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Jul 22 2013

My deepest regrets to the people of the United Kingdom

Apparently, your antiquated monarchy is going to continue, and the birth of a child of extraordinary privilege warrants far more attention than the birth of thousands who will live in poverty. I hope you get over it soon, and I hope it doesn’t infect my country; despite fighting a revolution to get out from under a king, there are a lot of conservatives with a bizarre sentimental attachment to the idea of a hereditary aristocracy.

I think I follow far too many Brits on twitter than is good for me, as my feed is currently inundated with #royalbaby nonsense. I think it’s a sign that I shouldn’t bother trying to tune in the television news for a few days.

229 comments

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  1. 1
    kevinalexander

    There are parasites that infect the brains of various species and cause changes in behaviour that benefit the parasite at cost, sometimes deadly cost to the host.
    I’m trying to understand what infects human brains that cause them to support parasites such as priests and princes.

  2. 2
    brive1987

    /snark

  3. 3
    zenlike

    I’m subscribed to a daily digital newsletter of a -fairly high regarded- local newspaper, which drops links to their most important news stories each day into my mail box right before lunchtime, which is convenient. Together with a daily newsletter, you also get emails when their is braking news. Apparently, a random person who happens to come from a long line of inbreeding getting a newborn is breaking news. Correction, I was subscribed to a newsletter…

  4. 4
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Don’t miss Ben Goldacre’s bloodthirsty humor, though! Something to enliven the occasion. Yum yum. :-)

    https://twitter.com/bengoldacre/status/359410616429060096

  5. 5
    Pen

    Oh! I thought only the Americans took any notice of that stuff! What’s its name/gender, then?

  6. 6
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    It’s not every day that I am handed a brilliant reason to continue with not having cable television, and to stay off Twitter and Facebook. Thanks, PZ.

  7. 7
    Sili

    Don’t despair. With a bit of luck there’s still time for all of them to get electrocuted in a freak accident.

  8. 8
    sarah00

    The Guardian currently has a “royalist” or “republican” tab you can click to reveal or hide the ‘news’ of the birth/baby as you desire. I really hope it’s a permanent feature (or at least lasts til after the christening)!

  9. 9
    guyver1

    The majority of us Brits couldn’t give a toss about a royal baby!!

  10. 10
    brive1987

    And here I thought we had a perfect opportunity to discuss the role of a non executive, tradition constrained, constitutional monarchy as symbolic head of state. Plus an examination of how ERII had caused such distress and misery in the commonwealth over the past 60 odd years. Plus the advantages of a hidden American hereditary plutocracy bound by no rules in light of a post 2008 world. Plus the obvious discord discernible in other similar constitutional arrangements (Belgium, Norway, Sweden etc).

    But no I guess not.

  11. 11
    Gregory Greenwood

    I have been doing all I can to dodge the incessant wall-to-wall coverage of the perpetuation of this particular outmoded component of the UK’s byzantine constitutional arrangements. Thus far I have been mostly successful, but the sheer number of media outlets that seem incapable of discussing anything else is annoying to say the least.

    Oddly, as PZ says in the OP, it seems that a surprisingly large number of you transatlantic colonial types Americans are even more obsessed with the UK royal family than the UK media is. You aren’t forced to put up with them and their unearned privilege (not to mention the Duke of Edinburgh’s infamous racism and the incredible skill Charles has to make you despair for humanity every single time he opens his mouth), so why would you voluntarily submit yourselves to the boring minutia of their out of touch lives?

    Hopefully all the inane blather will blow over in a few days and I can go back to trying to ignore the fact that the UK stsill has something so archaic and useless as a royal family, but it sadly seems that we Brits as a nation are still no closer to joining the 21st century and sensibly becoming a republic.

  12. 12
    sigurd jorsalfar

    from @TheTweetOfGod: Does anyone know where I can find a live blog for the imminent birth of one of the 15,000 children born today who will die of starvation?

  13. 13
    Menyambal

    It’s a boy, seems healthy, no first name yet, won’t have a legal last name, is HRH Prince …

    My interest, and a women’s rights interest, may not be of notice since it’s a boy. The British male primogeniture law has only been legal, as in written down, since 1701. A boy baby took precedence over his older sisters many times, and even in the current waiting list. (Elizabeth is queen because she had no brothers, Chucko happens to be her eldest, the next child, Anne, is in line BEHIND the younger sons.) But, in anticipation of this birth, the law was/is being changed.

    If this baby had been a girl, she would have been queen, regardless of the birth of a younger brother.That’s a big step, and a change for the better in the whole inherited-monarchy game (although chucking it would be best). But, with the birth of a boy, the great change goes unnoticed (I can’t even find a link in all the hype).

    I had thought that such a change in the rules might be needed, a few years back, so I noticed when they did actually make the change in the male-line inheritance rule. Well, they haven’t finalized it, as there are 15 countries that need to sign, but the law is/will be backdated to before the conception of the kid who’s just been born.

    So the NEXT generation of British monarchy, sad as the whole concept is, may have a child born as rightwise Queen of England, and no baby boy will be able to take that away from her. It happens we won’t notice that change this time.

  14. 14
    carlie

    You aren’t forced to put up with them and their unearned privilege (not to mention the Duke of Edinburgh’s infamous racism and the incredible skill Charles has to make you despair for humanity every single time he opens his mouth), so why would you voluntarily submit yourselves to the boring minutia of their out of touch lives?

    Precisely because we don’t have to put up with them otherwise, and Disney teaches us that it’s awesome to be a princess.

  15. 15
    johnlee

    Or as my dear departed Grandad would have put it, “Come back, Cromwell, all is forgiven.”
    I was in Brighton on the day that Big Ears got married to his gum-chewing airhead wife. It was a public holiday, of course, but everywhere in town was showing this damned wedding on the telly.
    I finally found a spit’n'sawdust Pub near the Old Stein where the landlord was belligerantly anti-royalist, and spent the rest of the day getting smashed with him and a like minded bunch of republican traitors.
    And no I DON’T remember where I was when Lady Di got killed. I have always had better things to do than concern myself with a family of leeches.
    Please come and finish your revolution over here in Britain, and let’s have a proper democracy.
    (Just don’t send the Texans please.)

  16. 16
    Stells Roza

    Happily, one sane newspaper in the UK, the Guardian, has a “republican” button on its webpage to filter out all the royal bilge.

  17. 17
    brive1987

    The reason people are happy is that the birth is part of the symbolic value of the institution (which exists because of traditional constraints regardless of an individual’s personality querks).

    The royal family (as an office) represents the nation. The birth can be celebrated as a sign of stability, shared community and hope for the future.

    This whole personality driven critique misses this point entirely. In the same way you salute the office not the person in the military so here you … Well you get the picture.

    So the real issues are structural not personality based based per #10

  18. 18
    No One

    God save the queen!

  19. 19
    Holms

    The Onion weighs in.

    And here I thought we had a perfect opportunity to discuss the role of a non executive, tradition constrained, constitutional monarchy as symbolic head of state.

    You forgot the bit about how the already wealthy estate has an allowance of millions per year at the taxpayers’ expense, for no discernable benefit.

    On a semi-related note, it cracks me up / makes me facepalm that Kate Middlesworth is still lauded as being a ‘frugal’ royal, for wearing her designer frocks etc. more than once.

  20. 20
    nomadiq

    In other news: Somewhere on earth today, another child was born. This child, despite not being born into privilege beyond the wildest dreams of its parents, will grow up to do something amazing. It will change the lives of thousands, maybe even millions.

    We don’t know exactly how this child will impact the world. This is the point. I wish this child well and hope it will prosper during its life. I’m happy for its parents who probably love their new baby very much. I can say that much. But I don’t really care about this child because I have no reason to at the moment. I don’t need to hear about its birth and I don’t need the details. Obscurity saves me from that problem.

    I’m sure that English couple over in London love their child too, and I’m also happy for them. But I also don’t give two shits about their boy either. It makes me angry that I have to hear about it. Maybe he will grow up to do something amazing too. He might also take after his grandfather and believe in magic as a cure for disease.

    But today I’m more than just annoyed about having to hear about this boy’s birth in London. I can filter out all sorts of noise from the news media. What I am also annoyed about is this just reminds me that over in the UK and elsewhere in the old empire, their (and my!) future ruler was born. Not elected or selected, but born. And so many will fawn over him. Maybe he won’t be great. Maybe he will be a crazy homicidal maniac. But this doesn’t matter. He is the heir. We have to love him.

    Gah! I hate monarchies.

  21. 21
    Sven

    They’re Britain’s official celebrities-by-birth (or marriage). It’s like the Truman Show, but they know they’re along for the ride.

    I personally don’t mind the coverage. Heirs to the British throne are only born once in a generation. Mazel tov.

  22. 22
    sigurd jorsalfar

    the great change goes unnoticed

    Abolition of the monarchy would be a great change. A law that gives the leadership role to the first born child rather than the first born son of this useless, over-privileged family is chump change.

  23. 23
    Lofty

    And yet here ye are, blogging about ye bespoke poopybum, ye cantankerous one.

  24. 24
    A Surprise to Many

    I was extremely amused to watch the CNN reporters discuss their astonishment at how different birth is in the UK – only 3 in 10 women get epidurals, compared to 6 in 10 here, there are (gasp) birthing chairs, and so on. They acted like these details made British women a whole different species of mammal…

    Don’t much care about the kid, but feel bad that he’s been born into a cage. For that matter, I felt sorry for Diana, who I suspect did not realize quite how much of a cage she was stepping into when she married Big Ears.

  25. 25
    steve oberski

    Soon after the death of Princess Diana, Rotten Cotton Graphics came out with a t-shirt with her picture, wearing a tiara, the caption underneath read “Just Another Dead Whore”, which I thought captured perfectly the morbid, faux sympathy expressed for a privileged, pampered parasite while on a daily basis uncounted women were slaughtered by patriarchal, misogynistic societies with absolutely no attention being paid to this plight.

    If nothing else, it was very effective for flushing out closet monarchists.

  26. 26
    brive1987

    #19 Holms. I’d question the premise that this integral part of the Westminster system provides no discernible value. Even if I granted the premise I’d like to see a complete ROI on government funded instruments before obsessing too much on this one.

  27. 27
    Rip Steakface

    Honestly, I think this is more important news in the UK.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23401076

  28. 28
    freja

    I think it’s the lesser of many evils. When I hear about the cult of personality surrounding the US president, I become happier about the royal family. They bring in more wealth than they cost, they divert the attention of the tabloids away from the politicians, and so far, they don’t seem to have become less happy because of it.

    It’s not fair that some people get to be princes and some people don’t, especially not based on an accident of birth, but it’s also not fair that George W. Bush gets to be rich, and go to Harvard, and avoid the draft, and getting credit for military service anyway, and become president of the US despite most of the voters voting against him, all because of an accident of birth. And I think that accident has destroyed the lives of more people than this little princeling ever will.

  29. 29
    gregoryhilliard

    “there are a lot of conservatives with a bizarre sentimental attachment to the idea of a hereditary aristocracy.”

    Mebbe so, but I know far too many liberals who go ga-ga over the royal family, especially with a new one being popped out. Not only did these people understood the line of succession, they actually analyzed it.

  30. 30
    neuralobserver

    A jolly good observation Myers. Bloody depressing, to be sure, but well said. Here, here my good man!

  31. 31
    shouldbeworking

    The baby and monarchy has as much use in a 21st century democracy as an electoral college and individual states having their own rules for voting in national elections.

  32. 32
    chigau (違う)

    The USofA is so lucky not to have a class of people with hereditary wealth and privilege.

  33. 33
    Bearded One

    The “monarchy” is a revenue generator for the U.K. and most of the people seem to want to keep it around for nostalgias sake. They represent a ceremonial head of state with very little actual power. Their “reign” also extends far beyond the U.K. If its what they want, why take their toy away?

    Besides, I kind of get a kick out of it myself. Although I don’t always agree with the Queen I find her a decent person and she can hold significant influence over opinion.

    There’s something to be said for tradition, as long as if doesn’t bind you down and hold you back. When it’s used as a tool for oppression there is cause for concern but I don’t really see that being the case here. The history of the British Monarchy is a lesson for the world. They effectively demoted themselves to their current figurehead status and gave control to the people. The people did not (yet) abandon them.

    Long live the Queen!

  34. 34
    shardman

    Well I’m a Brit and I don’t care at all about thr royal family. As far as I’m concerned it’s an outdated and unnecessary institution that we could do without. Sadly the royal family are quite popular right now…

  35. 35
    theignored

    Sili at 7.
    Nice “King Ralph” reference. Either that, or you’re just a psycho. Or both….

    I’ve found something worse though. The Friendly Atheist has found out how xians are treating this birth.

  36. 36
    moarscienceplz

    C’mon PZ, we’ve gotta keep the British monarchy going. Otherwise, nobody will remember where to place the escargot forks.

  37. 37
    chigau (違う)

    Where’s Walton?

  38. 38
    microraptor

    The majority of us Brits couldn’t give a toss about a royal baby!!

    However, Toss The Royal Baby sounds like a good name for either a flash game or a rock band.

  39. 39
    moarscienceplz

    re: how xians are tweeting this birth

    I used to think Twitter was a worthless form of electronic masturbation. How foolish I was!
    #imgonnavomit

  40. 40
    Rob Grigjanis

    I’ll take royal baby bullshit 24/7, with universal health care and not-totally-psychopathic campaign financing, over the horror show that is the USA, any day. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but I’d think long and hard before switching to a US-style republic.

  41. 41
    Marcus Ranum

    Why does anyone give a shit about the royals? It’s not like they’d give you the time of day if you met them on the street. As if.

    Literally, it’s a desire for subjection.

  42. 42
    moarscienceplz

    #40
    You think that Rupert Mordor and his army of orcs aren’t working 24/7 to repeal the National Health?

  43. 43
    cartomancer

    I think I have the perfect solution – one that will please everybody.

    De facto the monarchy has no constitutional power at all. It’s simply a figurehead institution. Even though we go through the motions of royal assent for legislation and the queen convening parliament and so forth, everyone knows that this is merely nostalgic window-dressing for the sake of tradition. We could safely just assume it has happened without any input at all from a conscious human being. There is nothing the royal family does that makes the slightest bit of difference in actuality – it’s the abstract notion that someone is nominally in charge (but most definitely only nominally) that they provide. A corpse could do the queen’s job just as effectively, and would be a damned sight cheaper to maintain.

    So why not just do that? The monarchists rumble that it’s all about tradition, a link to the past and a sense of history – well why not just recycle all our previous monarchs and give them another go in the chair? What could be more historically charged than running our history all over again? For a long while we have considered the Norman Conquest of 1066 the appropriate starting point for our royal line, so lets wait until October 2066 (only another 53 years!) and then start at the beginning once more with William I. In 2087 William Rufus can take over, 2100 we can switch to Henry I and so on, until we end in 3066 with the current over-hyped sprog and it’s back to the conqueror for his third outing. We don’t have to dig up the corpses of the ones we still have and sit them on the actual throne when their time comes, but it would be very disappointing if we didn’t.

  44. 44
    Marcus Ranum

    Richard Feynman once said that having a hereditary leader made as much sense as having a heridary physicist.

  45. 45
    Marcus Ranum

    De facto the monarchy has no constitutional power at all. It’s simply a figurehead institution

    Which is why you have news like this:
    Queen Elizabeth Signs Legislation Legalizing Gay Marriage
    ( http://www.thetablet.co.uk/latest-news/5512 )

  46. 46
    dravid

    It’s all about the bottom line, the monarchy is good for the UK’s revenue. Tourism, Stability etc. I think you will find that the Monarchy is very profitable for the country. If that changes then the system may change.

  47. 47
    Rob Grigjanis

    @42: Yeah, that was the “not mutually exclusive” part. But it’s not the monarchy that’s caused the US nightmare. How is constitutional monarchy worse than that?

  48. 48
    cartomancer

    #45 – Precisely. De iure there is apparently constitutional power, but de facto that’s just window-dressing. The queen has as much real power to refuse to sign legislation into being as she does to refuse the choice of government in a general election – i.e. none at all.

  49. 49
    Adela Doiron

    Royals are state owned mascots. Which at least has a use compared to other types of celebrities.

  50. 50
    Denverly

    I thought that the King/Queen still had significant war time powers being the head of the military. Am I right or wrong on this, anyone know?

  51. 51
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Quick, to the Waldon signal!

  52. 52
    lpetrich

    As an inhabitant of the rebellious colonies, all I have to say is: Was the Revolutionary War fought in vain?

  53. 53
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Why do I get the feeling the Prince Harry is paying for a royal piss-up for his regiment to celebrate his demotion in the line of succession?

  54. 54
    moarscienceplz

    Rob #47

    Both cases are caused by classism, and especially by middle and lower-class people fawning over the rich and privileged.

  55. 55
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    And no I DON’T remember where I was when Lady Di got killed.

    I was on the way home from a birthday piss-up.

    Hangover + non-stop-TV coverage = really annoying weekend.

  56. 56
    Jafafa Hots

    They also have shitloads of money stolen from many countries via the murder of hundreds of thousands of people.

    But who’s counting.

  57. 57
    Jafafa Hots

    In the same way you salute the office not the person in the military so here you …

    Some of us don’t salute anyone.

  58. 58
    chigau (違う)

    Waldon?

  59. 59
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    I think that might be Waldthon. For whom I should stand in.

    Um, whaldthever.

  60. 60
  61. 61
    left0ver1under

    The “royal family” are nothing but an overrated tourist attraction and waste of money.

    At least statue of Nelson and Tower of London only cost in maintenance and cleaning. The money they generate from visitors far outstrips their costs.

    The Damned, “Lovely Money”:

  62. 62
    evilDoug

    But without the monarchy, who would bestow knighthoods on piano bashers in silly glasses and ball whackers in silly white outfits and all the others from the amusement trades? Not to mention the brigade in silly horse hair wigs and red robes with dead animal trim.

    There was one remarkable thing Liz is reputed to have done – she sent for Maggie Thatcher and did not invite her to sit while she was receiving her new cloaca for shoving her nose in matters that were none of her business.

    I’ve turned on my TV to hear royal stuff in the news. I’ve turned on my TV to hear stuff about the local hockey team being in the playoffs in the news. I’ll take the former any day. At least it goes away in a few days.

  63. 63
    Owlglass

    They are two people who are probably in love and have a baby. Why is it their fault that people are crazy about it? There also other privileged lives a lot easier to live, say some millionaire who can do whatever they want without having to deal with paparazzi or having their every move judged by millions.

    When we discuss the “Dear Muslima” class of arguments, where we should be focusing on more important matters, I dare to say that the US is by far the worst offender. In few years, the US has opened up their own concentration camp keeping prisoners for a decade without trial, where they are also tortured. Now it was revealed that the Great Nation not only took inspiration from Nazi Germany, but from Soviet Russia, too, with total surveillance even worse than Orwell had imagined. But everyone is onto the Zimmerman case, seemingly for weeks (and the HuffPo finds the golfing season or something most important).

  64. 64
    rorschach

    Sad to see what has become of German royalty these days.

  65. 65
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    They are two people who are probably in love and have a baby. Why is it their fault that people are crazy about it? There also other privileged lives a lot easier to live, say some millionaire who can do whatever they want without having to deal with paparazzi or having their every move judged by millions.

    Quick! If you look over your shoulder you’ll see the point disappearing far off in the distance, unreachable by you.

  66. 66
    chigau (違う)

    We had “German royalty” interfering in our garbage dump.
    Sad, indeed.

  67. 67
    Hurin

    Apparently, your antiquated monarchy is going to continue, and the birth of a child of extraordinary privilege warrants far more attention than the birth of thousands who will live in poverty. I hope you get over it soon, and I hope it doesn’t infect my country…

    Right, because if I go over to the Huffpo right now, I won’t see articles about what Kristin Steward is wearing today, or who Kanye West might be fucking. Hate to break it to you PZ, but we have our own set of bizarrely fetishized idol-people just as the British do. Ours just aren’t given silly titles at birth.

  68. 68
    Avicenna

    left0verunder – The Royal Family also outstrip their “cost”.

    People don’t come to see Buckingham Palace. They come to see the Queen. She may be outside the Palace…

    They are a tourist attraction and a pretty cheap one at that. Think of them as state sponsored celebrities. And honestly? Prince Philip is a product of time. The Brits are deeply annoyed at him to the point they don’t let him go do stuff. The Queen caused suffering? How? The British Royal Family has had no effective power in more than a hundred years. They are rich people. That is all.

    The Queen costs us around 50 p a year and brings in more money from tourism from people just going to see her house. Honestly?

    More people spent time in pubs on the “wedding” than watching it. In fact I know more Americans who watched the wedding than “locals”.

    The problem you don’t realise is that the monarchy is ours. And we would rather have a tradition that is honestly neutered and harmless. They are productive. William is a coastguard pilot and has flown and probably still flies missions. Like “non-photoshoot missions”. Harry’s been to Afghanistan and in combat. These are not “wusses” or people who won’t do things that are hard.

    Lest we forget there is no difference IMHO between them and say… whatever the Kardashians are.

  69. 69
    scott

    The royals get a big whack of money from the government, but they pay much more back. Since George III they’ve voluntarily signed over the profits from their land (GBP 200 million to the government in return for their salary & expenses (GBP 40 million). So Parliament could cut them off, but it wouldn’t be profitable.

    http://www.cgpgrey.com/blog/the-true-cost-of-the-royal-family-explained.html

  70. 70
    lpetrich

    There’s no need to slavishly imitate the US setup if the UK monarchy is abolished. One can do what several nations have done and have a ceremonial president.

    I remember once doing a lot of research into the longevity and decline of monarchy. In summary, monarchy has lasted all of recorded history but only started going downhill a few centuries ago. Some monarchies have lasted a long time, like the Pharaonic and Chinese monarchies, more-or-less continuous over 2500 years.

    But the beginning of the end was the US Revolutionary War and the US Constitution — George Washington had no desire to be crowned king. What happened next is a rather long and convoluted story, but most European monarchies are now a figurehead sort, something that makes their nations essentially crowned republics.

    Since World War I, monarchies that have been deposed have stayed deposed, so if the British monarchy gets deposed as a result of something like being on the losing side of a big upheaval, it will likely stay deposed.

    There aren’t many activist monarchies left in the world, and most of the world’s remaining absolute monarchies are Gulf States. There seems to be a “resource curse” of oil vs. democracy.

  71. 71
    anteprepro

    I’ve got family members and family friends here in the U.S. with no ties to Britain oohing and ahhing over Teh Royal Baby too. And the birth has gotten a significantly non-zero amount of media coverage before it even happened . It’s celebrity worship as usual. A fiery, passionate desire to lick the boots of one’s Social Betters, The Rich and Famous and/or The Rich and Powerful.

  72. 72
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The Redhead was watching cable TV all day. Not one inkling of the birth, until I told her at dinner.

  73. 73
    gmacs

    Johnlee,

    Or as my dear departed Grandad would have put it, “Come back, Cromwell, all is forgiven.”

    So you’d rather have a genocidal, religiously oppressive dictator, who belongs to the most angrily boring sect of Christianity, than a figurehead royal family?

    I’m a socialist, and I am against the idea of a monarchy, but there are certainly worse things out there.

    Oh, and if I recall correctly, Cromwell was Lord Protector until his death, and was then succeeded by his son. Now, I’m from a country where we don’t have a monarchy, but isn’t that the definition of a hereditary monarchy?

  74. 74
    jose

    Here’s something the antiquated monarchy did: signing the national healthcare service act into law.

    Your nice republic is too modern to do something as antiquated as universal healthcare, I reckon.

    Damn Americans.

  75. 75
    Eamon Knight

    @70: Since World War I, monarchies that have been deposed have stayed deposed

    Aren’t you forgetting Spain?

    Anyways, the new royal is unlikely to ever be my King, as I’m unlikely to live until 2060+. For that matter, given known family longevity, there’s a fair chance his Dad will never be my King, despite HRH Prince Chuckles being nine years my senior.

  76. 76
    left0ver1under

    Avicenna (#68) -

    Stonehenge doesn’t ask that money meant to heat the homes of the poor and hospitals be used to heat Stonehenge and leave the poor to suffer and die. And Big Ben didn’t demand that the poor work for free and sleep under a bridge in the cold and rain, threatening to cut the poor off from benefits for refusing to be slave labour.

  77. 77
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @the various people claiming that the royal family bring in more money than they cost:

    Do you seriously, seriously believe that tourism in the U.K. would drop off by any measurable amount if the royals ceased to exist? That’s just ludicrous. Sure, the tourists come and gawk at them — because they’re there. If Buckingham Palace were empty, there would still be tourists — happier ones, in fact, because they could go inside and see most of the interior.

  78. 78
    Eamon Knight

    @77: Indeed. As I recall, the royal palace at Versailles is a popular tourist spot, and the French dumped their last monarch a rather long time ago….

  79. 79
    ajb47

    Yeah, British heir to Aethelred the Unready! Because if ever there was someone to be heir to, a guy named “the Unready” is it.

    As I posted on a friend’s wall:

    The Game of Thrones. You win or you die.

  80. 80
    sprocket

    And their cars are so small too!

    /snark

  81. 81
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    So the endless charity work, the fundraising, the very real military service, the conservation work, raising awareness for numerous issues which affect millions around the globe… None of that has any value to any of you?

    Really?

  82. 82
    Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita

    As a Whovian all I can think about in regards to the Royal Baby is whether its a werewolf or not.

  83. 83
    Jafafa Hots

    I see. So the royal family is not REALLY an issue… they’re just a part of a proud tradition people want to hold on to.

    Kind of like the Mississippi state flag which has a confederate battle flag on it.
    Just honoring a proud heritage is all.

  84. 84
    Jafafa Hots

    So the endless charity work

    Yeah! I mean who cares if they inherit a fortune pillaged from countries their ancestors invaded, people they killed and raped…

    They attend ribbon-cuttings!

  85. 85
    chigau (違う)

    kate_waters #81
    That was irony, right?

  86. 86
    Jafafa Hots

    (Here in the states we have old southern plantations with intact slave quarters as tourist attractions. Somehow it never occurred to me that they would bring in more $$ if we still had slaveowners living in the big house and slaves in the shacks for the tourists to see.)

  87. 87
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    Ahhhhh, yes. I forgot, you guys are mostly American.

    Never mind, then. As you were.

  88. 88
    chigau (違う)

    kate_waters
    I’m not American but I know a parasite when I see one.

  89. 89
    anteprepro

    It’s amazing how defensive people can get over pointing out the excesses of preserving certain vestiges, traditions, and relics. Same story as always, just fill in the different details like the world’s most depressing Mad Libs.

  90. 90
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @kate_waters:

    If you Brits will only respond to charities if there’s royal patronage, it’s a serious fault on your part, not an argument in favor of monarchy. As for the charity work, here’s a thought: take the annual allowance away from your royals and give it to charity. I bet you could get a heck of a lot more charity work done that way. The military service? Who gives a flying ****? The U.K., like the U.S., would do better with less military, not more. Conservation work? Once again, the money spent on them would be more valuable towards this goal than the royals themselves. And as for “raising consciousness”, well, maybe among you Brits the royals are well-known for association with issues; the only things I associate with them as an American (other than endless examples of bad behavior) is Prince Charles’ endless attempts to get government support for homeopathy, which is not a good thing. (Oh, yeah, that’s right, Prince Charles also endlessly complains about modern architecture; I suppose that could be a good thing — but I doubt you need to subsidize anyone to quite the extent to which he is subsidized in order to have that happen.)

    Got any more excuses for state-funded German inbreeding? ‘Cause the ones you gave didn’t really impress me.

  91. 91
    kate_waters: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile.

    @The Vicar:

    I’m not British… But thanks for the insight into the extent of American Exceptionalism.

  92. 92
    timgueguen

    I’d say there’s a fairly good chance this kid will never see the throne. QE2 might live another 15 years, Charles might come to the throne at 79 or 80 as a result. Have him hang around another 20 years, and William might not become King until he’s in his mid 60s. 50 years is a long time in political terms, so the UK may have dumped the monarchy by then.

  93. 93
    spondee

    WALTON!

  94. 94
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @kate_waters:

    What exceptionalism? I never said, anywhere, that the same could not be said of the various American white elephants — in fact, I went so far as to say that the American military (which is our biggest sacred cow/budgetary fetish) needs cutting just like that in the U.K.

    Oh, I get it. You just love you some royal family, don’t like them criticized, can barely stand to read messages where people suggest they should be eliminated, and so you’re frantically searching for a reason to dismiss the critics, and you’ve found in the past that Americans tend to get dismissed by the magic word “exceptionalism”, so you’re using it. Arguing with you is futile because you’ve got your fingers in your ears (metaphorically speaking) and are screaming “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU DIANA WAS THE PEOPLE’S PRINCESS” at the top of your lungs. The fact that you’re actually committing British exceptionalism passes right over your head. Well, good luck with that.

  95. 95
    brive1987

    To echo others, would I want rule American style, French/Italian etc republicanism or constitutional Westminster politics?

    Argument won, at apparently no cost to the state per #69

    When we tried and failed to go the Republic the process ran:

    Don’t want the Queen
    Need a head of state
    Don’t trust the polices to appoint one
    Don’t want the drones going a sportsman in a direct election

    …. Shit …..

    Hmm remind me of the problem we are trying to solve again? Yeh I can’t remember either. Pass me the tellie remote please dear”

  96. 96
    brive1987

    Hmm polices should equal pollies.

  97. 97
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Mum’s okay? Kid’s healthy? Great!

    Now can we please move on to more important (and relevant) news coverage? I feel like the news channels have been mummyjacked…

  98. 98
    Jimmy_Blue

    Anyone who thinks the USA is not now ruled by a privileged elite who more often than not have inherited their wealth (often gained at the expense of corruption and the suffering of thousands), power (often gained at the expense of corruption and the suffering of thousands), and privilege (often gained at the expense of corruption and the suffering of thousands) is being hopelessly niave. Different names for it, but more or less the same shit.

    As a Brit living in the USA for 7 years now I don’t see a lot of difference between your ruling elite and ours, other than the fancy jewellery and titles. You might not call them aristocracy or nobility, but that’s exactly what they are.

    I’m indifferent to the royals – some most assuredly deserve the scorn poured upon them because of their actions but others have done nothing to deserve it other than be born – and hating/disliking people simply because of who they were born too? That’s just, well, silly. Hell, most of us writing here were born into exceptional privilege – which we inherited – should others hate us for that?

    I wish that baby and its family well, like I wish every baby and its family well.

  99. 99
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Mum’s okay? Kid’s healthy? Great!

    Seconded.

  100. 100
    Chris Clarke

    We had “German royalty” interfering in our garbage dump.
    Sad, indeed.

    You really need to keep those bins sealed tightly.

  101. 101
    gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet

    True story:

    Marriage celebrant in Australia, during a wedding ceremony, stopped the proceedings to inform everyone that the people’s princes was dead.
    Such is the importance of Royal news…

  102. 102
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @Jimmy_Blue, #98:

    As a Brit living in the USA for 7 years now I don’t see a lot of difference between your ruling elite and ours, other than the fancy jewellery and titles. You might not call them aristocracy or nobility, but that’s exactly what they are.

    The difference is this: the U.S. was set up with the intent of preventing this state from happening. The safeguards may have been insufficient to prevent such things from happening, but they were there. Even the most conservative of the attendees at the Continental Congress would have said: down with hereditary rulers. There is a chance, maybe not a good one, that perhaps we’ll come to our senses and undo it.

    The U.K., on the other hand, deliberately has these awful people soaking up privilege. It’s not just a part of the government, it’s arguably the basis of the government.

    How can I put this: if, at the airport, I pick up your luggage because I think it’s mine, which looks identical, then it’s a mistake. If I pick up your luggage because I want to steal it, it’s a crime. Intent can make a huge difference.

  103. 103
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Marcus Ranum #45

    Queen Elizabeth Signs Legislation Legalizing Gay Marriage

    The legislation has built into it “a quadruple lock of protection” of religious bigot’s rights to continue behaving like religious bigots.


    {the full chorus of the dancing tardigrades appears stage left, chanting to the sound of tambourines and glockenspiels}:

    WALTON! WALTON! WALTON! WALTON! …..

  104. 104
    johnlee

    Something that posters here haven’t highlighted is that the UK is a country infected by a pervasive class system, where one half of the country despises or envies the other, where your accent often tells people not which part of the country you come from, but which kind of school you went to, and makes snobbery and privilege a part of the social fabric.
    You can all imagine where non-caucasian immigrants and their children are on this class ladder (hint – not at the top with Brenda and Big Ears), and one thing that gives it all legitimacy is the system of Kings, Queens, Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts and Barons.
    A plague on the whole stinking lot of them.

  105. 105
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    The Act, which applies to England and Wales, will: … protect those religious organisations and their representatives who don’t wish to conduct marriages of mixed race couples from successful legal challenge

  106. 106
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Soon after the death of Princess Diana, Rotten Cotton Graphics came out with a t-shirt with her picture, wearing a tiara, the caption underneath read “Just Another Dead Whore”,

    What? How’s fighting misogyny by engaging in more misogyny OK? I mean sorry to derail the thread and the monarcy bashing/worshiping, but really?

  107. 107
    Jafafa Hots

    Anyone who thinks the USA is not now ruled by a privileged elite

    Did anyone say we weren’t? ANYONE?
    Stop inventing positions nobody has taken so you can imply hypocrisy as a reflexive defense.

    I really get tired of the “well YOU guys aren’t so great either!” crap that comes out any time someone points out that there is a history of bigotry in the south that is not entirely the same as that in the north… or that having OFFICIAL hereditary rulers – even just figureheads – is an insult to all people?

    If you can’t take hearing that, then try to look at it from the point of view of, I dunno… an atheist.
    (Considering that monarchs claim they have the right to be monarchs because GOD…)

    So, as an atheist, be proud that you have a hereditary aristocracy as symbolic rulers, in massive castles, on your money, everything else… because GOD. The symbol of your country, the tourist attraction you defend.

    Then move to Kentucky and say the same about the Creation Museum.

  108. 108
    Marcus Ranum

    You know what the monarchy could do that would impress me? Dismantle itself. If they’re really just pro-forma, it wouldn’t make a difference, right? They’re filthy rich and can keep all their money. Why not?

  109. 109
    Marcus Ranum

    a pervasive class system, where one half of the country despises or envies the other

    It’s also got some racial overtones worth mentioning…

  110. 110
    Jimmy_Blue

    The Vicar @102

    the U.S. was set up with the intent of preventing this state from happening. The safeguards may have been insufficient to prevent such things from happening, but they were there. Even the most conservative of the attendees at the Continental Congress would have said: down with hereditary rulers.

    This might not actually be as clear cut as you’d like to think. John Adams, Thomas Paine and Alexander Hamilton didn’t rule out elements of monarchy in government. As that article points out, the powers of a president are often strikingly similar to those of an absolute monarch. Some even suggested the title “His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of the Rights of the Same”. Jefferson sums it up best, quoted in the article: “We were educated in royalism; no wonder, if some of us retain that idolatry still”.

    It’s not just a part of the government, it’s arguably the basis of the government.

    That’s just not true – the monarchy is no longer the basis of government in the UK and I think it is a profound misunderstanding to say so. The monarchy doesn’t matter in political reality and if it ever tried to exercise real political power it would be gone within weeks. It’s just the “pretty” wrapping paper. And I still don’t see how rich people inheriting their wealth and position in the UK is any different to them doing it here in the USA – its done just as deliberately here no matter what the awful education system and US propaganda machine (Hollywood and TV) leads people to believe.

    Not sure your analogy about luggage works here either, unless you believe that the royal family have all somehow chosen to be part of the royal family simply because of their desire for wealth and power. Where’s the intent in simply being born?

    johnlee @104:

    Right, because none of what you describe there applies to the USA at all. No siree Bob, nothing like that here. And the US system definitely doesn’t provide a justification for some being at the top and some at the bottom, nope, no way. “But, but, American Dream blah blah blah”. The USA is riddled with class, the difference between the two countries is that the UK recognises this, and the USA denies it. If you don’t see class in the USA you either don’t live here or you don’t pay attention.

  111. 111
    Jimmy_Blue

    Jafafa Hots @107

    So, as an atheist, be proud that you have a hereditary aristocracy as symbolic rulers, in massive castles, on your money, everything else… because GOD. The symbol of your country, the tourist attraction you defend.

    Sorry, you must have me confused with someone else, I have not defended the royal family because I just don’t care about them. All I said was hating someone because of who they were born to is silly, because it is.

    And no, I don’t recall people saying explicitly that the USA is not ruled by privileged elites, but there is certianly a heavy implication that the system here (or any system without a monarch) is better and was worth fighting a revolution over – my point was that it really isn’t because the USA simply has aristocracy by other names so is it really worth getting on a high horse and lecturing others.

  112. 112
    Jimmy_Blue

    Marcus Ranum @108

    You know what the monarchy could do that would impress me? Dismantle itself. If they’re really just pro-forma, it wouldn’t make a difference, right? They’re filthy rich and can keep all their money. Why not?

    This.

  113. 113
    autumn

    The only noble worth defending is one who renounces her title and the very existence of titles. All the others, given that they are of age to contemplate and decide such things, are guilty of crimes against humanity, and should be treated accordingly.

  114. 114
    amoeba

    Seemingly non-stop coverage of the birth of yet another royal parasite. So many obsequious, sycophantic parasitophiles.

    It was nearly enough to make me vomit.

  115. 115
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    All the others, given that they are of age to contemplate and decide such things, are guilty of crimes against humanity, and should be treated accordingly.

    Well, this is getting a bit silly.

  116. 116
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @Jimmy_Blue, #110:

    A) Franklin, who is the centerpiece of the article you linked to, was basically a generation before the people who built the Constitution. (Seriously, compare his birth date to that of most of the other big names.) He is not a fair indicator of the moods and opinions of the Continental Congress — indeed, several of them thought he was senile and a hindrance. (He made suggestions like opening the meetings with sermons and prayers by clergy, which made everyone else somewhat uneasy — there were religious differences between them — and afraid of tedium — nobody wanted to be there any longer than they had to, since travel was so time-consuming and difficult — and was seriously impractical because there was no money to pay for it.) Using Jefferson’s sarcastic jab at his opponents to indicate that the others were monarchists is just ludicrous.

    B) You missed my point about intent entirely. The intent which matters is not that of the royals (although I’m sure they’re eager to keep their privilege) but that of the average person; the expectation they have of the way their government will behave. The U.S. — possibly wrongly — is filled with people who think the government is, or at least should be, on the side of the average person. But the fact that British government has monarchy written into it means that, automatically, the government must be viewed as being governed on the monarch’s behalf. That’s what monarchy means; we don’t call them “mascots”.

    C) Monarchy is the basis of the government in the U.K.. Yeah, okay, you guys have, say, the Magna Carta. Great — but the whole point of the Magna Carta is that it limits the otherwise unlimited powers of the monarch. Everything which gives people rights in the U.K. is constructed as a measure against royal/noble power. Without the nobility, even if the intent is obvious, the construction itself is unsustainable. Compare this with the U.S., which is at least explicitly constructed on the basis of rights being fundamental and inalienable (even if this is utterly ignored in practice, it’s still true “in theory”, or at least in ideal).

  117. 117
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    And you know, calling a kid that was just born yesterday a parasite? Call his parents parasites (even though I’m not too keen on that either, but whatever), but a kid whose only crime at this point is getting born into that family… assholish move.

    (first person who calls me a royalist gets a major *eyeroll* for free, every other just gets a sad shake of head)

    Semirelated: seconding Gen in #106.

  118. 118
    jameshafseth

    Spare a thought for me? Easiest route to my office (which is right by the hospital mum and sprog are at) is taking a short cut through the hospital grounds, made considerably more difficult this week by the throngs of tourists, hordes of media, and small army of security personnel around the place now…

  119. 119
    AJS

    The British Royal Family are maintained for the sole benefit of American tourists. The proof of the obviety of this statement is that even the British press are using bloody Yank measurements now. I had to go on a French web site just to find out how many kilos the little parasite weighed.

    3.8 kg., if anybody is interested.

    (I lost any vestige of respect for the Queen ten years ago, when she allowed Tony Blair to go ahead with the Iraq war.)

  120. 120
    Menyambal

    The Queen is “Defender of the Faith”, for what that’s worth.

    She is also the titular monarch of more countries than you can shake a stick at. I’d say that she, by her position and by her personal self, has possibly kept a few of “her” countries from fighting each other. I’d feed her and her Corgis for that.

    Charles is another matter, and will probably start a few wars. I’d keep him on as King just to poke him with a stick and go “neener-neener” at him, as a demonstration of what kings are worth now.

    The baby is a baby, give it some love.

    Giving people hate because of your diagnosis of them based on a comment or two is kinda silly.

  121. 121
    Nick Gotts

    The problem you don’t realise is that the monarchy is ours. And we would rather have a tradition that is honestly neutered and harmless. – Avicenna

    Is that the royal “we” Avicenna? Because you sure as fuck don’t speak for me. Admittedly, a majority at present want to keep the monarchy. That couldn’t have anything to do with centuries of sycophantic propaganda, could it? You and your fellow arselickers might like to think about the motivation for this propaganda. It’s far from harmless when that upper-class twit of the century, Charles Windsor, pushes homeopathy and religion. It’s certainly far from harmless that the monarchy is the apex of a system of hereditary and religious privilege in our legislature. And if anyone really believes the monarchy is politically neutral, I have a collection of palaces and castles I’m offering at a once-only discount price.

  122. 122
    Nick Gotts

    I’d say that she, by her position and by her personal self, has possibly kept a few of “her” countries from fighting each other. – Menyambal

    Evidence for this extraordinary claim?

  123. 123
    Nick Gotts

    And you know, calling a kid that was just born yesterday a parasite? – Beatrice

    Well I’d call a newborn tapeworm a parasite, and that’s no more its fault than it is of the new prince.

  124. 124
    Nick Gotts

    Monarchy is the basis of the government in the U.K. – The Vicar

    This is quite true, and very significant. If we were ever to elect a government that seriously threatened elite power and privilege, the military could and likely would overthrow it in the name of the monarch – because that’s who they owe allegiance to, not the people or the constitution (because we don’t have one).

  125. 125
    Nick Gotts

    Need a head of state – brive1987

    Why?

  126. 126
    Nick Gotts

    Jafafa Hots@86,

    What colour internet would you like?

  127. 127
    seppomannisto

    @68 “People don’t come to see Buckingham Palace. They come to see the Queen. She may be outside the Palace…”

    Well that explains why you never see tourists at Versailles in France, Winter Palace in Russia or Forbidden City in China.

  128. 128
    Lofty

    Antidote

  129. 129
    andrewryan

    By far the majority of #RoyalBaby tweets are coming out of the US.

  130. 130
    andrewryan

    @AJS: “The proof of the obviety of this statement is that even the British press are using bloody Yank measurements now.”

    Brits have always listed baby weights in pounds and ounces, not kilos. Likewise, we have the speed limit in MPH, not KPH, and drink pints, not fractions of a litre. No-one talks about their heights in anything but feet and inches. And greengrocers a few years back went to court to fight for the right to keep listing prices per pound.

    Britain still pretty much uses the imperial system. As the old saying goes, if God had wanted us to use the metric system, he’d have given us ten fingers!

  131. 131
    Jimmy_Blue

    Nick Gotts @124:

    If we were ever to elect a government that seriously threatened elite power and privilege, the military could and likely would overthrow it in the name of the monarch

    Evidence for this extraordinary claim?

    The Vicar @116:

    Franklin is not the centerpiece of that article (Adams and Hamilton feature prominently too) – he serves as an in road into the argument that the American colonists had a great regard for aspects of monarchy whilst being appalled by its tendency toward tyranny – and that this led to elements of monarchy being incorporated in the American system. The article also points out Jefferson’s despair at monarchical attitudes amongst contempories through more than just the one quote I highlighted. I am not arguing the Congress was full of monarchists, just that the traditional view is not as accurate as many believe.

    I did miss your point about intent, but I’m not sure how your analogy was meant to illustrate it either. But yes I get it, the US is full of niave people when it concerns their government. Even the Founding Fathers didn’t mean government to be on the side of all the average people, thinking otherwise is a mistake. It’s a myth.

    Sorry, but monarchy is not the basis of government in the UK, except I suppose in the notional sense of governments working in the monarchs name and on their behalf – which is an affectation not a political reality. The monarchy is effectively powerless other than to add a few decorative flourishes to government, and what power it could in theory wield would lead to even those powers being curtailed should a monarch try to exercise them. That’s actually why I think its time to let it slowly whither away. We are not talking about absolute monarchies anymore – they died in 1649 in the UK and what was left has been shrinking in power since, we are talking about a monarchy that has been allowed to exist purely as a national figurehead devoid of real power but with the appearance of significance, even Ministers to the Crown are responsible to Parliament, not the Crown. In practise, the royal prerogative is considered to be largely meaningless nowadays. So I suppose you are right in the sense that monarchy was at one time the basis of UK government, but it is not anymore as a day to day reality.

    I haven’t been making my points very well obviously and I apologise for that, but what I was trying to say was that the argument here appears to be getting rid of monarchy makes government better – yet all I see in the USA is that the names and titles may have changed but the effects are the same. One form of elite privileged rulers got replaced by another form – but at least the monarchy has no real power and isn’t in the pockets of big business and lobbyists. At least we know what the monarchy’s agenda is. I fail to see how the US system is better other than people pretend to be beholden to some 200+ year old bits of paper – and we see how that works in practise.

  132. 132
    richenry

    Nick Gotts @124
    No, we wouldn’t overthrow the government, but it’s fabulous to see, in this bastion of sceptical freethinking, such baseless assertions being paraded as plausible.
    What next? Is the US president going to send his FEMA agents over to blighty to help the royal family in rounding up all the republicans? Idiot.

  133. 133
  134. 134
    Gregory Greenwood

    Rob Grigjanis @ 40;

    I’ll take royal baby bullshit 24/7, with universal health care and not-totally-psychopathic campaign financing, over the horror show that is the USA, any day. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but I’d think long and hard before switching to a US-style republic.

    Who said anything about switching to a ‘US-style’ republic? Meaning no disrespect to the American members of the Horde, I doubt that any Brits in favour of a republic who are more liberal than Enoch Powell would hold the US up as any kind of example to aspire to.

    Fortunately, as you say, monarchy is not required to have universal healthcare and a functional system of campaign financing. It is quite possible to abolish a monarchy and become a republic without going down the American path of an ever greater lurch toward the hard religious right.

  135. 135
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Well I’d call a newborn tapeworm a parasite, and that’s no more its fault than it is of the new prince.

    Yes, well, and if I had a female dog I’d call it a bitch.

  136. 136
    andrewryan

    I don’t understand talk of ‘abolishing the monarchy’. Exactly what, in practical terms, would happen? Assuming we’re not talking about killing them off, they’d all still be around. The same media interest would still surround them, as it does other celebrities. They’d still have their wealth. If what annoys you about the monarchy is that they’re rich people who get lots of publicity, then I don’t see how ‘abolishing the monarchy’ would stop that.

    I’m not fans of them, but the small cost to the tax payer seems small next to the massive PR value they have for the country around the world.

  137. 137
    Nick Gotts

    Jimmy_Blue, richenry,

    Your naivete is touching, if you think elites anywhere would refrain from any means to hand to preserve their power and privilege if these were seriously threatened. In the UK, the position of the monarchy makes it highly likely it would be used in this way. In addition to the members of the armed forces and police, MPs and members of the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments are still required to swear allegiance to the monarch, making it impossible for some of the elected representatives of the people to take their seats without swearing a false oath. In Australia, the Governor-General, the Queen’s representative, intervened in politics to oust the Labor PM, Gough Whitlam in 1975; if her mere representative can do that and get away with it, it is highly likely the Queen could do the same.

    During the late 1960s and mid 1970s, there were certainly elements of the security services (such as Peter Wright), and ex-army officers (Colonel David Stirling and General Walter Walker), as well as elements of the right-wing press, who contemplated a coup against PM Harold Wilson. Walker claimed support from very senior serving officers. Wilson himself believed the plots were serious, and in one case, involved installing a senior member of the royal family, Lord Louis Mountbatten, as Prime Minister, although Mountbatten is said to have refused to be involved. Wilson wasn’t even particularly left-wing, but there was a right-wing panic about the alleged excessive powers of the trades unions.

  138. 138
    Nick Gotts

    Beatrice@135,

    Neat response, I admit!

  139. 139
    Nick Gotts

    Is the US president going to send his FEMA agents over to blighty to help the royal family in rounding up all the republicans? – richenry

    You’ve presumably had your head too far up a royal arse to notice that the NSA has been helping our own security services to spy on us.

  140. 140
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    The Royals are just figureheads. They have no real power, they’re basically just Head Diplomats. And to be fair, the current queen is fucking good at it. Other countries love them, they do wonders for international relations, and they definitely rake in more money than we spend on them. Hell, the Treasury gets over £200 million a year from the Crown estate, which the Royals signed over the rights to in exchange for a salary, which they only recieve for official duties. All Parliamentary annuities are repaid by the Queen. They pay all taxes, including council tax on the palaces. The money we make from the tourism they generate is difficult to calculate and I can’t find any figures. However, the Government makes more off the Crown estate than is spent on the Royals each year, so anything we do make in tourism is a bonus.

    If they had any real power I think I’d be against them, but in their current role I confess I am rather fond of them.

  141. 141
    Gregory Greenwood

    andrewryan @ 136;

    I don’t understand talk of ‘abolishing the monarchy’. Exactly what, in practical terms, would happen?

    We would stop spending significant sums of public money maintaining the immediate monarchy and all the hangers on, for a start. Money that would then be freed up to be used for something of more meaningful and demonstrable benefit to the UK citizenry. We could also start looking at more realistic ways to fund the maintenance of the scores of castles and estates maintained for the royal family (not all of which pay for themselves by tourist revenue), many of which the royal family doesn’t even visit from one year (or even in some cases one decade) to the next.

    The institution of UK royalty has presided over a great many of the crimes and injustices perpetrated by this country. Much of its established wealth and finery was procured by colonial means, and so bears the legacy of the massacres, oppression and pillaging by which it was stolen from those societies ground under the colonial heel. Abolishing the monarchy is one small step we can take to acknowledge the crimes of our past as a nation, and would also allow us to return some of that which was stolen to the societies from which it was originally taken.

    Abolition would also remove one of the props that help support what is still a highly classist social system in the UK that militates against social mobility. Remove the royals, who are essentially the ultimate expressions of hereditary, entirely unearned privilege, and we are one step closer to dismantling the entire notion that birth somehow equals destiny; that the circumstances into which a person happens to be born determines their life opportunities.

    As a bonus, we would also remove the public podium from Prince Charles, thus mitigating his ability to promote homeopathy and religious weirdness from such a high profile public stage.

    Assuming we’re not talking about killing them off, they’d all still be around. The same media interest would still surround them, as it does other celebrities. They’d still have their wealth.

    The current crop of royals would retain their personal wealth, and may retain a great deal of their status, even if the UK was to become a republic, but at least we would not see the ongoing continuation of an outmoded institution that would leave the royal millstone around the necks of future generations.

  142. 142
    Nick Gotts

    Other countries love them, they do wonders for international relations, and they definitely rake in more money than we spend on them. – Thumper

    [ctiations needed]

    Hell, the Treasury gets over £200 million a year from the Crown estate, which the Royals signed over the rights to in exchange for a salary

    And how did they come by that estate in the first place?

    They pay all taxes

    Nope.

    we would also remove the public podium from Prince Charles – Gregory Greenwood

    And that corrupt scumbag Prince Andrew, chum of child abusers and dictators.

  143. 143
    Gregory Greenwood

    carlie @ 14;

    Precisely because we don’t have to put up with them otherwise…

    Consider yourselves very lucky indeed. Charles in particular has induced so many face/palm worthy moments that I fear I may be getting repetative strain injury.

    …and Disney teaches us that it’s awesome to be a princess.

    One more thing Disney has to answer for, especially given that an accurate description of the role of a princess – until relatively recently and with very few exceptions – was heir-factory-in-waiting.

    Which itself raises an interesting point – throughout history, systems of hereditary royalty have been very concerned with controling the bodies and fertility of women in order to secure lines of succession. It is ironic that the modern Republican party shares this attitude with royal families, the principle difference being that they want to expand the control of women and the denial of their bodily autonomy to all women in pursuit of religious and ideological goals, whereas the royal motivation for controlling the bodies and queens and princesses had at least some component of (ugly and misogynistic) political pragmatism to it.

  144. 144
    Gregory Greenwood

    Nick Gotts @ 142;

    And that corrupt scumbag Prince Andrew, chum of child abusers and dictators.

    Oh yeah, him too. That is what you get when you have a system of unearned hereditary privilege; the almost total lack of meaningful oversight invites corruption and the abuse of status and power, and not just by those who principally occupy the limelight, but by all those who form the broader court of relatives, hangers on, and professional sycophants.

  145. 145
    Nick Gotts

    professional sycophants

    These sycophants include notably the BBC’s “royal correspondents”, but the most accomplished in recent times was Norman St John Stevas (St John is of course pronounced “Sinjun”), who when ennobled became Lord St John of Fawsley, or as many preferred, Lord Cringe-on-all-Foursley.

  146. 146
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Nick Gotts #142

    I think you’ll find I did provide a citation to that effect. As to them doing wonders for our international relations, I can’t think of a single place that doesn’t go fucking ga-ga over a Royal visit.

    As to the taxes; fine, they pay all taxes legally required of them plus, according to the story you linked to, a few not legally required of them. Having read the story I presume you believe that he should be paying corporation tax and capital gains tax on those holdings, but if they are legally his private property and not a corporation then he’s under no obligation to do so. There’s an argument to be had as to whether that ancient law which granted the Prince of Wales tax-exempt holdings ought to be overturned and the property treated as a corporation, but the fact remains that legally it isn’t.

  147. 147
    davem

    According to the BBC this morning, Royalty has a new-found popularity in the UK population. Why is it then, that I can’t find anyone who gives a damn about the new royal rug rat? There are , however, a lot of cheering American tourists gathered around Buckingham Palace…

  148. 148
    AJS

    @ andrewryan: I’m a metre seventy-one tall, and 64 kilos. I learned only SI in school (including being regularly measured in centimetres and weighed in kilos) and I have no car (but if I did, I’d be putting petrol in it by the litre).

    It was all metres, litres and kilos, before the bloody Internet came along and ruined everything with American measurements and spellings everywhere.

    It wouldn’t have hurt the British news sites just to have use the proper units, with the foreignisms in brackets. Particularly as the scale on which the baby was weighed in the hospital would have read out in kg. anyway, so the official measurement could have been recorded that way, and the US conversion was just that — a conversion.

  149. 149
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    Anyone who thinks that the common soldiery’s oath being to HM rather than a constitution means they’re going to be gung-ho for a coup in favour of the monarchy needs to give me the name and mobile number of their dealer, because I want some of that shit.

    When I affirmed my oath as a Canadian soldier, the fact that it said “Her Majesty” instead of “the people of Canada” meant absolutely fuck-all. I, and every other soldier, knew damn well what it meant to us: the people of Canada. That was why we served, not because we wanted to be the Queen’s pretty toys.

    No way in the foreseeable future does the military in the UK suddenly become the private enforcers of the royals, nor is there any chance the soldiery would follow a bunch of toffee-nosed officers into battle against their own neighbours, relatives, and friends on behalf of the royals if they did try it. We are all educated in our rights to not follow illegal orders. Trying to overthrow a legally-elected government because we think they shouldn’t be taking the royal family out of the mix? Just not on. No way you’d get enough buy-in from the common soldier to make it happen. No way.

    Do you really think that the oath makes the royalist? That there are no republicans in the armed forces? Exceptional claim needs exceptional evidence, please. Scaremongering about how the army would totally flip its collective nut and replace the government for which it and its fellow citizens had voted? Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Should the monarchy be made unofficial? Me, I don’t much care, here in Canada it would make very little difference. Nor, in reality, as has been pointed out, would it make much difference in the UK. Whatever the moral implications of their wealth and how they came by it, they’re not taking out but putting in, as has been shown. The first time a royal tried to say “I don’t assent to this bill” would be the last time anyone asked a royal for assent to a bill.

    The goofy celebrity-worship doesn’t seem any more parasitic to me than the American pseudo-nobility, which has led to a Gini number that would make the tsars think hard about republicanism, and an inherited-privilege model that lacks only the official titles to be a real nobility. Given the increasing centralization of power in the executive branch of the US government, one could even make the case that the likelihood of royal-style dictatorship is higher there than in a Britain with a neutered monarchy.

    Just because we’re primates, doesn’t mean we need to spend our time flinging shit at one another, y’know.

  150. 150
    lpetrich

    To Eamon Knight #75:

    I will concede that I oversimplified a bit. Monarchy in the 20th Century is an interesting map. Only Spain and Cambodia now have monarchies that were restored. Spain’s because Francisco Franco wanted a worthy successor and Cambodia’s after the fall of the Khmer Rouge.

    But there have been some Cromwellian de facto monarchies and would-be ones over the last century.

    The most successful so far has been North Korea, which is on its third generation of god kings. Yes, that country is a Communist monarchy.

    Elsewhere, Hafez Assad of Syria was succeeded by his son Bashar and Papa Doc of Haiti by his son Baby Doc. Saddam Hussein and Muammar Khadafy wanted to be succeeded by one of their sons. But Saddam Hussein’s ones are all dead, and Muammar Khadafy’s sons and daughter are either dead, jailed, or in exile, with his successors having no love for the surviving ones. I’ve seen speculation that Hosni Mubarak also wanted to be succeeded by his son.

  151. 151
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    The USofA is so lucky not to have a class of people with hereditary wealth and privilege.

    Bwahahahahahahaha!

  152. 152
    rr

    Trying to ignore the Princess Diana Memorial Baby.

  153. 153
    chigau (違う)

    Jackie #151
    exactly

  154. 154
    Nick Gotts

    Anyone who thinks that the common soldiery’s oath being to HM rather than a constitution means they’re going to be gung-ho for a coup in favour of the monarchy needs to give me the name and mobile number of their dealer, because I want some of that shit. – CaitieCat

    If you think it would be the common soldiery making the decision, I can only marvel at your naivete. In any such coup, the orders would come from high in the command chain, and the justification would be given in terms of loyalty to the Crown.

    No way you’d get enough buy-in from the common soldier to make it happen.

    Ah, you mean like the way the common soldiers refused to go along with the coup in Spain in 1936, the coup in Greece in 1967 (that one was backed by the King), the coup in Chile in 1973, the coup in Argentina in 1976… Yup, all those coups failed completely because the common soldiery refused orders.

    Oh, wait. They didn’t.

  155. 155
    Nick Gotts

    Of course, I admit there were all the American, British etc. soldiers who disobeyed the illegal order to invade Iraq contrary to international law.

  156. 156
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    Yeah, because those countries were exactly like Britain, modern constitutional monarchies with well-established democracy and no history of revolution, and a population not under systematic heavy repression.

    Oh, wait, they weren’t. Got any relevant examples? Didn’t think so.

    You’re the one making the extraordinary claim. Unless you’re just special-pleading, then provide evidence or give up your absurd assertion.

  157. 157
    timgueguen

    It will be interesting to see how popular the British royals are after QE2 passes away ind Charles takes over. An elderly king who,, to many, will be thought of as “that nasty man who cheated on poor Diana” isn’t likely to do the brand much good. And I suspect, despite what many people think, that Charles won’t be in any hurry to turn the throne over to William.

  158. 158
    Nick Gotts

    Thumper@146,

    I think you’ll find I did provide a citation to that effect.

    No, you didn’t. Your link provides no evidence whatever that:

    Other countries love them, they do wonders for international relations, and they definitely rake in more money than we spend on them.

    It asserts that tourism etc. benefit from them, but it provides no evidence for the assertion. It also notes that they get free (luxury) housing, so they can invest their money elsewhere.

    As to them doing wonders for our international relations, I can’t think of a single place that doesn’t go fucking ga-ga over a Royal visit.

    Can you provide any evidence that royalty-groupies in the streets make any difference whatever to our international relations?

    As to the taxes; fine, they pay all taxes legally required of them

    Wow, they’re not actually criminals. I’m so impressed.

  159. 159
    andrewryan

    @AJS “I have no car (but if I did, I’d be putting petrol in it by the litre). It was all metres, litres and kilos, before the bloody Internet came along”

    You buy petrol by the litre, but on the road you’d find all speed limits written in MPH, not KPH. And certainly in pubs it’s pints, and has been for significantly longer than the internet.

    I remember in the book 1984 a character bemoans that pubs (in the book’s dystopian future) have been forced to serve drinks in half litres rather than pints, and says a pint was a better amount. That book came out in the late 1940s. Having the metric system forced on the country was seen as an act of oppression, and it continued to be seen as such. When that greengrocer was taken to court in 2000 for refusing to stop having his prices in pounds rather than kilos, the newspapers painted an imposed metric system as a European thing, with the Imperial system being good old-fashioned British. There was never a hint that it was American, or being pushed on us by the internet. I remember a teacher in the early 1980s telling us all what a nonsense it was talking about heights in meters and centimetres – “Who do you know who doesn’t talk about feet and inches?” he challenged us. The country has slowly moved from Imperial to Metric over decades (in fact centuries) – currency in the 1970s being a famous example, and what remains in Imperial is a left-over from the past, not a new thing, and not something we’ve moved to recently from a Metric past.

  160. 160
    Nick Gotts

    Got any relevant examples? – CaitieCat

    Yup, the ones I already gave. Soldiers almost always follow orders – that’s what much of the training is for, to ensure that they will do as they are told even if they don’t like it. How many stood out against the illegal invasion of Iraq?

  161. 161
    andrewryan

    @AJS “It wouldn’t have hurt the British news sites just to have use the proper units, with the foreignisms in brackets.”

    Foreignisms? My parents were given a set of cooking scales in the 1960s as a wedding gift. All the weights with it were pounds and ounces. Every old British cooking book I’ve talks about ‘fluid ounces’ and ‘half a pint’.
    Horse racing talks about furlongs, of which there are 8 to the mile.
    Pubs use Firkins, a measure equal to 9 gallons. There’s the ‘Yard of Ale’, not the ’90cm of Ale’.
    Fathoms are equal to six feet.
    I used to collect old Guinness Book of Records – record breaking heights and weights were always written in Imperial – so and so was 8’11″, so and so weighed 100 stone.
    The British characters in This Is Spinal Tap measure out the height of the Stone Henge set in Imperial, getting their feet and inches mixed up.

    If all these are ‘foreignisms’ they’ve been around for quite some time and are nothing to do with the internet.

    From the UK Metric Association’s website:
    “It is often said that although health records in the UK have been metric for years, hospitals routinely tell parents birth weight in imperial because grandparents say they do not understand it in metric.
    Of course grandparents will have heard about birth weights for decades and will want to compare those of newly born children with those in the past. However converting everything back into imperial is not the sensible way. The same grandparents will have had decades of experience of old money but in 1971 managed to pick up decimal currency.
    Get granny to write down the weights she wants to compare with and convert them to kilograms.”

    I guess Granny is confused because she gets all her information from American websites?

  162. 162
    Eamon Knight

    @159 You buy petrol by the litre, but on the road you’d find all speed limits written in MPH, not KPH.

    …which drove (no pun intended) me nuts when I was over there two years ago. I can handle the Canadian system (litres/100kms, which is continuously displayed on the dash of both our cars), and I can covert that to American mpg when I need to (divide into 235), but having to estimate consumption in litres for a trip in miles is just….wrong.

  163. 163
    andrewryan

    Yes, it’s stupid. On the plus side, prices in the UK are set ‘on the pound’ or ‘a penny shy’ AFTER tax is added. So everything is £4.99, or £10, or £99.99 – a round figure at the till, even when several items are added together, rather than $1.17 or $20.43 or whatever in the US, which leaves you with handfuls of change very quickly.

    A funny difference in currency between UK and US – the smallest note in the UK (£5) is worth about $7.68 – you can’t get paper money worth less than that. But the largest value coin (£2) is worth over three dollars. To me, a Brit, it’s funny that you don’t get US coins worth more than 60 pence, but you can get a dollar bill, which is worth the same.

  164. 164
    Louis

    Autumn, #113,

    So, people like Lord Eric Avebury?

    I love the nuance of the fanatically unthought position.

    Louis

  165. 165
    eveningchaos

    As a Canadian I would like to see us divorce ourselves from our Commonwealth heritage, but Stephen Harper is doing the opposite as of late. He has spent millions of dollars extolling our military history under British authority. Our military has now reverted back to the old British designations and we have removed the maple leaf from military vehicles to be replaced by the Union Jack. Royal visits have increased under the Harper regime and the taxpayers get to foot the bill. It seems like Johnny Rotten was right about Canada too when he said, “There’s no future”. We are losing any identity we managed to tease out of our culture and are reverting back to a dominion.

  166. 166
    Louis

    As for the royals? As a point of principle? Sure, get rid of them, pension them off, become a republic somehow. Steal some of the good ideas the Americans have had, they’re not all bad! ;-)

    As a point of priority? They’re way down my list. We have more pressing needs.

    Kick the current bunch of gits out of the Commons. Get some proper progressives in, this may have to be done by subverting content in the Daily Mail. Shore up the NHS, renationalise and subsidise public transport, really fucking sort out education, scrap Trident, spend the cash on research, oh whilst I’m wishing, I want a pony too.

    And I note, as usual, this thread has largely descended to barely concealed nationalism. Pathetic. Guess what folks? Every country on earth has stuff to sort out. We’re evolving, not evolved. The dumbitude over some magic special baby is bread and circuses. Ignore it, you’re smarter than that.

    Louis

  167. 167
    Louis

    Oh and it’s dead easy to be happy for a young couple having their first baby. Privileged or not. It’s also really easy to do this whilst mocking the fawning press coverage, highlighting vastly more important issues, advocating republicanism etc.

    Louis

  168. 168
    David Marjanović

    Don’t despair. With a bit of luck there’s still time for all of them to get electrocuted in a freak accident.

    There are so many of them that the only way to be sure would be to take awf and nuke the entire site frahm orbit…

    Plus the advantages of a hidden American hereditary plutocracy bound by no rules in light of a post 2008 world.

    As if that were the only alternative to a monarchy! There are more than two countries in the world, and I should grow eyestalks to roll my eyes properly.

    Or as my dear departed Grandad would have put it, “Come back, Cromwell, all is forgiven.”

    I’m contractually obliged to point out that The Natural History Museum is still on Cromwell Road.

    Soon after the death of Princess Diana, Rotten Cotton Graphics came out with a t-shirt with her picture, wearing a tiara, the caption underneath read “Just Another Dead Whore”, which I thought captured perfectly the morbid, faux sympathy expressed for a privileged, pampered parasite while on a daily basis uncounted women were slaughtered by patriarchal, misogynistic societies with absolutely no attention being paid to this plight.

    See comment 106.

    Honestly, I think this is more important news in the UK.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23401076

    …Cameron is greasing a slippery slope really hard. :-S

    The baby and monarchy has as much use in a 21st century democracy as an electoral college and individual states having their own rules for voting in national elections.

    I hate to break it to you, but the states don’t have their own rules for voting.

    The counties do.

    There are thirteen thousand separate elections with thirteen thousand different ballot designs going on at the same time. It’s Lovecraftian madness.

    The history of the British Monarchy is a lesson for the world. They effectively demoted themselves to their current figurehead status and gave control to the people.

    …Are you sure that’s how it went, and Parliament didn’t do it instead?

    Sili at 7.
    Nice “King Ralph” reference. Either that, or you’re just a psycho. Or both….

    Probably both. :-)

    I’ve found something worse though. The Friendly Atheist has found out how xians are treating this birth.

    And even they fail to mention that Jesus is King of Poland.

    I’ll take royal baby bullshit 24/7, with universal health care and not-totally-psychopathic campaign financing, over the horror show that is the USA, any day. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but I’d think long and hard before switching to a US-style republic.

    *injects growth hormone into own eyesockets, without anaesthesia*

    Rupert Mordor and his army of orcs

    Day saved.

    Why do I get the feeling the Prince Harry is paying for a royal piss-up for his regiment to celebrate his demotion in the line of succession?

    + 1

    The problem you don’t realise is that the monarchy is ours. And we would rather have a tradition that is honestly neutered and harmless. They are productive. William is a coastguard pilot and has flown and probably still flies missions. Like “non-photoshoot missions”. Harry’s been to Afghanistan and in combat. These are not “wusses” or people who won’t do things that are hard.

    What a bizarre way to miss the point.

    No, courage isn’t automatically praiseworthy; no, courage doesn’t automatically make everything around a person praiseworthy.

    The royals get a big whack of money from the government, but they pay much more back. Since George III they’ve voluntarily signed over the profits from their land (GBP 200 million to the government in return for their salary & expenses (GBP 40 million). So Parliament could cut them off, but it wouldn’t be profitable.

    …assuming they got to keep more than 20 % of “their land”. Just saying.

    the most angrily boring sect of Christianity

    I like your way with words! :-)

    Yeah, British heir to Aethelred the Unready! Because if ever there was someone to be heir to, a guy named “the Unready” is it.

    “Unready” is a misunderstanding of what meant “ill-counseled” or perhaps “clueless”.

    Either way, though, I’m not sure what your point is.

    So the endless charity work, the fundraising, the very real military service, the conservation work, raising awareness for numerous issues which affect millions around the globe… None of that has any value to any of you?

    The military service does not, no.

    Please provide some details on the rest.

    state-funded German inbreeding

    Come on, there’s less and less of that every generation.

    To echo others, would I want rule American style, French/Italian etc republicanism or constitutional Westminster politics?

    *twists eyestalks into impressive knot*

    How about German-style republicanism? Or Austrian-style? Or Taiwanese-style? Or Botswana-style?

    Some even suggested the title “His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of the Rights of the Same”.

    Some, IIRC, suggested the address “Your Electile Majesty”.

    The British Royal Family are maintained for the sole benefit of American tourists. The proof of the obviety of this statement is that even the British press are using bloody Yank measurements now. I had to go on a French web site just to find out how many kilos the little parasite weighed.

    Huh.

    3.8 kg., if anybody is interested.

    *squee* ^_^

    (I lost any vestige of respect for the Queen ten years ago, when she allowed Tony Blair to go ahead with the Iraq war.)

    Did she have a choice?

    The Queen is “Defender of the Faith”, for what that’s worth.

    Funnily enough, that’s a title granted by Parliament.

    She is also the titular monarch of more countries than you can shake a stick at. I’d say that she, by her position and by her personal self, has possibly kept a few of “her” countries from fighting each other.

    Please explain. Which ones were at all likely to start a war with each other in the first place?

    Need a head of state – brive1987

    Why?

    Well, if you try not to have one, the head of government expands into this empty niche…

    If we were ever to elect a government that seriously threatened elite power and privilege, the military could and likely would overthrow it in the name of the monarch

    If they did that, they’d be politically dead within days. (And perhaps literally dead, too.) I’m pretty sure they know that full well – and that’s before we get to comment 149.

    Well that explains why you never see tourists at Versailles in France, Winter Palace in Russia or Forbidden City in China.

    Schönbrunn and Sanssouci are packed, too.

    Likewise, we have the speed limit in MPH, not KPH

    That would be km/h anyway.

    Cuter baby born at a different zoo.

    YAY WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLA YAY

    Beatrice@135,

    Neat response, I admit!

    Also, over here, calling anyone a parasite would fulfill Godwin’s Law. Just saying.

    The Royals are just figureheads. They have no real power, they’re basically just Head Diplomats. And to be fair, the current queen is fucking good at it. Other countries love them, they do wonders for international relations

    *blink*

    I’m not noticing. They’re no more loved than other celebrities (Brangelina, say), no less mocked (the Queen’s hats, Prince Charles’s brain…), and I haven’t noticed any influence on international relations. Please explain.

    Seriously, the strawberry tarts the Queen puts on her head have made her an international laughingstock! :-D

    Spain’s because Francisco Franco wanted a worthy successor

    …and the ETA blew Carrero Blanco over a house…

    Cromwellian de facto monarchies

    Funny picture.

    Trying to ignore the Princess Diana Memorial Baby.

    Thread won.

    Of course, I admit there were all the American, British etc. soldiers who disobeyed the illegal order to invade Iraq contrary to international law.

    Difference is, they didn’t know any better, and the governments were all for it.

    we have removed the maple leaf from military vehicles to be replaced by the Union Jack

    what

  169. 169
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    …and the ETA blew Carrero Blanco over a house…

    Carrero Blanco, aka the first Spanish astronaut.

    Speaking of which, regarding the discussion about monarchs and coups, it’s only fair to point out King JC’s role in the attempted coup in 1981. It’s unclear if the coup would have succeeded with his support, but without it, it collapsed fairly quickly.

  170. 170
    Walton

    Where’s Walton?

    WALTON!

    WALTON! WALTON! WALTON! WALTON! …..

    You called?

  171. 171
    David Marjanović

    Carrero Blanco, aka the first Spanish astronaut.

    :-D

    You called?

    Absolutely. You’re something of an expert on several questions that have been raised, you know.

  172. 172
    eveningchaos

    I should clarify when I said they would take the maple leaf off military vehicles. I read the article wrong. Instead the defense ministry will replace the Maple Leaf rank designation on the shoulder boards of officers with the traditional “pips” and Crowns. Sorry for any confusion. You can read the whole article here http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/07/08/peter-mackay-canadian-forces-ranks.html .

  173. 173
    Kristjan Wager

    For that matter, I felt sorry for Diana, who I suspect did not realize quite how much of a cage she was stepping into when she married Big Ears.

    I know this goes all the way back to comment 24, but I think it is worth pointing out that Diana came from an extremely aristocratic background, with royal ancestry and close ties to the royal family. After her death (and to some degree before) she has morphed into some kind of naive commoner in the eyes of many people, but she was as submerged into the culture surrounding British royalty as anyone outside the royal family could be.

    If anyone had a chance to know what they were getting into, it was certainly Diana.

  174. 174
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    All that said, Kristjan, Diana was still quite naive – and yes, she was aware of the hoopla surrounding the royals – but that does not mean that she knew what it was like to live that life. She also appears (correctly or not?) to have fallen for the idea that her fairy-tale wedding would have a fairy-tale ending.

    The chief difference I see, really, between Charles and Diana and William and Kate is that the former marriage was entered into with him under pressure to marry a titled British virgin (rather than the woman he actually liked) and she either ignorant of this or thinking that she could have her cake and eat it too. The latter, by contrast, seems to be between two people who actually like each other.

    YMMV, of course.

  175. 175
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    That isn’t to say that I consider Diana to have been a winsome naif – she definitely knew how to use the media and her status (witness the chatter surrounding her divorce, and her commentary, etc) to her advantage when she wanted, and while she may have had a point WRT how the royals had to adapt to a changing society, she didn’t necessarily pursue her goals inside the family with the greatest finesse.

  176. 176
    Walton

    As to the taxes; fine, they pay all taxes legally required of them plus, according to the story you linked to, a few not legally required of them. Having read the story I presume you believe that he should be paying corporation tax and capital gains tax on those holdings, but if they are legally his private property and not a corporation then he’s under no obligation to do so. There’s an argument to be had as to whether that ancient law which granted the Prince of Wales tax-exempt holdings ought to be overturned and the property treated as a corporation, but the fact remains that legally it isn’t.

    Indeed, they pay more taxes than are legally required of them. The Queen voluntarily pays income tax, which she is not legally required to do. The Prince of Wales also voluntarily pays income tax on his income from the Duchy of Cornwall. As the Duchy’s legal advisers have repeatedly explained, the Duchy does not pay corporation tax because it is not a corporation, an unincorporated association or one of the other types of bodies required by law to pay corporation tax (despite the name, corporation tax isn’t payable only by corporations); rather, it is a trust set up to generate income for the Duke of Cornwall (a title always held by the eldest son of the Sovereign). And Prince Charles does not pay capital gains tax because he isn’t entitled to the capital gains from the Duchy: these are reinvested in the business.

    It is a complicated issue: the royal family’s financial arrangements are sui generis, and how it works isn’t widely understood. The Queen is entitled to the revenues from (but does not own, as such) the collection of assets which comprise the Crown Estate, which comes to more than £200 million a year – but every monarch since George III has voluntarily handed these revenues over to the Treasury. In return, Parliament has historically made an annual payment to the Queen from public funds, called the Civil List, which until recently was fixed at £7.9 million. But under recent legislation, this has been replaced with a new Sovereign Support Grant, which is fixed at 15% of the revenues from the Crown Estate. The Queen is also, separately, entitled to the revenues from another estate called the Duchy of Lancaster (the holdings of the Dukes of Lancaster, a title which merged in the Crown centuries ago).

    The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are the only people who receive money from the Sovereign Support Grant. Some other members of the Royal Family receive parliamentary annuities, but these are repaid to the Treasury by the Queen from her private funds. The Prince of Wales does not receive a parliamentary annuity: instead he (along with the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry) lives primarily off the income from the Duchy of Cornwall.

  177. 177
    Louis

    <blockquoteThe Prince of Wales also voluntarily pays income tax on his income from the Duchy of Cornwall.

    And rightly so. Have you seen how much the jug eared homoeopath fondler charges for biscuits!? It’s a fucking outrage. And don’t get me started on his sausages. Cheek!*

    ;-)

    Louis

    *As in tongue very much in.

  178. 178
    David Marjanović

    So, the Prince of Wales is automatically Duke of Cornwall, and the monarch is automatically Duke/Duchess of Lancaster? Or is it more complicated?

  179. 179
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Prince of Wales is automatically Duke of Cornwall, and the monarch is automatically Duke/Duchess of Lancaster?

    (1) Yes. The Duchy of Cornwall is one of the holdings of the Prince of Wales. If there is no PoW, then then Duchy is vacant and is held by the Crown.

    (2) Almost. The monarch is automatically is the Duke of Lancaster. Which is to say that ERII, amongst her other titles, is Duke. She is not Duchess.

  180. 180
    Nick Gotts

    The Queen is entitled to the revenues from (but does not own, as such) the collection of assets which comprise the Crown Estate, which comes to more than £200 million a year – but every monarch since George III has voluntarily handed these revenues over to the Treasury. In return, Parliament has historically made an annual payment to the Queen from public funds, called the Civil List, which until recently was fixed at £7.9 million. But under recent legislation, this has been replaced with a new Sovereign Support Grant, which is fixed at 15% of the revenues from the Crown Estate. – Walton

    If that’s right, and I’ve understood you correctly, she’s recently had a rise from £7.9 million to around £30 million. That’s a rise of around 280%. Presumably Parliament found her scrabbling around in the nearby dustbins for a crust, and took pity on her.

  181. 181
    Nick Gotts

    I’m contractually obliged to point out that The Natural History Museum is still on Cromwell Road.

    Reputedly, Cromwell Road is named after Richard Cromwell, a.k.a. “Tumbledown Dick”, son and successor of the more famous Oliver, who once had a house there.. Until recently, he was our longest lived head of state ever, but Elizabeth Windsor has now knocked him off that perch.

  182. 182
    Nick Gotts

    Why do I get the feeling the Prince Harry is paying for a royal piss-up for his regiment to celebrate his demotion in the line of succession? – Nerd of Redhead

    I think there’ll be quite a sigh of relief in the Palace that Harry’s out of the line of succession, what with the doubts about his parentage, and his penchant for embarrassing forms of dress (and undress). Of course, it’s possible the new prince was smuggled into the lying-in room in a warming pan…

  183. 183
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Semi-related:

    Between 1936 and 1952, the woman who is now Queen was heiress presumptive to the British throne. Which is to say that – by law – she was first in line in the succession.

    The traditional title of the first in line in the succession is “Prince of Wales,” but she was not Princess of Wales (or Prince, for that matter). This is because the title does not go to the heir presumptive but monarch’s child who is also heir apparent. This is to say that while she was the monarch’s child (i.e. she was the daughter of George VI), she was not heir apparent.

    Until the recent change in law, if at any point George IV had fathered a son by his wife, then that boy would have immediately skipped ahead of his sisters and become heir apparent. The heir(ess) presumptive can be supplanted, the heir apparent cannot. There has never been a woman who has held the title of “Princess of Wales” by her own right – every other woman who has been referred to as such has either been the wife or daughter of the Prince. The only “exception” (and it is messy) is that in 1525 Henry VIII dispatched his daughter (the future Mary I) to Wales and gave her a court and prerogatives that were explicitly modeled after those of a Prince of Wales. This was done in order to shore up Henry’s own position and emphasize Mary’s status as heiress (needless to say, these plans were decidedly sidetracked a few years later when Henry decided that he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn).

    A secondary custom is for the eldest daughter of the monarch to be styled “Princess Royal.” However, she was also not Princess Royal, on the grounds that – also by custom – there can only be one living Princess Royal, and the “previous” (i.e. the eldest daughter of the previous monarch to have a a daughter) Princess Royal was still living. Likewise, Elizabeth’s daughter Anne became Princess Royal not upon birth, but when her great-aunt the Princess Royal died.

    As a result, she was born “Princess Elizabeth of York” (her father at the time was Duke of York, and to accurately indicate where she fit into the family her father’s title was appended to her name) and in 1936 when her father became king, the “of York” was dropped and she became “Princess Elizabeth,” a styling she kept until 1947, when she gained the title “Duchess of Edinburgh” when her husband was made Duke by her father. She kept that styling (i.e. “HRH Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh”) until her father died and she became Queen in 1952. Technically, of course, she still is Duchess of Edinburgh, it is just that by custom the highest-ranking title is used.

  184. 184
    Nick Gotts

    Ah, Walton, while you’re here – do you know if the alteration to the laws of succession is retrospective, so Anne would (once it’s finalised) take precedence over Andrew and Edward? This BBC page indicates not, but you may know better.

  185. 185
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Anne would (once it’s finalised) take precedence over Andrew and Edward

    I do not think it is retroactive, no.

  186. 186
    Nick Gotts

    Hey, I see Esteleth is an expert on British royalty too! How does that come about, Esteleth? Can you answer my question @184?

  187. 187
    Nick Gotts

    Thanks – #185 and #186 crossed.

  188. 188
    diotima

    Have some sympathy for the kid. This boy’s been born to an existence where, as things are at the moment, he’ll have no choice in what he wants to do with his life. No choice in the education he wants nor his career path, no choice to set his own ambitions and meet his own challenges, no choice to pursue the things that inspire his passion, no choice to live his life in relative privacy and make friendships and relationships because the constant publicity scares so many people away, no choice to fulfil his potential as a human being. Yes, all that money, privilege and freedom from mundane worries is nice, but to my mind, the losses are far greater than the advantages.

  189. 189
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    How does that come about, Esteleth?

    When I was nine I could recite all the monarchs of England (dating as far back as “England” was a thing) and subsequently Britain, in order. I could also name most of the consorts, and about half of the monarchs of Scotland. Also, I read Wikipedia for fun.

    Can you answer my question @184?

    @185. :)

  190. 190
    Walton

    The traditional title of the first in line in the succession is “Prince of Wales,” but she was not Princess of Wales (or Prince, for that matter). This is because the title does not go to the heir presumptive but monarch’s child who is also heir apparent. This is to say that while she was the monarch’s child (i.e. she was the daughter of George VI), she was not heir apparent.

    That is true. Though as a minor nitpick, succession to the title Prince of Wales is not automatic – it has to be conferred. Whereas the title Duke of Cornwall is automatically held by the eldest son of the reigning Sovereign. So Prince Charles automatically became Duke of Cornwall at the moment of his mother’s accession to the throne in 1952, but he was not created Prince of Wales until 26 July 1958.

    I wonder what impact the Succession to the Crown Bill 2013 will have upon this, though. Under the status quo ante, a woman could never be heiress apparent, only heiress presumptive. But now that a woman can become heiress apparent, is it constitutionally possible that a woman could be Duchess of Cornwall in her own right? We won’t find out for a long time, if ever, since we now know that (barring unexpected deaths) the next three generations of monarchs will all be male. But it’s interesting.

    However, she was also not Princess Royal, on the grounds that – also by custom – there can only be one living Princess Royal, and the “previous” (i.e. the eldest daughter of the previous monarch to have a a daughter) Princess Royal was still living.

    Indeed! Princess Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood. Her descendants are still around..

    Though interestingly, the title of Queen is not similarly exclusive, and there were three Queens at the same time, for a short time in the early 1950s: Elizabeth II, her mother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and her grandmother Queen Mary (née Princess Mary of Teck), who didn’t die until 1953. (Obviously, the former was a queen regnant and the latter two were queens dowager.)

  191. 191
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    three Queens at the same time

    You have heard the response of Princess Margaret (i.e. ERII’s sister) when asked “How is the Queen?”, right? :D :D

  192. 192
    Walton

    Ah, Walton, while you’re here – do you know if the alteration to the laws of succession is retrospective, so Anne would (once it’s finalised) take precedence over Andrew and Edward? This BBC page indicates not, but you may know better.

    It doesn’t affect Princess Anne or her heirs, no. The change in the order of succession only applies to heirs born after the date of the Perth Agreement, 28 October 2011. (Source.)

    Another part of the Act is retrospective, though: the provision which allows those who have married Roman Catholics to regain their places in the line of succession. So Prince Michael of Kent will, I believe, regain his place in the line of succession (not that this makes any difference to him or anyone else, since his prospects of succeeding are remote).

  193. 193
    Walton

    You have heard the response of Princess Margaret (i.e. ERII’s sister) when asked “How is the Queen?”, right? :D :D

    Oh yes. I may be misquoting slightly, but… “Do you mean my mother, my sister or my husband?”

  194. 194
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    “Do you mean my mother, my sister or my husband?”

    That’s the quote.

    Rather cruel, really.

    But then I have yet to find any report of the marriage of the Earl and Countess of Snowden that didn’t make me cringe.

  195. 195
    Walton

    (For anyone not aware, Princess Margaret, after being unable to marry the man she loved because he was a divorcé, entered into a notoriously unhappy marriage with Anthony Armstrong-Jones, created Earl of Snowdon.)

  196. 196
    Walton

    If that’s right, and I’ve understood you correctly, she’s recently had a rise from £7.9 million to around £30 million. That’s a rise of around 280%. Presumably Parliament found her scrabbling around in the nearby dustbins for a crust, and took pity on her.

    Not quite – in addition to replacing the now-abolished Civil List, the Sovereign Support Grant also replaces various other sources of funding that previously existed, so the overall rise in funding isn’t as great as that. Still, the BBC estimates that royal funding has risen overall by £5 million this year as a result of the changes. (This upset Graham Whatshisname from Republic very much, I gather.)

  197. 197
    Tethys

    Hoorah, the Walton has appeared to discuss the latest royal babbee! I skimmed it yesterday and hoped he would come comment and hang-out, and now today it is so. :D

    I read wikipedia for fun

    I do too, but I am a huge geek who has long loved the reference section of the library. I often learn the most fascinating things by clicking the source links at the bottom of the ‘pedia page.

  198. 198
    Rey Fox

    Obviously, the former was a queen regnant and the latter two were queens dowager.

    Obviously.

  199. 199
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Still, the BBC estimates that royal funding has risen overall by £5 million this year as a result of the changes.

    [calculating how many I have to knock off to get the job]

  200. 200
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)
    I’d say that she, by her position and by her personal self, has possibly kept a few of “her” countries from fighting each other.

    Please explain. Which ones were at all likely to start a war with each other in the first place?

    Australia and Hong Kong. Proof!

    It was all hushed up after the handover. ;-)

  201. 201
    DLC

    In a follow-on note, John Oliver put the entire episode in perspective, filling in for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. It was a refreshing look at the pomp and stupidity involved in what would otherwise be for onlookers an ordinary every day event. Of course for the new parents it was anything but ordinary, but outside the immediate family, who would comment other than to say “hey, good for them” and move on ?
    I think Oliver was an excellent choice for a summer replacement for Stewart.

  202. 202
    Amblebury

    I think there’s as much, if not more pomp and stupidity every time there’s a US presidential election. And that happens without fail every 4 years.

    If you Yanks tone it down, (LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD! LIKE TOTALLY ELECTED!!1!) maybe the Brits will be my coy about their royal family.

  203. 203
    Jimmy_Blue

    Nick Gott @137:

    You’re full of it – I have my little scroll signed by Liz and I would never have followed any monarch who attempted to overthrow a legitimately elected government, and I took an oath, and I am not a royalist. In fact, I’d be on the barricades outside Parliament and Downing Street regardless of whether I voted for them or not.

    I’ll stick my neck out and also say I know far more military people than you, and I can’t think of one who would follow a monarch attempting such a thing. But hey, I guess your decades old stories of conspiracy theories and comparing stable first world countries with all volunteer forces to hardline dictatorships across the globe, with revolutions aplenty between them and conscripted armies, are much better evidence of your silly claim based on an obvious personal bias. Nevermind you’ve now had three former/current members of the armed forces tell you “That’s fucking ridiculous.”

    Members of the armed forces are not obliged to follow illegal orders. The orders to invade Iraq came from legitimate authorities in a legal manner – and their international legality is still debated, wherever you stand on the issue. Small numbers of the armed forces did in fact refuse because they believed the action illegal. But then of course being ordered to invade a brutal dictatorship is exactly the same as being ordered to overthrow your own legitimately elected government and fire on your friends and neighbours for the sake of a jumped up snob in a tiara.

    Careful, your bias is showing.

  204. 204
    Amblebury

    ‘More’, not ‘my’.

  205. 205
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Amblebury

    Oh, I’d love it if my fellow ‘Mericans would tone it the fuck down regarding the presidential elections. I’d support a federal law limiting campaigning to the four months before the actual election day — we don’t want or need two years of constant campaigning!

  206. 206
    Menyambal

    India and Pakistan have been warring quietly since 1947. The Kashimir conflict has been bubbling in between them for yonks. I can’t currently say for sure that they’d have cut loose harder if they weren’t both in the Commonwealth of Nations, but there’s a war between two of the Queen’s titular domains that hasn’t gone all blooie.

    There are also a dozen or so Commonwealth nations in the southern part of Africa, that seem to be getting along. Maybe they’ve kept it a little quieter because of the Queen. Perhaps.

    I don’t know for sure, that’s why I said might and maybe and if in my original comment. I wasn’t making an extraordinary claim. I was just saying what seemed likely to me.

    I did point out something extraordinary, up there. I said the monarchy had dropped the males-first bit. Nobody seemed to notice, they just kept saying that the monarchy should dissolve itself. Dangit, the monarchy just dumped one of the most patriarchal aspects of monarchy, without being forced to, in accord with what the people of these times want. Quietly dissolving itself away, it is.

    Again, my opinion: If Chucko becomes king, it will be a great blow to the very concept of kingery. William would be a little better, probably, but when he shows up on the telly as just another new dad in pushed-up shirtsleeves, it’s no longer a distant monarch on a golden throne kind of thing. The monarchy is fading, the queen knows it.

    For myself, I’d keep the monarchy just to keep the celebrity-worshippers busy, and keep the British politicians as working stiffs that aren’t over-respected. The USA has trouble with politicians getting too much glory … maybe that’s what the Kardashians are good for.

  207. 207
    DLC

    Amblebury — I’m not a fan of any Royalty, American or British. I don’t really hold any particular grudge against them, I just don’t find their dealings to be of importance to me.

  208. 208
    Walton

    [calculating how many I have to knock off to get the job]

    Quite a few. By virtue of the Act of Settlement 1701, those eligible to succeed to the throne are the Protestant heirs of the body of Electress Sophia of Hanover, who died in 1714. These people now number around 5,000, and include many of the other royal families of Europe, including Norwegian, Yugoslavian, Romanian and Danish royalty.

    If you are interested, a complete list of those in the line of succession as of January 2011 is available here, although I can’t vouch for its accuracy and it is now a little out of date. The author has deliberately included Roman Catholics, despite the fact that they are excluded from the succession.

    Believed by genealogists to be the very last person in the line of succession is Karin Vogel of Rostock, Germany.

  209. 209
    woggler

    It’s gratifying that not all Americans love our first family. Unfortunately, we Republicans are very much in the minority over here, and when we have events like this, we tend to get ignored. The irony is, we get called traitors for asking for democracy in a democratic country.

  210. 210
    Walton

    I am happy for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The sad thing is that there’s so little else to be happy about in Britain at the moment.

    This is a country where the Tories are systematically dismantling our social infrastructure and privatizing everything that isn’t nailed down. Benefits are being slashed, which will lead to more families living in poverty. Ministers are also pandering to xenophobia and cracking down on immigrants, imprisoning many of them in hellhole detention camps like Yarl’s Wood, as though they were criminals. People are dying – like Jimmy Mubenga and Jackie Nanyonjo, both asylum-seekers who died as a result of being beaten by security guards while being deported. This is becoming a very hostile country for the most marginalized people. I’m increasingly ashamed and horrified of what my country is doing and what it stands for.

    For this reason, I can’t understand people who get angry about the existence of the royal family – to my mind they’re by far the least offensive part of our political system. Get angry at David Cameron, and Rupert Murdoch, and Lord Rothermere, and Iain Duncan Smith, and Theresa May – the people with actual political power, who are screwing over everyone who isn’t white and middle-class-or-upwards.

  211. 211
    John Morales

    Walton, you don’t think the Royals have “soft” power?

  212. 212
    Haile Xiao

    How about a compromise: the monarch is elected (or chosen by lot), but serves for life.

  213. 213
    David Marjanović

    If that’s right, and I’ve understood you correctly, she’s recently had a rise from £7.9 million to around £30 million. That’s a rise of around 280%. Presumably Parliament found her scrabbling around in the nearby dustbins for a crust, and took pity on her.

    So full of win! (Even after having read comment 196.)

    Reputedly, Cromwell Road is named after Richard Cromwell, a.k.a. “Tumbledown Dick”, son and successor of the more famous Oliver, who once had a house there.. Until recently, he was our longest lived head of state ever, but Elizabeth Windsor has now knocked him off that perch.

    Interesting (and thanks for sending me on yet another Wikipedia spree…). Still a bit peculiar to name a street after that one.

    Or is this the French approach of “history is good”? In Paris you can find streets named after kings and nobles from the ancien régime, there’s a rue Bonaparte explicitly named after Napoleon, and so on.

    I do not think it is retroactive, no.

    Indeed not, and the monarch – unlike any spouses – will still be required to be Protestant while we’re at it. (Would be awkward to be head of the Church of England otherwise, I guess.)

    India and Pakistan have been warring quietly since 1947. The Kashimir conflict has been bubbling in between them for yonks. I can’t currently say for sure that they’d have cut loose harder if they weren’t both in the Commonwealth of Nations, but there’s a war between two of the Queen’s titular domains that hasn’t gone all blooie.

    There are also a dozen or so Commonwealth nations in the southern part of Africa, that seem to be getting along. Maybe they’ve kept it a little quieter because of the Queen. Perhaps.

    I can’t tell this from a correlation without causation.

    Again, my opinion: If Chucko becomes king, it will be a great blow to the very concept of kingery.

    Oh, absolutely.

    The author has deliberately included Roman Catholics, despite the fact that they are excluded from the succession.

    The reasoning given is that “Catholic” isn’t sufficiently well defined and that there’s no precedent. *shrug* Also, people who are likely Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, or possibly Muslim are in that list, and of course there’s no telling how many are completely godless.

    With all of these included, however, the list reads (…yes, I just scrolled it all the way through…) like a practically complete inventory of European nobility. I think every name I’ve heard of is in there, and so are (of course) many I haven’t.

    King Ralph is 785th in the list. From 2069 to 2072, there’s a family von Franckenstein – alas, none of them is called Viktor.

    Believed by genealogists to be the very last person in the line of succession is Karin Vogel of Rostock, Germany.

    …Does that mean she carries the mitochondria of Sophie of Hanover?

    How about a compromise: the monarch is elected (or chosen by lot), but serves for life.

    That would still mean mistakes cannot be corrected (short of a revolution).

  214. 214
    Menyambal

    By Jove, I have put my foot in it. It turns out the Commonwealth of Nations is present and former British Empire, mostly, and only the Commonwealth Realms within that are what you might call present Empire, with Elizabeth II as the reigning constitutional monarch. So I was wrong to say that the Queen has kept any of “her” nations from warring. My apologies.

    The Realms are nice, peaceful places, though, so I could give her that..

    The kid has been named! Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge may just finish off the American fandom when he gets to be king. King George is the only king’s name most Americans know, as the “bad” king they rebelled against. It won’t be popular.

  215. 215
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Does that mean she carries the mitochondria of Sophie of Hanover?

    Only if she’s matrilineally descended all the way. Srsly, you should know that. :p

  216. 216
    Eamon Knight

    head of the Church of England

    Now that (along with the Lords Spiritual) is something that absolutely ought to be done away with, even more than the monarchy itself. I’m apathetic about ceremonial monarchy — I regard the institution as Mostly Harmless — but linking it with the church is an affront to the concept of modern, secular society.

  217. 217
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    The kid has been named! Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge

    You know times are hard all around when the royals can only afford three names for their progeny.

  218. 218
    Walton

    …Does that mean she carries the mitochondria of Sophie of Hanover?

    Not as far as I know. As I understand it, that would mean that she was descended in unbroken female line from the Electress Sophia. Someone who was so descended would indeed be at the very bottom of the order of succession, since under the pre-2013 rules a son always took precedence over a daughter. But as far as I’m aware there is no such person living: if the genealogy I linked is correct (which I can’t vouch for, admittedly, since it was compiled by an amateur researcher), and if I’m reading it properly, Ms Vogel is descended from the Electress Sophia through Prince Ernst of Württemberg.

    (Anyone who thinks the British system is overly complicated should try investigating the disputed Russian imperial succession, which is an absolute clusterfuck.)

  219. 219
    Anthony K

    Or is this the French approach of “history is good”? In Paris you can find streets named after kings and nobles from the ancien régime, there’s a rue Bonaparte explicitly named after Napoleon, and so on.

    I give you: Wayne Gretzky Drive.

  220. 220
    David Marjanović

    Only if she’s matrilineally descended all the way.

    That’s what I was asking for, and Walton just confirmed my understanding that “[s]omeone who was so descended would indeed be at the very bottom of the order of succession”.

    However…

    Ms Vogel is descended from the Electress Sophia through Prince Ernst of Württemberg.

    Awww. :-( *sulk*

  221. 221
    David Marjanović

    I give you: Wayne Gretzky Drive.

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, though I do like this. That’s worthy of a German football player.

  222. 222
    Anthony K

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say

    Our régime is not so ancien, but is still part of our local cultural mythology.

  223. 223
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Someone who was so descended would be at the end of the line (at least, until the current reshuffling), but a matrilineal-only descendant would also have to exist.

    I did some research. Sophie of Hanover had one daughter, Sophia Charlotte, who married Frederick I of Prussia.

    So Sophia Charlotte would have carried her mother’s mitochondria (as, of course, would Sophie’s sons, but of course all of their children would have had their mother’s mitochondria).

    Sophia Charlotte had a single child before her death in 1705.

    A son, Frederick William.

    So the matrilineal descendants of Sophie of Hanover are none.

  224. 224
    Menyambal

    I’m now noticing that the British rules of succession were set by Parliament. So it isn’t the King’s rules, it’s just a crapshoot on who gets in—-kinda like it doesn’t really matter.

    I still like the breaking of the boys-first rule. The only British monarch I can really keep track of have all been queens. Whoever’s mitochondria they carry.

  225. 225
    David Marjanović

    I’m now noticing that the British rules of succession were set by Parliament.

    Yep, it still says “D G” on the coins, but in reality all successors of Charles I have ruled by the grace of Parliament. Abolishing the monarchy altogether wouldn’t require anything more than an act of Parliament either.

    So it isn’t the King’s rules, it’s just a crapshoot on who gets in—-kinda like it doesn’t really matter.

    What do you mean?

  226. 226
    Menyambal

    I mean they aren’t selecting the monarchs on any kind of merit basis, or any logical criteria at all. It’s just whoever happens to be born first. It’s like putting all the names in a hat, and giving it to whoever gets drawn first—except the hat is the womb of the queen.

    I should have phrased my previous comment a lot better. Sorry, David.

    My point is still that Parliament doesn’t seem to care who gets the throne—any doofus will do as well, or ill, as any other doofus. If they cared how good the guy was at being king, they could set up a test, or a standard or something like a civil service exam, for the good of the nation. Even, perhaps, an election.

    Probably, in reality, they are bound by tradition.

    (Now, imagine a cartoon that combines two concepts: A royal woman about to give birth, and a lottery-ball dispenser.)

  227. 227
    Sili

    Some, IIRC, suggested the address “Your Electile Majesty”.

    Does go rather well with the utter dysfunction.

  228. 228
    Sili

    I think Oliver was an excellent choice for a summer replacement for Stewart.

    FTFY

  229. 229
    Menyambal

    How about a selective breeding program? The monarchy is still hereditary, but the nation gets to pick/supply the spouses for the royals. Only the best and brightest are selected to improve the royal bloodline, and those with some skills in child-rearing.It’d be kind of like the royals marrying for money, and kind of like that family in Japan that kept marrying into royalty until they were effectively in control.

    It couldn’t be worse than letting them pick their own, and there’d still be room for negotiations and treaties like kings used to do. The selection process could make good TV, if the commoners wanted in.

    Or are the royals already asking permission, or at least advice?

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