Whenever I hear people complaining about the monarchy, its cost, the antics of the various royals, I can't help but feel indignant, and most people don't understand why I take their comments so personally. When I tell them that I'm in line for the throne they chuckle - commoners!
But despite this, I must say that I'm proud of my lineage and provence. I can't claim Dukes, Earls or a few Viscounts in my family tree, however I'm still related. A few generations ago, somewhere along the way, a royal higher up, interbred with someone from a morganatic marriage who then had an affair, fathered an illegitimate daughter, who married and had several children, who then married back into the royal family, had children and voila, here I am today. I confess that I've always harbored a dream that one day I would become Queen of England. I've have the the royal wave down pat (it's all in the wrist), and I've practiced the art of meeting heads of state and appearing riveted at the same time. It's true that as I'm so far down the line of succession that it's an unlikely occurence, but it's still a possibility. Most people don't believe me when I tell them about it, but I still hold on to my royal dignity in the face of it all. I don't have a title per se; Uncle George V limited the use of Prince or Princess. So it's not obvious that I have family connections.
I don't abuse my royal position, maybe the free beer here and there, but I'm not a leech, not like that cousin-in-law 'Freebie Fergie', I would never lower myself. No one asks me about being royal, the burden of it, but if they did I would say that I'm a regular person, I put my pants on one leg at a time like everyone else except that I'm a few pegs higher than them. I do have to work for a living - shocking isn't it? Of course it's not in the family business; my most recent altruitic deed was to donate a can of soup to the local food bank. But I still feel as though I'm making my contribution to the world and making it a better place. It might get more attention if the media were to watch me doing so, highlight the plight of those slightly less fortunate but my calls are ignored. Obviously they're too busy watching Tom Cruise jumping on sofas, otherwise they'd be at my doorstep.
Should I be called to duty I'm ready and willing to accept the sacrifices, the responsibility, constant attention. I might take a couple more coffee breaks and play solitare here and there, but I would take the job with the utmost seriousness. However, I would still expect benefits and three weeks vacation, not to mention time in lieu for all of the overtime I would incessantly complain about. Family is important to me so I would make sure that my assistants kept them at bay - there's always someone trying to do a power play for position or favour with the monarch. Just look at Princess Michael of Kent, practically in the Queen's back pocket.
Understandably I wouldn't wish misfortune on anyone but sometime I wonder what it would take to bring me closer. Every time a baby is born I move further and further down the line. I'm used to it but I would think that Margarita Armstrong-Jones will mind once she's old enough to understand. So, what can I do? I can't very well prevent everyone from siring and interbreeding now can I? Even if the immediate royals were to go over a cliff in a tour bus heading to Buffalo, it might bring me closer, but not by much. There would have to be some sort of family reunion, where most of them meet in the same place, then maybe an unfortunate tornado then hits and that takes care of another 100. If they have room on their ships, an alien invasion takes another 50. Ah, who am I kidding! Maybe more people could follow Prince Michael of Kent or the Earl of St. Andrews' example and marry Catholics to remove themselves from the line of succession. I could possibly marry up but now that Prince Charles is off the market my options are limited. Prince Andrew is only fourth in line and his chances of becoming King are about as likely as mine. However, if Prince William and Harry are into older women...hmmm, I think my husband would have something to say about that.
I don't know what it is about being Queen that appeals to me. Is it the power? the deference? having my image on stamps, coins, china, and portaits in municipal buildings? It's probably all of that and more. But what does it really mean to be a member of the royal family? If we use Diana and Fergie as examples it doesn't seem to be all that it's cracked up to be. Poor Camilla and Sophie! I've heard that the Queen works long hours and she only gets Easter and Christmas day off. It seems that there's no retirement either and that one must have an excellent sense of dedication to keep the job going. I like my weekends off so maybe I should stick with my present position as a minor royal. Apparently there's some talk of paring down the monarchy so unlike those closer to the throne, at least I'm safe. Who would want the constant worry of having to lose their job? Especially one that doesn't pay very well. I think that I would make a boring royal too, wearing the same outfits over and over and preferring to stay below the radar while carrying out my requisite load of duties. Earning my keep doesn't have to entail controversy does it?
I think I'll keep my day job.
© Marilyn Braun 2006
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