This week Holland lost a queen and gained a King, good for them I guess. However, this directly contravenes all my preconceived notions of monarchy that I have painstakingly built up over 29 years of royal weddings, birthdays, funerals and general dignitary greeting. Damn you Holland, why did you have to go and get all modern and forward thinking! Why did you have to buck centuries of tradition by showing that your royal family can act in the best interests of their nation? Everyone knows that a monarch and their representatives should rock around their chosen nation bestowing handshakes to octogenarians with crappy little flags and receive flowers from slightly brainwashed children while trying not to show any emotion. More importantly, and this is the most important part, never (I mean never) give up power to your children. It doesn’t matter how old you are.
No matter where I went on Monday or Tuesday I couldn’t escape the fact that some King/Queen musical chairs was occurring in the Netherlands. It was none of my business. If the Dutch enjoy their royals, more power to them. What really amazes me though is the intense interest the German media has in European royal events. I know more about the Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Spanish, Belgian and Monégasque (that’s Monaco to you and me) sovereigns than I feel I will ever need. What’s even worse is that I don’t particularly set out to know anything about these people. It just seems to happen, like potentate osmosis.
If the Queen has a particularly awkward sneeze, your bound to hear about it somewhere. Some media outlet will inevitably parachute a coiffed reporter to stand outside Buckingham palace and discuss the royal Kleenex at length. While this is happening magazines are churning out speculative toilet paper, asking themselves if this is a sign that she is dying or living or having a baby or is it hay fever or is she just old or even worse, being poisoned by a relative. Then inevitably they will cut to some stock footage of crowds of brain dead flag wavers gurning as she rockets past in her golden subsidy wagon, all the time waving like a bad eighties robot.
At least I can understand the popularity of the Dutch royals, as well as their Scandinavian counterparts. They are generally modest and attempt a level of normalcy. They are often referred to as “bicycle monarchs” due to their desire to be seen as ordinary people, whether this is just good PR is another discussion. Not in Britain though. We in Britain prefer our magnates to be a little more hands on.
It may appear that the Queen is only wheeled out to open the occasional hospital or invoke the royal scowl at major public events. Actually she has been frequently consulted about government bills, and sometimes operated her “right” to veto bills. Even Prince Charles has been in on the action, being asked to throw his two pence in to the discussion. If this wasn’t bad enough, today brought news that Charles was happily taking money from the dead in his Duchy of Cornwall. Apparently when you die in within his lands, fail to leave a will or have any surviving relatives he can simply take the money. All in all he has taken £3.3 million, which he donated to private schools in Scotland and other “charities” he likes. Nothing says modern nation than un-elected heads of state.
This news aside, what really surprised me was a poll taken on Tuesday asking if Germany should have a monarchy too. Apparently, 66% think it’s a good idea. If that really is the case I would like to throw my hat in the ring. Granted I’m British, but since our lot are of German descent that shouldn’t prevent me from becoming the new head of state. As Germany’s new ruler I would happily Germanify my name, how about King Klaus I? It has a ring to it, don’t you think? All I ask is your undying devotion and all the Maultaschen I can eat (that’s German pasta to you, pleb).