||[Dec. 1st, 2010|10:47 am]
Ailz tells me the Queen has rewritten the rules on royal precedence so that Princess Anne isn't required to curtsey to her older brother's wife- something she refuses to do. She refused to curtsey to her older brother's first wife too. It's not that she finds curtseying offensive in itself, only curtseying to a "commoner". Apparently the Windsors are at it all the time, bobbing up and down to one another. You'd think, in private, they might drop the charade, but they don't. |
There was a sale of the Duchess of Windsors jewels at Sotheby's yesterday. They realised nearly £8 million. The duchess liked her bling. And she liked it blingy. If you saw these items in a pawn shop window you'd go, "My God, who on earth would want to wear that?" But they're good fun- especially the diamond and onyx panther.
My cultural inheritance includes a propensity to bristle at the word "Prussian" but last night's TV biography of Frederick the Great suggested I might want to adjust my programming. Frederick was a great general, an enlightened and liberal statesman, a philosopher and patron of philosophers, a composer of some stature and a musician of genuine accomplishment. Ruling houses are often founded by persons of genius but its enormously rare for a genius to spring from an established bloodline. In fact I can think of only two examples in the history of Western Europe. The other is Alexander the Great.
I do remember a programme about the Royal Family which showed them at the races, running a private sweepstake. After the race, the Queen announced, deadpan "And the sweepstake winner is, Her Majesty the Queen Mother!" Which made me wonder, do they refer to each other in that way all the time, even when the cameras are not there, rather than saying "Oh, well done, Mum!". Makes you wonder if Kate Middleton's parents will be told "Just call us Liz and Phil, love, and come in and put your feet up".
Apparently the Queen Mother used to get her daughters to march around chanting "we are different".
It's rather sad.
I don't know whether to find Princess Anne amusing or annoying. After all this time, they really do think there's some sort of intrinsic difference between themselves and the lesser folk? Of course, in America we base our hierarchies primarily on how much money you can make off of other people, so that's not much better if at all.
At least there's no code that says you have to curtsey when Donald Trump enters the room.
2010-12-01 07:48 pm (UTC)
Well, she did refuse titles for her children - and are we quite sure that her objection mightn't be about curtseying in itself rather than to her sisters in law?
When you owe your world to a series of ancient customs surrounding glorified warlords who raped and pillaged the remains of Europe's greatest civilization, the hollow shell of gentility and tradition is all that stands between you and the cruel reality that you're a worthless sod.
Other European royal houses have reinvented themselves. It's only the Windsors who maintain this degree of pomp and ceremony.
When people like me object, we're told it brings in the tourists.
Well, to be fair, it is not a big part of our "world". We do have an elected parliament, for what its worth, and the Queen is only a figurehead.
Thanks. That looks interesting.
I didn't know Frederick the Great was a musician till a couple of weeks ago--I had my Pandora station set to baroque, and when I looked at the author of the piece I liked so much, it was Great Fred himself. I don't remember the name of it, but I really liked it.
They played us a little of one of his flute pieces. It was lovely.
2010-12-01 05:53 pm (UTC)
i think that this probably means in public - based on the fact that it was PA who told my mother "We only curtsey in public."
(My mother greatly appreciated the "we".)
It would be slightly mad if they did it in private.
But I wouldn't put it past them...
I have a mental image of the queen seeing herself in the mirror and getting stuck in an endless curtsey loop until her knees give way.