And so a beleagured and recession-clad nation may rejoice, as the Great Bonnie Prince Balding of Wales is to be betrothed to Kate Middleclass who comes from a place that sounds so Miss-Tiggywinkle-ish it must have been made up. Bucklebury, Berkshire sounds like the beginning of a limerick (“There was a young girl from Bucklebury….”) but is in fact the birthplace of the lady who hath no upper lip and shall be Queen. She has good legs, though. Well, better than Prince Balding anyway. Not that I’ve seen his legs. Well, not since that night at Mahikis when Prince Harry filled the fish tank with vintage champagne and then poured the contents on top of a selection of proles hired for the occasion, while dressed as a member of the Third Reich. Ah. Halcyon Days. Dear Harry and his funny ginger hair. Mostly, I remember the laughter.
Now, the thing about Royal Weddings is they are very seductive to the British people. Out comes the bunting. Out comes the trestle tables and the belief in all things English, out come the sandwiches and buckets of fizzy pop for the youngsters (steady on Harry) and everyone gets to pretend that we still have an Empire. For about six hours. Everyone pretends they are in fact someone else. This someone is usually a village spinster circa 1920, who spends her life baking pies, making jam, believing in “lovely Queeny” and cups of English tea and living in a thatched house in the Cotswolds. Nothing can excuse the British, who are I believe are a stylish nation, and who have been at the forefront of fashion, music art and design for half a century, for the absolute bloody awfulness of the Royal Wedding celebratory mug. I still have nightmares about the over-twee Times New Roman 10 font royal blue writing on our celebratory mug from the village post office on the wedding of Andrew and Fergie. I believed it damned their union. No marriage could grow from such crass kitchenware.
We are all mugs it seems, as Queenie here – who has estates, property and land worth about £348 million – is not entirely footing the bill. Added to this £348million of estates and property and land, she has a “personal fortune” of £350million. This does not include her art collection which runs to a modest £10billion. And don’t give me that fluff about the gold-plated HM tax return, because it’s actually voluntary whether she fills one in and pays income tax at all. Estates passed sovereign to sovereign are also ineligible for inheritance tax. If a commoner attempted to avoid either of these things they would be imprisoned immediately. Astonishingly, HM is still at large. “She’s self-sufficient,” many say, “as her income comes from her land haha.” WHOSE land? Oh hers, apparently. Not ours. It’s decidedly odd, that people in this country go looney-toon crazy when they find out that someone from Lithuania has got a council flat or something, and there’s an old German lady (immigrant! foreigner! Guards – seize her!) who is grazing on vast swathes of land (800,000 acres to be precise) that would be very productive in an era of rising population and home shortages. This has always struck me as decidedly peculiar. Suggest at a social gathering that we ought to get rid of them in one fell swoop and an uncomfortable silence descends, as if you’ve gone a bit potty. Whereas, I think it’s rather mad, in this day and age, to have a monarchy at all.
But you see, they may have zilch fashion sense but they are clever. Because they distract us by street theatre and the clever placing of horses. Watching the change of the guard, seeing those funny soldiers outside St James’s Palace with those bearskins that look like enormous vaginas on their heads, it’s the ultimate in British class performance art. As the lyric from Razzle Dazzle says “How can they see with sequins in their eyes?” As far as I can see, the German – sorry, British – Royal Family have got this art down to a tee. We may be angry about the 800,000 acres, vast wealth and making our taxes pay for maintaining police and doing a massive preparation and clean up for the Prince Balding / Kate Middleclass nuptials, and then the Royal Family show us a golden coach, show us marching shiny soldiers and horses from the Household Cavalry with pretty ribbons in their plaits, and we have sequins in our eyes. It drugs us with fairy dust. It prevents us from standing stock still in the middle of The Mall and saying to our fellow commoner: “It’s 2010 and one in ten children in London live below the poverty line. And we’re standing in front of a coach made of gold to take a girl from Bucklebury Berks to marry a prince. And we PAY for it. And they’re fucking minted. We really are a bunch of stupid, monarchist arse kissing cretins.”
London, austere and depressed, foots the bill alone for the security. Whoops. That’s about £30million or £80million, depending on what newspaper flopped through your letterbox this morning. although the Standard announced yesterday that Jenny Jones, the Green Party member on the Metropolitan Police Authority, has suggested that it would be unrealistic to expect London taxpayers to foot the bill in a time of austerity and has suggested “the royal family can contribute”. This morning Jones said “The Queen’s personal wealth is estimated at £290 million. I just think she has got to pay for it.” Oh well, bang goes Jenny’s invitation (she probably didn’t want one anyway) but she ain’t half right, even if she underestimated the Queen’s personal wealth by £60million. The Standard also predicted that consumers will spend an additional £360million on groceries and provisions for the big day. Champagne, bunting, celebratory tea towels, street parties, barbecues and a bucket load of ibuprofen for the morning after will all be bought. But this is a “consumer spending boost” to the limping British economy. So we are going to have to spend £360million to enjoy the privilege of celebrating a wedding we have already paid for. And this is a country where we can apparently no longer afford to send students to university for free. Today the Daily Snail reported in its usual bovine and recidivist, no-words-of-more-than-four-syllables, lazy journalism that Prince Charles was going to spend “millions”. But surely if he actually had millions he would have already had that operation to have his ears pinned back. I suggest a straight swap: Queen’s personal fortune £350million. Oh, consumer boost to the economy £360million. DOH? Obviously pleasing mathematics. In return for being award-winning citizens of this ‘ere green and pleasant land I would like the Royal Household to furnish us with the appropriate refreshments for Royal Wedding Day, free of charge. It’s the least they could do.
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