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The Royal Flush

The Royal Flush

Watching Princess Kate attend the “trooping of the colors” was wonderful in that I was hoping she was indeed recovering from her cancer, though the type is still being withheld.

But in another sense, I was thinking of the colorful old royal carriages, King Charles and Prince William decked out in ancient military-type coats with ribbons and medals and all kinds of symbolic doodads. I was watching the assorted hangers-on, and the 400 horsemen or whatever, and all the troops and the bands. While this might be a tourist attraction if replicated in Disneyland with actors, what on earth is the cost to the UK?

The royal family is obscenely wealthy with cash, lands, and jewels (some of which was simply taken from others during the heights of empire).* I was fascinated by a line in the show “The Crown,” apparently accurate, where the aging royal yacht needs $40 million to keep it seaworthy. The prime minister tells the queen that the government can’t afford it and won’t do it.

Queen Elizabeth replies, in stark astonishment, “You expect us to pay for it????!!!”

What does all this anachronistic splendor produce? Please don’t tell me tourist dollars. What does it say when you have all these accidents of birth parading around, attending functions, being curtsied and bowed to, and attracting all this attention and expense? Certainly, the behavior of everyone since Edward VIII and his abdication to marry an American divorcé has been questionable, right through Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s tens of millions of dollars in media deals that produce nothing, and his whining that he deserves police protection when visiting London. (Never mind his completely overlooking his privileged life in his tantrum of a book, Spare.) And then there was Charles and Diana and Camilla.

In America we love to watch the ceremonies, the coronations, the trappings of absurd, accidental privilege. That’s why soap operas are so popular here.

I do hope that Kate is recovering. She’s a rare touch of class over there.

*(According to Forbes, the worth of the British royal family is $18 billion. There are 160 counties in the world with a smaller GDP than that.)

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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