I recently wrote on this site that, in reference to the recently published photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, pregnant and on holiday, that '...our morbid fascination with this bizarre, ordinary family invests them with a sort of inverted dignity just by them doing and saying nothing of real consequence.' I didn't expect such a vivid illustration to present itself so soon.
Judging from the media coverage of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations you'd think that the entire British population are ardent monarchists. Critical, dissenting voices were mostly ignored and sidelined. Journalistic balance and impartiality was supplanted in favour of fawning sycophancy towards the royals.
"Even the most ardent republicans respect the Queen". And with that statement so ends the debate. Ardent or otherwise, it is tough enough to get a discussion about ending the monarchy going, let alone begin a process that would actually bring about its demise. Conservatives, lower and upper-case c, appear to have this one sewn up as most of Great Britain celebrates her diamond jubilee, during which affection for the person will overwhelm any doubts about the institution. Not only is 'respect for the Queen' the default position in the media and politics, but in a recession the idea of something as unsettling as ending the monarchy can be dismissed as a waste of money and a priority of abyssal insignificance. However, in the long term it is anything but.
"We all have fond memories of 60 years of our Queen," Dermot Murnaghan smarms through my TV screen inaccurately. After retrieving whichever inanimate object now lies below the screen having found itself being hurled along with a range of colourful language towards the inane news man's grinning bonce, I reflect on what has been an annoying few months for me and millions of other Britons.
And so it begins. The 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne draws ever nearer and with it the inevitable hysteria and servile behaviour reserved especially for royal events. 6 February will be a Monday. It will also be the day of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. I will celebrate it for the former.
As long as we retain the absurd belief that these titles are inheritable by birth and not earned by virtue and talent (and frankly, our royals have rarely proved themselves to be either virtuous or talented) then we are going to continue to question the monarchy at times of heightened constitutional awareness.