Congratulations, Baby Windsor. You have just been born a subject of Her Britannic Majesty (as it used to say on the passports) and have therefore won life’s lottery. Actually, given the state of the nation and the economy, maybe ‘won life’s dog-eared scratchcard’ is more the phrase juste. Still, you’ve done amazingly well. Thanks to the freakiest odds imaginable you have, merely by the accident of being conceived by the right couple, leapfrogged to the covetable position of third in line to the British throne.
So that’s the good news. The bad news is that it comes with a certain amount of baggage. Problem one: you’re a constititutional monarch. This means that when eventually your dad pops his clogs, you won’t be able to do nearly so much of the cool stuff as you might have done had you been born to the same position 500 years earlier. You won’t be able to have people’s heads chopped off on a whim, nor expand your territory by force, nor up the tax rate whenever you’re feeling skint. All those big decisions are taken by the government of the day. (Well, by the EU, actually, but don’t worry about that detail: it will have ceased to exist long before you inherit the throne.) And no matter how stupid and useless it is — as it will be — you’ll have to go through the motions of pretending when you read out its crap policy plans at the beginning of each parliament that they’re, like, a really great idea and exactly what you would have done had you been in charge. (Which, sadly, sorry to rub this one in, you’re not.)
Then there’s the money and property thing. At first it might strike you as impressive: the big house in London (a bit grim and heavy inside but within walking distance of the Caprice, the Wolseley and Harvey Nicks), the holiday homes in Norfolk and the New Republic of Windfarmia, plus, of course, all the other dosh and assets accumulated by your ancestors. Problem is, it’s not technically yours. Thanks to some ghastly lefty stitch-up long before your time, the government gets to rifle through your laundry bills and decide how much you can reasonably live on. And it gets worse: even though the nation you serve gets by far the better end of this financial arrangement, still you’ll be perpetually berated by ignorant chipsters as a scrounger.
Imagine: interminable dancing displays; rictus grins and ludicrous headgear in bakeries, building sites and factories; your weekly ordeal with a dork of a prime minister; endless tedious state banquets where you can’t ever get drunk, pick your nose or let slip a crafty silent one. And yet you’re expected to feel, like, grateful for your privilege…
This is an extract from James Delingpole's Spectator column. Click here to read the full piece.
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