Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prince Charles: Putting nails in the coffin for the future of the monarchy, one letter at a time?

Sometimes I wonder about the future of the monarchy.

With the old guard of dedicated, hardworking royals slowly fading away, they are replaced with a newer generation whose work ethic leaves much to be desired. Prince Charles is rumoured to be in favor of a 'slimmed down' monarchy. The rest of the minor royals/royals by proximity, have to find their own way in life. With the exception of William and Harry, the rest of the Queen's grandchildren, including ones with royal titles (Beatrice and Eugenie) can look forward to an existence unbound by the obligations of duty while maintaining the bragging rights.

But while paring down the monarchy makes sense, the attitudes of the remaining royals leaves the future of the monarchy on shaky ground. What with the foibles and celebrification of Prince Harry and Catherine and more worrying, William's reluctance to take on full-time royal duties because of a deluded desire to be 'normal'. These young royals seem to want to have it both ways - royal trappings without working towards earning them. With Catherine's willingness to abet the media in dumbing her down, when she finally rolls up the crisp white sleeves of her shirt (by Ralph Lauren), she has an uphill battle to be taken seriously. That is, if she ever does.

Yes, let's line up the nails for the coffin.  The young royals will supply the hammer.

When compared to the dedication of the Queen, her dignity, her ability to remain impartial, the rest of the royals look diminished in comparison. The Queen will always be a tough act to follow, but not an impossible one. Just look at Queen Victoria and her heir, King Edward VII. Unlike the present Queen, Victoria did not have a reputation for remaining impartial, but her sheer longevity earns her respect. For all of his accomplishments as a 'Peace-maker', King Edward VII's reputation as a bon vivant and arbiter of fashion take precedence. In that respect, Charles shares something in common with his great-great grandfather. Any good deeds he does are overshadowed by his personal life. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the present young royals. The Queen is indeed, the last of her kind.

Prince Charles is in a unique position to help.  And he should be lauded for the work that he has done. He walks his talk. But while he has the freedom to do this while Prince of Wales, it will be different once/if he becomes king. Like his mother, he will be expected to remain impartial and above politics. So far the signs are not good. Prince Charles does not have a reputation for being impartial nor does he cultivate one. Looking at the controversy surrounding letters he has written to politicians and the antics of the younger royals, it raises questions about the future of the monarchy. Questions we won't know the answer to until Charles becomes king. If he becomes king.

Yes, it really does make me wonder. 

© Marilyn Braun 2012

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Hopewell said...

I don't think any of them want to be royal in the sense of duty, honor, country, like the Queen and Prince Philip.

I don't think Kate is any lazier than Di was at the same stage only Di had her kids quickly which helped her image considerably.

But I think the younger ones are damned if the do, damned if they don't. If they "work" they are slammed for trading on their royal status or taking a job from a more deserving person. Can't win.

I sometimes think the Queen and Philip want to outlive their eldest. I also think it's a shame Anne isn't the heir to the throne!

Marilyn Braun said...

Yes, it's a shame that the younger royals don't want to emulate the Queen and Prince Philip in that respect. I think it's one thing to want to breathe fresh air into the monarchy and make it more human - like Diana - but it needs to be tempered with duty and dignity, otherwise the young royals become celebrities no different from the Kardashian's.

You're right about Diana versus Kate. Looking at books about Diana at the time of her marriage, so much focus on her fashions, she was portrayed in much the same way that Kate is now. As little more than a pretty clothes horse. Diana eventually made that work for her and for her causes but it took time. I find it a shame because Kate (and William) have the benefit of being able to look back at the early coverage of Diana and how it was also an uphill battle for her to be taken seriously. They could have taken steps to counteract that image. Right now, when a scandal hits, she has no royal gravitas to counteract it, because she hasn't proven she has it. Her work doesn't speak for her.

I mean, the public seems to be easily entertained. Wear a new dress and people are happy. If Kate so much as smiles at a child, suddenly she's a saint. The expectations for her role seem to be very low. It's nice that she's starting to take on more duties, but I think it's long overdue. Especially given the ages of the senior royals.

Yes, the royals do have an element of damned if they do, damned if they don't. Having said that, nepotism comes with the territory. I have yet to hear of any royal turning down an honor regardless of whether they'd earned it. Look at Prince Edward with his military uniform. Did he earn that uniform and the honors that came with it on his own merit? People may have that attitude of damned do/don't, but there's precedent for being cynical about it.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Queen and Prince Philip despair of their children and grandchildren and the future of the monarchy. It doesn't look very promising.

Hopewell said...

I gag every time I read either William, Kate or Harry having the same "way" with people as Diana. Oh please. A few years ago there were delightful pictures in HELLO of Charles being "forced" to pick up a little girl of about 2 who just wouldn't take "no"--it was loving and sweet, but not who the media want him to be.

Sadly, Kate will forever have to stay a stick woman and wear pretty clothes or she'll be bad-mouthed by the press. And they'd better'd start a family, soon, too or it'll be stupid stories about infertility or marriage problems.

Lisa @