WE KNOW YOU LOVE TO READ ABOUT THE ROYALS
On the internet, where hope dies, some will claim that they don’t want to read about royals and that Irish media should not cover such things. Liars!
This week was a good week for fans of miniature royals, because the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, announced that they have conceived a sprogling and potential future head of state. Now, a disclaimer. On the internet, where hope dies, some will claim that they don’t want to read about royals and that Irish media should not cover such things.
To which I say – You big lying liars. You can’t lie to us at The Irish Times, you lying liars. We have the data. You love reading about the royals. The royals infuriate you, but they also confuse you, like a sexy arrogant lead from a 1990s rom com. You hate them, but you also want them to grind you under their heel and to speak to you in crisp posh vowels while you touch your forelock and utter something quaint and agricultural from deep in the mud. You liars. I’m not finished. “Rule me,” you whisper whenever the royals appear on your newsfeed. “Oh yeah, rule me good, you big dirty royal. Subjugate me for eight hundred years then turn up and speak Irish to me, you imperial freak. Ooooh yeah king-person, take my ancestors’ corn then come around and go on the Viking Splash Tour. Oh yeah, take it! Take my land and give it to your wealthy cousin but then a few hundred years later come and visit the English Market and make a joke with a Corkonian, you filthy, filthy monarch. Oh matron! Lawks! Hubba hubba! Vroom vroom! Low lie, the fieeeelds of Athenryyyyy!”
And then you fall asleep for a while, before finally, weary and filled with shame, you write “Why is this news?” in the comment box below the article. We see you. We know what you’re at. So, aware you wish to keep up this pretence that you’re actually elsewhere reading articles about data protection or climate change, let me explain who Harry and Meghan are.
Harry is a reformed bad boy and WWII re-enactor who is a ginger, has been to war and knows Ant and Dec (I’m not sure which of these things is most traumatic, to be honest with you). He is the Duke of Sussex, which means, I think, that he need not obey the laws of man. Meanwhile, alliterative actress-turned-royal Meghan Markle formerly appeared on the TV drama and/or clothing option, Suits, has been an outspoken feminist blogger and is, these days, the sort of crazed radical who opens her own car door. This caused a bit of a scandal recently because apparently opening her own door deprived some indentured door-opener from enacting their vocational destiny.
Anyway, Meghan and Harry, along with fellow blue bloods Will and Kate, are often acclaimed for “modernising” the royal family. This means, I think, that they know about Twitter and have not yet been filmed beating an insolent street urchin with a silver cane while an old widow woman in a shawl weeps. Fair dues to them, says you. They’re so relatable.
The news that this transatlantic union has instantly led to more royals has been a source of delight for many British people who are tired of having to care about Europe or Northern Ireland or their children’s futures. Yes, royal baby news is crack cocaine for those Britons who have given up hope of bettering their lot and see sitcom repeats on UK Gold as “rolling news”. And the British media have also, as a consequence, flocked around this news nugget. Many breathless royal correspondents were clearly waiting for this moment. The most avid of them may well have been present at the conception. Nicholas Witchell is, I believe, incubating the egg.
It’s very timely. Based on the normal gestation period of human babies (royal babies are physiologically quite similar to human babies) the new-born royal will hatch around the same time that Brexit will hatch. A royal baby may well be needed then. Who knows what type of government our neighbouring landmass will have at that point? My money is on either a gruelling dystopia in which the royal homunculus will be instantly issued with a ski mask and their own petrol-guzzling war chariot (the famed Mad Max Brexit of David Davis) or else he/she will be at the apex of some sort of rigidly hierarchical underground colony of food hoarders (This is the model for a successful Brexit you’ll recognise from Jacob Rees Mogg’s famous rallying cry: “My fellow nutbags! Come summer, we will live as ants!”).
Anyway, I’m a big fan of royal babies and aristobrats in general. Simba, Jesus, the Zuckerbaby, the Gleeson brothers, Godzooki, Prince Adam of Eternia, you name a princely infant and I’ll probably think they’re great. My favourite UK royal, for example, is prince George because he is a small boy inexplicably dressed like an Edwardian bank manager (he’s basically cosplaying George Banks in Mary Poppins) and, as readers of this column will know, I find this delightfully terrifying. I imagine him reading Shakespeare’s history plays and some medical reports he has had commissioned on his father and grandfather while swirling brandy in his chubby paw and biding his time. He feels very statesmanlike to me and will make a fine monarch.
And this week, here in Ireland, royalty actually looks like a half decent model for generating figureheads. Several presidential debates in, I can’t help feeling that maybe the Brits have it right. Heads of state are basically pretend bosses who cut ribbons and smile while the real boss is off in a backroom looking at charts and panicking. In Britain they outsource the job of creating these diplomatic frontpeople to an aristocratic family that came first in a game of “history”.
Here in Ireland the electorate have to endure the labour pains themselves (Yes, I am saying that watching the presidential debates is worse than giving birth). And ultimately when the royal baby from such a family is held aloft on a clifftop by a wise old baboon (possibly Alan Titchmarsh), weeping, pooing and glowering with lofty entitlement, they’ll still emerge with more dignity than the average Irish presidential candidate.
‘‘ I’m a big fan of royal babies and aristobrats in general, Simba, Jesus, the Zuckerbaby, the Gleeson brothers, Godzooki, Prince Adam of Eternia
Former royal baby, future king: George, with his royal sibling Charlotte, at a royal event last week.