Thursday, 25 July 2013

A New Royalist

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There's a difference between a Royalist and a Monarchist. Monarchism is far more about the system than it is about the people, whereas royalism tends to focus far more on support of a particular person or family. I think it's important to mark the difference, because I am one and I'm not the other.

Now, just because I've said that, don't go off on one and think that I'm sat here wearing one of those horrible plastic Union Jack hats that people always wear at Jubillee street parties. I'm not. I'm not a flag waving subject. I do however support the Royal Family and I'm incredibly supportive of what the Royal Family is becoming.

Some woman and some bloke and their new kid.
In the briefest moments when they left hospital with their new son, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge laid a very clear marker about what kind of Royal Family they had become. Unlike the obvious awkwardness seen between Charles and Diana at almost any public event, William and Kate carried out one of the most polished, perfectly executed public events I've seen in a long time, and, speaking as a politician, they were perfectly on message.

How did it go for Kate? It was an incredibly special time, as any other mother would agree. BING.

Was William going to be changing any nappies? He already had. BING.

Were they going to be farming the child off to a nanny? Nope. They were off to stay with Kate's mum for a few weeks. BING BING BING.

The message that came forward in incredible volume was, we are a normal, modern family. Even down to the fact that William drove the family away from the hospital - the whole event was considered in such detail about the messages being sent. It was, in effect, a politicians dream.

More interestingly however, it also seemed like a real shift in power bases within the Royal Family. William and Kate now have more capital than ever for being in touch and modern. It was almost uncomfortable that Prince Charles exited just before them, because his manner and his comments gave the impression even more than he was yesterday's news. The birth and the way it was handled also suggests something else about the way that our Royal Family is changing. I got the impression that this was a good example of the younger generation teaching the firm a lesson in public affairs. Gone were the scandals of the nineties, caused in many instances by an uncomfortable relationship with the media, and here was the media savvy future.

Diana and her ill-judged chat with Martin Bashir.
Those who have argued that it was a lesson from the Diana, Princess of Wales rulebook are wrong I think. The couple were very careful to enforce a boundary, stating that they couldn't wait to get home and look after their son. This isn't a tell-all with Martin Bashir, it's an agreement of intentions. Whilst what the Daily Mail will call the 'common touch' is definately very Diana, there's a comfortable middle ground here. That's a middle ground that Diana sadly never achieved.

A quick look over the media spectacle of the royal birth says that these are people who are in control, and who know what they're doing.

That's why I support them. Not because I want to be a subject being ruled by people who achieved their position by birth, but because, the Royal Family are a net positive for our country, and I'm confident that this new generation are getting it right.

I was present for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London last year, and it was clear to me that what had happened was a root and branch change within the Royal outfit. Before the procession, the hangers on were bused in and out of Buckingham Palace, not banished from existance, but stripped of the perks they would have receieved a decade before. Eugenie and Beatrice were trundling along in a lowly people carrier by the time the Queen left in the carriage. Similarly, who was there for the balcony appearance? Only the key people. This was a slimmed down Royal Family.

They're becoming a lot more European. Rather than being an overarching, all encompassing group, they're a far more efficient force. They've stopped being the Royal establishment and started being a Royal operation.

In that sense, I can't help but support them. On a poltical level, in my heart of hearts, I agree that everybody needs to be born equal. I aceept that. But, in William, Kate and baby George, I'm confident that we have a new generation of a Royal Family with social conscience, who care about the welfare of their country's people and who want to do their best. That's something that I find very difficult indeed to argue against. 

So, there it is. I'm a royalist, not a monarchist - a very important difference. 

1 comment:

  1. I would be a republican; but I can think of no one who could be elected as a President that could carry out the duties as the figurehead leader of the country as diligently as the Queen. So I am for the status quo regarding the Royal Family.

    The Royal Family is part of the English Heritage.