edward VIII) have been terribly dull. George V collected stamps and shot birds, George VI was a sulky little chap with a stammer, the Queen wears hats...

Charles- if he ever gets to wear the crown- will liven things up a bit.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2015-12-21 05:28 pm (UTC)
At least Charles has a point of view - though I'm not sure I particularly enjoy his point of view... And William and his wife seem rather dull.
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