Royal family feud

I have expressed many times my distaste for the British royal family, or for royalty anywhere in the world for that matter, seeing them as utter parasites who should go out and get jobs. I am puzzled by the fascination that people seem to have about the minutiae of their lives and studiously avoid such stories. But recently I have been inundated with headlines about some split that seems to be happening and finally my desire to be informed about popular culture won out and I caved in to listen to Trevor Noah explain what is going on.


  1. Canadian Steve says

    What amuses me about this is the number of people saying what parasites the royals are … living off generational wealth they didn’t earn, but turning around and saying inheritance taxes on rich people are terrible ideas that shouldn’t be put in place. (To clarify for anyone that doesn’t realize -- almost all of the royal families wealth comes from inherited property, and very little from government expenditure) I guess Bill Gates kids did a lot more to earn their wealth than Harry did….

  2. Holms says

    So none of the public engagements, but still the perk of being royally connected for the big earning opportunities, plus whatever money they have cleared so far. Pretty good gig.

  3. says

    I wonder if they can get some of those Hunter Biden gigs -- board of directors of some company; never know when you might have to give grandma a call, amirite? Sell that leverage.

    At least Meghan had a job before she got embroiled with the royals. Otherwise, the royal family seems to exist as an example of the virtues of republicanism and the vices of inherited aristocracy.

  4. John Morales says

    So, Marcus — are the virtues of republicanism embodied in the Trump family?

    (They certainly share vices)

  5. Dunc says

    We generally don’t directly subsidise other tourist attractions, and we certainly don’t give them constitutional roles. But hey, by all means, lets get the Loch Ness Monster to open parliament, she brings in a lot of tourists too…

  6. says

    I wrote

    from a financial point of view, it might be wise to keep the “parasites”.

    And maybe put Andrew in the dungeons of the Tower of London, as a tourist attraction. 😉

  7. Holms says

    Are the tourists there purely because the various castles and palaces are inhabited by royals, or are they there for the history and the architecture of the castles? If the parasites are removed, I suspect we would see tourism numbers for those sites drop… but not to zero or even close. That delta, assuming there even is one, is the true figure for the tourism income brought by the royals.

  8. Jazzlet says

    The main reason the parasites pay taxes is that they own a lot of property and expect it to make a return, get rid of them and there is no reason to let them retain all of the property. Plus I’d like to know why the £20 million inherted from his mum, plus more from his maternal gran aren’t enough for financial independance.

  9. says

    There is a certain irony in the fact that this is all going on at a time when it’s pretty clear that the UK would be better off if the Queen had some real authority. At the moment she appears to be the only adult in the room, and the only one without extremely short-term political goals dominating her motives, which is how this stuff is supposed to work.

    Not that I’m in favor of monarchies, but this moment in history is maybe not the best case study in why they’re bad.

  10. springa73 says

    Dunc @6 -- Doesn’t the UK have some equivalent of the national parks or national historic sites/monuments in the US? Those could be considered government subsidized, I would think.

  11. xohjoh2n says

    @10 Except that we’ve been there before, and though the *current* one might not be a terrible one to have some real power, we know that is has been a really bad thing many times in the past.

    In a point relevant to this discussion: there is this idea that they are “parasites” paid for out of the taxpayers’ money. In fact what was the Civil List and is now the Sovereign Support Grant is historically a bit more complicated than that. The Crown (and thus the sovereign in person) used to own a quite astonishing amount of land -- still does but somewhat less -- as personal property from which they extracted an income, in pretty much the normal extractive landowner way before you even get into the ability to raise taxes. That money they could spend on themselves, but were also expected to pay for the operation of the whole government as well, since they were basically running the whole show.

    Then after a particular bit of difficulty, parliament decided that having an independently wealthy monarch who, as such, was essentially rich enough to just ignore parliament and do whatever they wanted whenever, made them rather weaker than they wanted to be. So they came to an arrangement that would allow the then king to keep his head: the revenue from the Crown Estates (in general: some estates remain personal property of the monarch or specific relations) would be gifted in perpetuity to the Exchequer, and in return a small portion of that would be paid back for the royals’ day to day expenses.

    So from a different perspective the royal family is essentially subsidising the government to this day (though they no longer have any say in the matter, and there is an argument about whether such large single-ownership landholdings (not including I would say the cases of National Parks or other areas of natural protection which operate conceptually differently) are a healthy thing to have around at all which extends *far* more widely than that one family). And the returning government grant is not so much “subsidising parasites” but a means of exercising control over them, because when your lifestyle exists at the largess of the People represented in parliament, you ain’t going to get too uppity, you’re going to knuckle down and do the job expected of you.

  12. says

    @Canadian Steve, and what is your reaction to people like me, who consider any accumulation of wealth, be it royal or corporate, to be de-facto parasitism on the economy?
    I consider the British royals to be parasites, together with Bezoses, Gateses, and Trumps of the world over. I am of the opinion that both personal income and personal inheritance should be strongly progressively taxed to a degree when the difference between the top and lowest ca 12 quantiles are no more than 10-20 fold and where the lowest 12 quantile still covers costs of basic human needs (sustenance, clothing and shelter). The exact numbers do not matter much and should be subject to policy change with time -- the purpose of progressive taxation should be to keep money circulating and stop it accumulating on a few accounts of people who cannot reasonably use it anyway, whilst still keeping money as a factor for reward and motivation.

  13. says

    Regarding the video and the statements at 2:30: remember when Markle was given an apron as a gift, inferring that she’s “the help”? Did they also give her a side door key?

    I am no fan of royals or the propaganda about him being all things to all people because he is no “perfect genleman” (re: the nazi uniform at a party). But I read this opinion piece on the couple, and why he is willing to give up and walk away. She may be the one saving him. From the item:

    We broke our promise to Harry

    Harry is a man who has had a pillow of duty held over his face since the day he was born. As the years have passed, more and more pressure has been applied to the point that it’s clear he was beginning to suffocate. The warning signs were there, but they were ignored.

    Prince Harry: “Everyone can suffer from mental health…”#MentalHealthAwareness

    “Asking for help was one of the best decisions that I ever made.”

    — Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) October 17, 2018

    So Harry has decided, for the good his family and himself, to take a step back from being a Senior Royal – effectively removing the suffocating pillow of duty from his face.

    Countless articles accuse her of being conniving, manipulative and self-serving. TV pundits like Piers Morgan lose their shit over Meghan’s ‘influence’ on Harry. Social commentators suddenly have become royal experts overnight and cry out that Meghan will bring Harry down.

    In reality, Meghan saved Harry.

    If you take a step back and consider the pressure this man has been under all his life, the personal tragedy he has dealt with, and the enormous microscope he’s lived under through no fault of his own it’s no wonder he has struggled with mental health. He was born into this drama, he didn’t ask for it. But Meghan has done what so many haven’t. She has allowed Harry to be Harry – and supported and stood by him all the way. And for that, we should be thankful.

  14. says

    John Morales@#4:
    So, Marcus — are the virtues of republicanism embodied in the Trump family?

    One does not have to be a positive example of virtue to serve as an example. What I was trying to imply was that the british royals are a good example of why hereditary aristocracy is a bad idea. The Trumps are serving as a good example of why nepotism is a bad idea.

  15. Canadian Steve says

    @Charly #13
    I would say that it’s good that your position is internally consistent, and that I agree with you. 🙂

  16. Dunc says

    springa73, @ #11:

    Doesn’t the UK have some equivalent of the national parks or national historic sites/monuments in the US? Those could be considered government subsidized, I would think.

    Well, I did say “generally don’t” rather than “never”… However, whilst here are numerous things that we do subsidise that could be considered “tourist attractions”, the justifications are usually couched in terms of their amenity value to taxpayers, or their environmental, cultural, and historical significance, rather than a naked appeal to the amount of foreign money they bring in. Attracting foreign tourists is generally seen as a side-benefit, over and above their value to the people actually paying for them. Of course, there are still exceptions -- for example, I live in Edinburgh, which is notorious for spending money to support our various festivals on the basis that they attract a lot of visitors who spend a lot of money. But many people are increasingly unhappy about that, and it’s still often accompanied by an appeal to their civic and cultural importance.

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