Effortless surrender

Your mates, the House of Windsor, have shown the world that the game is up. The centuries of polite condescension practised at arm’s length from popular culture came to an abrupt end amid uncomfortable glances and nervous grimaces. The gates were flung wide. No Trojan horse was required. Come on in, no contest. Canterbury had no reply to Chicago. Gospel trumped the choir boys. Oscars outnumbered Garters. Not an MP or General or billionaire in sight. Just our daily tweeters: George, Idris, David and Victoria. If Diana was the people’s princess, Harry is the champion of the chavs. Bring on the clowns? They are already here.

Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

31 thoughts on “Effortless surrender”

  1. Oh Janus, dear boy, how terribly yesterday. Put your thinking cap on – in turbo mode – and reconsider; thusly –

    The Family have pulled a real blinder this time – The Marmite strategy. If you haven’t heard of it (and it looks certain that you haven’t), do a search. Then read, learn and inwardly digest, as my old Headmaster used to say.

    They’ve won, in spades, for the next 2 or 3 generations, at least. I’m not a monarchist, but I have to acknowledge their masterful chicanery this time. Good on ’em. 😎

  2. Janus, my good man, you seem to misunderstand the precedents of British history. Fortunately, the UK’s favourite resident Hun is here to dispel a few misconceived notions. A good deal of what we think of as settled tradition is really not that old. Nor has Britain always had the pageantry bit down. During George III’s coronation, the bulk of attendees were busy gorging themselves on pies and meat and getting properly drunk. George IV’s descended into an utter farce. It was a badly done imitation of Napoleon’s. Even good old Queen Vickie didn’t have much luck. Many uncharitably noted that the French ambassador’s coach was far more impressive. The only coronation we know much about is Elizabeth II’s because that’s the only one that was ever made entirely public — much to the consternation of many. Royal weddings have, traditionally, been secretive affairs. It was not without reason that, up to the point when la Place de la Concorde became the world’s biggest cutting board, the French monarchy was manifestly more open than any other. Harry is following the precedent that his grandparents set. He’s given the monarchy a more modern face, one the reflects the world as it is without jettisoning tradition. His grandmother was oft criticised for marrying a *gasp* foreign prince — a swarthy Levantine type, at that! They opened up the royal family more than it had ever been before. They reflected a new age, a new era, one in which the old class system decayed and society became more egalitarian. Even the Queen’s English has become somewhat less posh as time went on. The monarchy is an ancient institution that has served the realms well. But it is not a museum piece and we don’t want it to become one.

  3. I love your expression “champion of the chavs”, Janus, because looking at many of the guests, that’s what they were. I have to confess that I didn’t actually watch the proceedings, being otherwise engaged in escorting two little granddaughters to their town’s Street Fair, which closes the annual festival fortnight. (Husband insists that’s why he chucked our invitations in the bin!) It was a delightful family-oriented event, with local churches and other organisations manning cake stalls, plant stalls, tombolas, etc and no one seemed bothered about the happenings in Windsor. There was maypole dancing and singing from the local primary schools and it was all very amateur and very English and absolutely delightful.

    I was horrified to see that bride did not have the good taste to follow the example of other royal divorcees at their second weddings. Even Wallis Simpson wore a pale blue outfit rather than white.

  4. As Christopher has rightly pointed out – the Hanoverians were despised, hated, mocked and verbally abused – Georgy Porgy (i.e. the fourth of that name) had rotten eggs (and other filth) thrown at his carriage. If ever the British Monarchy was in danger of being dismissed it was at that time…

    … and then came Victoria. This is not my area of expertise, but I suspect it was Albert who helped to change the unsavoury Hanoverian image of Monarchy to the very much more respectable and acceptable Saxe-Coberg-Gotha image. And when that didn’t suit the mood of the people – the House of Saxe-Coberg-Gotha became the House of Windsor.

    When Victoria was told that she was in danger of losing her throne when she became a recluse after Albert died, she rapidly pulled herself together. She is reputed to have told all her descendants to do what ever was necessary to hang on to the throne.

    And they have just done that in the most spectacular way. And, furthermore with no major “song and dance” beforehand – they just did it. And they did it splendidly with the right mix of the ‘old’ and the ‘new’.

    This was no surrender – this was accepting that the world has changed – and that for the Monarchy to survive it must also change.

    The British Monarchy is and always has been dependent on the goodwill of the people. So long as the majority of “Joe Bloggs’ support it, it will survive – no matter what the rank Leftists say.

    Well done Lizzie II. Phil the Greek, and Charlie of the Ears for not being too old, too stupid, or too pompous to embrace change.

    Yes, The Royalist! Much to my surprise I also enjoyed it!

  5. I had fun watching too. But isn’t it even more fun to wind up the oh-so-sensitive royalists?

  6. I didn’t watch it, preserved my eyeballs, did catch sufficient on the news to appreciate quite how bad it was.
    Wonderful how such a humanitarian could spend half a million or so on two dresses that didn’t even fit! Hope she kept the tags to get a refund!
    Would you believe that the rabid, box of frogs preacher is the Episcopalian bishop of Chicago? Spousal unit and myself voted with our feet a decade ago when they started having queer bishops here. I only worship the greenhouse these days, far less distressing.
    Curious that the media in the UK keep banging on about what a success the whole thing was but everyone I have spoken too across the pond have been singularly unimpressed. Nobody saying anything out loud I expect they think they will be accused of a hate crime!
    If that is the way royalty think to update themselves then the sooner they are disposed of the better. What a choice, Sparkle or a Cherie Blair lookalike peering out of Buck House!!! (Lesser of two weevils?)
    Bet she’ll be off and running with an oligarch or some such within 5 years. After all I don’t think she has converted to Russian Orthodoxy as yet.
    PS as a matter of style someone ought to tell her, brown skins do not go particularly well with white white, far more complimentary to use off white, pale cream or ivory.

  7. CO, the monarchy is like religion. People are afraid to criticise – as if the whole thing is god-given. The Chelsea Flower Show is in the same category.

  8. Now don’t start me on that!!!
    Spent an idle hour this a.m. looking at the RHS website.
    Oh my God!
    Appeared that the ‘gardens’ on offer either needed a weed whacker or a bulldozer.
    Never seen such a load of sheer rubbish in years. I swear every year they get worse.
    The Yorkshire garden was tolerable but the Cornish ‘homage’ was enough to get them coming over the Tamar with scythes and flambeau!
    I gave up my membership of the RHS in ’95 and decided there really was no point in dragging oneself up from Wales with the attendant costs of hotels etc to see designs that one could create better on the back of an envelope, literally.

    I have finally got my garden sorted colour and plant wise and have two open days booked. Will take some photos when it is in its glory, ie the lilies are doing their bit. Pink and mauve have finally been banished.

  9. PS I take your point on the sacred cow syndrome with an added dollop of musn’t be waycist in any way, shape or form!

  10. “The Marmite Strategy?” Of course, of course, that explains it all! I must be genetically predisposed to dislike mass gatherings of chav “celebrities,” tub-thumping preachers, Gospel choruses and anything else brought in with no apparent intent but to derail tradition.

    Say Hallelujah!

    I’ve yet to see any genuine research indicating that that sort of carry-on (carrion?) is what the majority of *civilized* people really want and that there’s no place for preserving a modicum of tradition in today’s society. The old ways are, after all, what made us what we are today. And what’s wrong with showing respect for the fragments of tradition that may still prevail in another country? That “Bishop” (who sounded to me more like a rolling-on-the-floor Flaptist than an “old-school” Anglican/Episcopalian) must have been seriously jet-lagged after his long flight (at whose expense?) from darkest (ahem!) Chicago to what used to be a green and pleasant land, so much so that he mistook one King for another. As for Ms. Markle, her wearing of white rather than some pastel shade traditionally (oops, I’ve said it again!) associated with a remarrying divorcee suggests that she as well as Prince Harry may be colour-blind. What’s next, the bride wearing yoga pants?

    Put your hands on the telly!

    I darkly suspect that many in the UK are simply scared to voice their true opinions, provided that they know what they are. One of the good things about living in the USA is that I can say whatever I think, so long as I’m not inciting to riot (or possibly saying anything less than glowingly favorable about The Only President We’ve Got).

    Oh Lawd, come through the roof and I’ll pay for the shingles!

    Lest any wonder, I’ve searched my alleged brain for any sign of residual “sour grapes” and found none, despite having been denied an Episcopal Church wedding because we were both divorced. Call me a grumpy old fart if you wish; I’ve been called worse. If the Archbishop of Canterbury wasn’t duty-bound to conduct the actual traditional wedding ceremony part of the day’s events, his doing so was at least a very nice gesture. Even though I feel that some of the goings-on would have been better confined to a reception rather than being thrust upon everyone in a Church service, I wish the new couple long life and happiness. Really!

  11. Boadicea: Victoria benefited from William IV’s competence. George III was pitied, George IV was loathed. William IV did much to stabilise the monarchy. He was a sensible, capable monarch who was generally respected. Queen Victoria was hard-headed, capricious and at times incredibly childish. Her youth made her appealing for a time, but she managed to score some extraordinary own-goals, including being overly favourable to Lord Melbourne. Prince Albert brought a sense of sober, level-headedness and duty. Queen Victoria learnt much from him and her emulation of his crown above monarch, nation above all mindset set the foundations for what has become one of the House of Windsor’s greatest sources of acceptance. With the exception of the overly individualistic Edward VIII, every monarch since has grown into his/her crown and been able to, for the most part, read shifts in public perception. Edward VII was a second “merry monarch”. When she died, Victoria was widely loved — but hers was a dour, serious reign and her son lent a more vibrant, lively touch to that ancient institution. His son, George V, was a stern, but capable and fair monarch who was able to lead the Empire through World War I, the Partition of the United Kingdom and the worst of the Great Depression. George VI was a kind, obviously warm, king with an incredibly sense of decency and humility. He was a reassuring presence during the dark days of the Second World War and post-war exhaustion. Elizabeth II has been a thoroughly modern Queen who, through her dedication to tradition, has been a source of security and stability at a time when the entire world has been turned on its head more than once. She is open, but not overbearing. She is omnipresent, but maintains an air of mystery. Charles von Dumbo is an obviously flawed, but well-intentioned man whose views, even those that were not too long ago considered “eccentric” have proven to be prescient. He’s the non-judgemental, damaged-goods crown prince at a time when much of the Commonwealth is damaged-goods and desperate for a figure who, whatever his flaws, has more often than not been proven to be right. William is growing into an approachable, citizen-king with his mother’s grace and grandmother’s acumen. I don’t fear for the House of Windsor’s future. Long after toxic PMs and presidents are gone and forgotten, they’ll remain in the public conscience.

  12. Hi Janus.

    Away and boil your head. Utter gibberish.

    Sheona. Haw there. Wallis Simpson was not a ‘royal divorcee’ when she snapped up Ed the Nazi after he demitted office. Obviously, both Anne and Charles were, in due course, RDs . Don’t recall what colours they chose to wear but do think that both of their second serve marriages seem to have OK worked so far.

    Floreat Camilla Regina when the time comes.

    CO, good evening. I cannot share your bile about the nuptials. I watched and loved the coverage throughout. I did, I admit, flag a wee bit after the Rev MC went through the 10 minute barrier, sermon-wise.

    Nonetheless, Meghan looked lovely ab initio and is, in my opinion, a good thing for our Royal Family. Not that it really matters as Harry has already slid down the charts to Number 6 and will be well outside the Top 10 when George, Charlotte and Louis get stuck in.

    On the other hand, you are clearly right about the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year. Our visit there last year was utterly memorable. On presented evidence to date, I would not cross my legs, let alone the road, to visit it this year.

  13. I always know I’ve hit the mark when m’learned friend, JM, invites me to do one. Cog is right, trampling on tradition is hardly progress.

  14. I never thought I would say this, but I became a republican the day the Queen gave her consent to the marriage.

    Actually, forget being a republican, that is what got the country into the mess it is right now. Bring back the aristocracy. Britain was a better place when ruled by the House of Lords; the real ones not the current bunch of incompetent wastrels.

  15. JM, I should obviously have used the term “divorcees marrying into the royal family”. I don’t remember what colour Charles chose, but Camilla didn’t go for white. Neither did the Princess Royal. I think Wallis Simpson had “snapped up” Edward long before he abdicated.

  16. Janus… So “Trampling on tradition is hardly progress”? If people had never trampled on ‘tradition’ – we’d all still be living in caves…

    Mr Caveman: “We’ve lived in Caves for thousands of years… We’ve hunted Mammoths and gathered food and worn clothes made from animal skins for the same amount of time… what’s wrong with that?”

    Those who wanted to survive and, more importantly, thrive: “Nothing at all – unless we want to become as obsolete as the dinosaurs. Keep what is good and reject all that holds us back.”

    Sorry Janus, you sound just like my father who said what was good enough for his father (and grandfather and although he didn’t mention it – he would most certainly said his great-grandfather ) was good enough for him. Hence he totally opposed education for women (a bit like Sipu I suspect) especially for his daughter. He wasn’t that keen on education for his son either. He was totally out of touch with the way the world that had changed since he was born.

    The world changes – that’s life. Those who do not change do not survive…

    That the Monarchy is still at the apex of British Government in 2018 is due entirely to its ability to adapt and change.

    Charles I lost his head because he tried to assert that his view of the role of monarchy was ‘traditional’ – Divine Right of Kings. His son, who had the luck to be asked back, had far more sense – and modified the traditional role of the monarchy.

    The British Monarchy has always been the maker of its own tradition, and has changed it as it sees fit, and will continue to do so – just so that they can remain where they have been, almost since Time Immemorial, Kings / Queens of Britain.

  17. Boa, if the Chicago preacher represents progress, I’ll wait for the next Ice Age before I welcome it. He does for his metier what Dr Beeching did for the railways. Think baby and bathwater. Sorry but ‘Arry’s chavs don’t inspire confidence.

  18. Well done Boadicea, your jibe was appreciated, though not entirely accurate. Education for women is OK, up to a point, but they should not let themselves get carried away and believe that it serves any useful purpose beyond that of having the wherewithal to maintain a comfortable home and raising a family. It is my experience that university education is largely wasted on women, with a few exceptions. As for allowing them to vote, well I think the current state of parliament rather shows what a mistake that was.

    Let’s be blunt, Arthur Schopenhauer’s attitude to women was eminently sensible. http://www.theabsolute.net/misogyny/onwomen.html

    It is gratifying to know that I am clearly not alone in holding these views, though there are worringly few of us.

    Perhaps this sums it up best and given the medium, much easier for some people to understand.

  19. On a marginally more serious note, of course change is important. But the difference between a conservative and a liberal is that the former aims for relatively small levels of change, the impact of which can be managed and absorbed, the ultimate goal being a gradual improvement in living conditions. A liberal aims for far more dramatic levels of change that bring about unforeseen and even unimaginable consequences. The net result usually ends in tears. In economic terms this leads to boom and bust cycles, while in political terms it leads to revolution and war.

    Inevitably perhaps, you misunderstand the nature of evolution. It is true that organisms need to evolve to survive, according to the environment in which they live. If the environment changes, so must they. But if the environment remains constant then it is quite possible there may be no evolutionary imperative. There are some organisms, sharks and crocodiles, for example, that have hardly evolved at all over the past few million years. Man on the other hand has transformed dramatically over the same period. Or at least some have, i.e. those who left the pleasant climes of the Rift Valley for the harsher conditions of northern Europe and Asia, had to develop an ability to plan ahead and a capacity for industry, traits that are not exactly forthcoming south of the Sahara.

    In the case of the Royal Family, they have allowed the chavish (Janus, I am with you 100% on this particular matter) behaviour of outsiders, Diana, Sarah, Kate and Meghan, to override their more conservative instincts thus rendering them hopelessly insipid and devoid of any substance worthy of respect. Having said that, while I have always tried to defend Charles, things did start to go pear-shape many years ago when he invited the Three Degrees to perform at his 30th birthday party and allowed himself to become ‘bewitched’ by them. Just not done, though it does explain a certain hereditary trait in his ginger offspring. That William and Harry ‘shared their grief’ with the rest of the world warrants the utmost contempt. They have turned the monarchy into reality show and any respect that they may have once deserved has gone forever, as far as I am concerned, at least.

  20. Sipu: Africa never “had” to develop to the same level. A fair comparison is South-East Asia, not Europe or North-East Asia. Africa has a lot of marginal land. If survival is the name of the game, it wasn’t “that” hard with land and resources existing in vast supply. This also kept the development of states at a comparatively low level. For a state to develop, rulers had to exert control. In Africa, people could migrate easily — and routinely did so. In Europe, there was a limited amount of land with large populations to support. This required intensive farming and economic specialisation which led to the growth of strong states. This was similar to the course that Japan, Korea and China took. In South-East Asia, especially Indonesia and Malaysia, people could easily get what they needed to support a certain standard of living. Food and resources were in rich abundance. That is also why these regions didn’t develop a modern finance system until the Arabs, Indians and Chinese brought their systems of economics with them. That, incidentally, is also why the Chinese were so crucial to the development of the economies of the region. They wouldn’t rest with “enough”, they were used to having to survive with nothing and finding themselves in a region of plenty meant that they were going to do very, very well. They understood debt and finance extremely well. The local Malays didn’t. They worked when they wanted something, relaxed when they were done. It’s why Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines never reached the same levels of development as Japan or Korea despite having far more to work with than either.

  21. Janus: I am the youngest Charioteer. Although I’m an outlier in my generation, I still understand it well. I also work with hundreds of Gen-Z each term. There is little support in either for the privileges and hauteur of aristocracies past. Both are staunchly egalitarian generations, as are Gen-X and the younger Baby Boomers to a less extent. Having a spoilt, entitled “princess” wouldn’t go over well and being spoken down to would go down even worse. The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex reflect their generations. I wouldn’t all either one a “chav”. They’re both commoners. In Scandinavia, the three crown princes/princesses are married to commoners — one is even Australian! The Queen of the Netherlands is a commoner — an Argentine, at that. The Queen of Spain was a news reader in a past life! Even the Japanese have gone that route. Empress Michiko is a commoner by birth, as is Crown Princess Masako. We’re in the age of citizen monarchs.

  22. There’s been a wedding?😐
    Oh that’ll be why the little people were rewarded with an extra hour in the pub. Oh we’re so lucky!
    As the second youngest charioteer, I can say this:
    Two things Mrs C bans me from discussing at dinner parties; the monarchy and religion. Same difference. Either subject seems to end up with me offending the delicate British in this so called liberal society. Aa an atheist republican, it’s a miracle I haven’t been deported. I wish 😜
    But I think I’ve mentioned these unpopular views before on the chariot….

  23. Hi c426! Both the supernatural and the monarchy are irrational constructs, requiring the suspension of logical discussion. Bearsy’s Marmite polarises opinion in the same way.

  24. As the third youngest Charioteer, I’ll give you tradition. I’d stick the lot of you in the tower. As J-man and Sipu are hanging from chains with only one thing they agree on, they can argue over everything else forevermore. ( smiley thingummyjig)

  25. The Royalist: Would you really want to do that? Thousands and thousands demanding fair-trade almond lattes and gluten-free brownies with ethically-sourced, single-origin chocolate brownies?

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