As the focus of the world’s media turns to stare intently at the doors of a small clinic in London, I have begun to wonder if I really am missing out on something. Despite to the best efforts of the British media, I get the feeling there are not so many who really care about the imminent arrival of the second in line to the British throne. Of course, I know that when the child finally comes, there will be throngs of people prepared to stand outside to wave little union jacks and gush like gibbering lunatics to every media outlet in sight about what this all means to them. Granted most of them will be Americans who, despite ejecting the royals from their own country, still seem to find comfort in watching them complete mundane tasks like open shopping centres, dance awkwardly with African tribesmen and fire out children like a rather bizarre circus sideshow. Although I am apathetic, I did find the historical Royals much more fun. I have finally come to the conclusion that, by delving into the annuls of history, I could perhaps help them by suggesting some small improvements that might finally win over the less brainwashed masses. So Lords, Ladies and gentlefolk, I present five simple (and perhaps entertaining) ways to improve the Royal family.
Once more unto the breach!
In days gone by one of the major roles of the monarchy was to lead Britain’s armies into battle, sadly this great tradition was last enacted by George II. My first suggestion would be to revive this tradition with immediate effect. I know some of you will complain that an elderly monarch like the queen shouldn’t be putting herself in the firing line. Surely, I hear you say, that’s only for the young, less important members of the Windsor brood. I agree she’s getting on a bit, but I’m sure she would relish the opportunity. I mean, she wouldn’t be the first rather infirm royal nutcase to go steaming in the fray. My example would be King John of Bohemia, who despite being old, blind and slightly infirm still managed to wade into battle when the opportunity arose. Surrounded by his loyal knights, who thoughtfully chained their horses to his in case John happened to wander off, he dove into the fray at Battle of Crécy in 1346. OK, granted they found them all dead (and still chained together) at the end of the battle, but the Queen has something King John didn’t. Tanks. Really big tanks. Now tell me the image of Queen Liz, bestride a hulking steel chariot of death, AK47 in one hand, tea in the other and a lit cigar clenched between her teeth isn’t a glorious mental image.
A lot is made of the drama of the royal family and the various bad blood that is traditionally believed to exist between it’s narrow membership. That’s fair enough, but what would possibly liven up proceedings would be a reintroduction of regular attempts by minor royals to claim the throne for themselves. Let’s be honest, Macbeth was entertaining, imagine if every ten years a great nephew or cousin twice removed made a valiant attempt at taking the throne by force. We might suffer a little bit of destabilisation, but we could treat it like a very British sporting event. We could pack into a stadium, perhaps Wembley, and watch as the two sides do battle unto only one remains. It would be like It’s a Royal Knockout except with lots more limb loss and head injuries. Not only would it keep the reigning monarch on the their toes, it would also allow us a chance to support an opposing head of state. Well, at least until they found themselves on the wrong end of a battle axe.
A new sense of purpose
One of the big issues anti-monarchists complain about is the cost of having the royal family. However, I’m sure they would agree that it’s only the minor royals that we object to paying for. The Premiership ones like Kings and Queens are worth the money. It’s the Dukes, Duchesses, minor princes etc that are the real problem. So, in order to fix this issue, I advocate giving them a small amount of money, a couple of hundred or so soldiers and sending them off to start their own fledgling monarchies abroad. The days of sending out unwanted princes to find success in some foreign land are long gone, but I sense a welcome revival. Just imagine, Prince Andrew and a squad of mercenaries declaring victory over the city of Lichtenstein. We could see Prince Harry, para sailing out a helicopter to accept the surrender of of the Faroe Islands. These military successes would then create vital income streams that might finally mean the Royal family are independently wealthy again, and free some of the tax burden.
Centuries ago, their was very little that might prevent a Royal from taking their rightful place on the throne. You might only be a baby, you might be a murderous git or you might even be a little bit hunchbacked and partial to killing off small children. Nothing was in your way, not even the chance that you might be bat shit crazy. A number of monarchs have happily fulfilled the duties of state, while harbouring a belief that they were entirely made of glass (George III), a pillow was a dead prince (George III) or that a tree in the local park was the King of Prussia (George III). I know most (all) of those examples were the same guy, but doesn’t he sound like he’s having fun? I would suggest that at anyone time, one of the Royals was entirely delusional. Not crazy like Hannibal Lector, that might be a little less entertaining. No, I would say just comfortably unstable, enough to slightly embarrass themselves at state occasions by saying, for example, something really racist. We could right it off as eccentricity or something.
Rewind and Reform
Henry VIII. He was a fun fella. He had six wives, drank like a whale, had to winched onto his horse and started a new (ish) religion. Why can’t our monarchs have at least half of his ambition. With the popularity of random religo-cults like Scientology and Mormonism, surely it’s time the Queen started her own. If not her, then why not one of the other spare royals knocking about the palace. If anyone could succeed, why not them? Cults of personality are all well and good, but just imagine if our tax pennies went on massive golden statues to the Royal religion. Even better, we could all march out of hour homes, say twice a year and watch a psudeo-religious festival. Perhaps involving a golden carriage, some smart looking uniforms or maybe some reference to the RAF. We could maybe do it on her birthday or something. I’ll take a straw poll and get back to you.