During the Revolutionary War, this country melted down a statue of George III in order to make bullets with which to shoot his soldiers. I’m proud to be a democrat and republican (of the lower-case “d” and “r” types), for which reason I have to confess that our media establishment’s persistent coverage of the British royal wedding rankles me. A little.
It only annoys me a bit because a friend of mine, a Brit who became a citizen of the States some ten years ago, a very right-thinking gent who once brought me along to a Billy Bragg concert and calls himself a Socialist, has himself a pretty relaxed attitude towards the Royal Family.
“What do you think is the number one industry in the U.K.?” he asked me once over beers in a San Francisco pub.
“Tourism”, I answered, because I am no fool.
“That’s right. How many tourists come to London in order to watch the Changing of the Guard and all that?” he asked. “It’s good for the country.”
I just want to point out one thing. Probably the worst part of the media coverage has been the softball, nay, hagiographic bios of the royal couple. I loved Christopher Hitchens’ brutal takedown of Diana and Charles earlier this month, and I was struck that he refrained from spilling some of that acid ink on Kate Middleton herself. The fact is, there was another royal wedding a few years ago, almost completely overlooked by the American media, in which a much more interesting woman married into a royal family whose recent reign has exerted far more significant influence over its country. Letizia of Asturias quite simply beats the pants off Kate Middleton. Way more hotter, for one thing. And more importantly, unlike Kate, Letizia actually had a successful and rather impressive career as a journalist before getting married.
Proust once said that the principal occupation of an aristocrat is apologizing for his existence. (It’s somewhere in A la récherche du temps perdu, I swear.) I really don’t see how one could be a fan of these paisley-bedecked preppies but I have to admit to being a tiny bit fond of the Spanish Bourbons. I know you’re going to accuse me of perpetuating the problem I claim to despise by adding one more article on the Hanover-Middleton hitching to the Internet, but I think it is worth it to point out how little there is behind the Kate mystique.