Many years ago, I remember listening to an interview with some British royal-watcher, and he predicted that one day we’d see two old people ascend to the throne of that sceptered isle, that other Eden, and no one would remember the troubled princess who nearly suicide-bombed the whole institution out of existence. I’d say he was correct.
I didn’t watch the coronation, alas. I stayed out until 1 a.m. the night before (fundraiser, and I was on the committee and had to stay through the cleanup), didn’t get to sleep until 2. We had the TV on as we pushed brooms and gathered trash, and the overnight news was already on its pre-coronation packages. But. I watched the video highlights via the NYT site, and found it…interesting. Charles had the perfect look on his face, a tender, somewhat-confused expression that said, “I’ve been waiting for this for 74 years. Now what?” “What,” I imagine, will be a reign of 15 years, give or take. For my money, Camilla had a more peaceful, settled look, the look of triumphant mistresses everywhere. She married a man who cheats on his wife, but late in life when the sap has largely ebbed from the royal staff. Plus, he obviously loves her.
There were a lot of anti-royal voices raised this weekend, of course, here and there. Perfectly fine — we’re both free countries, after all. Honestly, though, what’s the point? Destroy the monarchy? OK. It won’t make a bit of difference beyond a few ceremonial details in the U.K.’s self-government. Make the castles into museums. They’ll cost at least as much to run. So…sell them? OK. How will you feel when Mohammed bin Salman or some Russian oligarch owns Buckingham Palace? Sell the crown jewels? Great idea. They, too, will disappear into private hands, you’ll never see them again, and the money will go…somewhere. (Probably also into private hands, a step or two down the road.)
People talk a lot about how “rich” the new king is, but think about what that means. He holds a lot of land, and several over-large, drafty houses. True, he can go fishing and riding and gadding about the countryside in a kilt, but only when his schedule permits, and the schedule consists mainly of dressing up, showing up, shaking a few hands, posing for pictures. Same thing with Camilla, only she must also accept nosegays from adorable schoolchildren. Look at that picture of the new royal couple in their crowns; do you envy them? Do their lives seem enviable to you? Do they look happy to you? I bet Camilla didn’t even have a moment to take off that necklace and fondle the jewels in her hand for a while; someone unclasped it, boxed it and sent it back to the vault.
Face it, if being royal were a job posted on a hiring board somewhere, few people would want it.
Prince Bill and Princess Cathy looked nice, I thought. I’m used to seeing the royal men wear chests full of medals that make them look like war heroes, but we rarely see the women in their “official” finery. This was a ‘fit, as the kids say:
Love the headpiece(s), which makes her look like a superhero awaiting a ceremony on Wonder Woman’s island. And little Princess Charlotte is just a treasure. I hope she can have a meaningful life.
There was snickering about…oh god, I can’t look up all those title and spellings right now, but the something-or-other of Chumley*, allegedly William’s mistress, being seated in the crowd. She could be seated on his dick, and Princess Superhero isn’t going to act like her late mother-in-law. She knew exactly the job she was being hired to do, has done it beautifully, and won’t give it up for some round-heeled former model. There are a lot of bedrooms in those drafty houses; she looks capable of enduring until it’s her turn to wear the big hat.
* OK, I looked it up again. It’s the Marchioness of Cholmondeley.
My favorite moment of my sleep-deprived viewing of the after-parade was the horse band. Seriously, it was a full band, mounted on moving horses. The joke is, of course, that it takes two hands to play an instrument and at least one to guide a horse, so…how does this work? Google explains at least the part of the drummers who lead the troupe: The riders have reins affixed to their feet. I guess the rest of them do, too.
And of course Saturday couldn’t conclude with just a coronation and American horse race in the news, so we had to have a mass shooting, too. Those of you who follow Laura Lippman on Twitter know that she walks Baltimore in the early morning and takes a photo of the Domino Sugar sign, then posts it. This was Sunday’s, and I don’t think we need to say anything more than this:
Have a good week, all. And please stay alive.