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William J. Furney

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At Retirement Age, Prince Charles Holds on for Cruel Job

Posted: 07/11/2013 10:26

Britain's people should put their suffering "royals" out of their misery and do away with the entire, archaic concept of monarchy. It's brutal to keep these miserable people as they are, living artificial lives, a national and global spectacle, a sideshow to the drudgery of life, a perennial carnival of pageantry more at home in a Christmas pantomime. A life not well lived but within the distorted confines of a gilded goldfish bowl. Let them out; set them free.

What is "royal"? What is a prince or princess, king or queen? What does it mean? It's all about being better. Better than you, or I, or anyone. We own more than you; we eat better than you; we are better than you. A kind of Earthly superhuman to be adored and worshipped. A god; goddesses. Herald: the divine live among us (but not with us). It's inarguable nonsense, patently fallacious and, frankly, profoundly offensive to humanity as a species.

To people with a mind they like to call their own, the concept of monarchy is absurd and distasteful in the extreme. Held up to the mirror of unstoppable, progressing life, it is seen to be the reverse of the class it claims to be. There is nothing regal or majestic about it, nothing grand or imperial. It is in the reverse image where the truth is found: hereditary monarchy is an affront to modernity, in the "royal" folk dotted around Europe, from Spain to Britain to the Netherlands.

Haplessly, for I had no choice, I was born into a vapid faith called Anglicanism, of which the British monarch claims to be the defender, in a land and territories of many beliefs. How does this serve a multicultural, multifaith country? It's not inclusive but damagingly exclusive.

The readership-challenged magazine Time recently put Prince Charles on its cover with the strapline The Forgotten Prince (the struggling mag perplexingly also had a video of Charles' grandson's christening on its website, making one query if this is actually an American publication or in fact an obsequious British royalist PR outfit). Then again, this dwindling publication has been fawning over Charles Windsor for decades, putting the man on its cover multiple times. And yet with its latest showcase it claims an "exclusive"? What is this scoop it self-trumpets? Shallowly, it is merely that Charles feels that by "ascending" to the throne - an entirely ridiculous proposition - that he will be forsaking all the many charities he has so long toiled for.

That, and that he's "worried" about all the people of all the United Kingdom - he feels like its his job, an application rejected and ridiculed by many Brits commenting on newspaper websites, saying, "I'm alright, Jack..."

Charles is about to hit the age of retirement (from what? you may ask. A lifetime of spectacular and unethical privilege? Well, yes.) These days, however, many people work far beyond the previously set retirement age of 65, which the prince will be next week. His coming birthday will entitle him to the State Pension at least, along with a free bus pass. Will Charles travel on the bus? Not likely. He prefers to helicopter, trips paid for by the ever-grateful people of Britain.

As other aging monarchs around Europe thoughtfully and practically abdicate and give way to the next in line -- the Belgian king in July, aged 80, for his son, 53; the Dutch queen, 75, in April, for her son, 46 -- the current British queen, it is believed, is in the job for life. She's now 87. Her mother lived to 101. Given apparent robust longevity genes in the clan, can she really be expected to "rule" for another 13 or so years? Could Charles be expected to take up the reigns of reign at near 80? It's outlandish, but he's hardly likely to step aside in favour of his popular oldest son, William, when he's been itching for the throne all his adult life.

And how witheringly demeaning in today's mostly democratic world to be called a sheepy, servile "subject" instead of an adult-minded, empowered "citizen" capable of thinking for oneself and deserving of respect. Britain deserves much, much better. It deserves and must have a proper, functioning democracy. Only then can it lecture the world on the wonders of a democratic nation without attracting hypocritical scorn.

Old and exhausted canards about the British royals being beneficial to the country are simply bogus. Take the oft-trotted-out line about their buttressing the economy by drawing in foreign visitors: tourists don't come to London to see the queen - because she's never around, on show. No, they come to London to see the grand architecture, the raucous musicals, the serene parks and (the mainly outside of) palaces, royal family or not. This is just as in nearby France, whose tourism figures trump those of the UK and they got rid of their "royals" long ago.

To the sycophantic, fawning royalists: If you love the Windsors that much, and can't live without them, simply elect them. If the people of the land see them as fit to head the land, they'll vote for them. Until then, let's stop pretending that there's full democracy in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Let them go. Let the vestiges of unwanted history dissolve away, so that we can get on with the business of real living.

Charles may be relishing the thought of becoming king, but it's a cruel office and one that serves neither king nor country.

 

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