The British Royal family suffered a devastating loss on the ninth of April this year. Prince Philip, husband to Queen Elizabeth, passed away at 99 years old with the press release stating a peaceful passing.
I bring this up because it’s world news, which I felt was weird. Granted, the British Royal family has guided world events like no other political institution since the decline of the papacy, so it stands to reason that any event involving them would garner attention, but it still seems odd.
The Royal Family is paid attention to in a way that just seems wrong to me. I will admit that’s probably the ingrained lessons of American history class telling me to find monarchies strange.
It is similar to hearing that an old friend took up juggling - interesting, but not anything I would even consider important.
I suppose this is what makes the royal family such a novelty in the States. We fought a war to break ties with a crown yet find ourselves devouring news about them, whether that be the line of succession, who slighted who, or in this case, the passing of one of its members.
Prince Philip encompasses many of the points I find strange about royal families.
Firstly, he married a cousin, which barring a couple states in the Union (this can be seen as a joke until you look into the state laws regarding this), is weird. To them, this close relatedness is a boon for a royal marriage and maintains some semblance of noble blood.
This is another point I find interesting: this idea of class.
Don’t get me wrong, in the States we definitely have our own class issues, but it’s more about money than who your parents are.
Granted, money is involved across the pond when it comes to class, but it’s also tied to this game of “who’s who” wherein the land and your titles are often more important than the size of the gold reserves, but I digress.
Prince Philip was a consort, the prestigious position of making sure you do not soil the royal image while having no constitutionally invested power to do anything. Similar to the first spouse of America, but it’s a lifetime gig.
Maybe it’s my American ignorance, but that just seems weird that your spouse is just picked out of a lineup of suitable relatives, and they are destined to be a head of state.
What if Bezos married off his children to the CEOs of different companies in the promise that they could combine into a powerful corporation?
Now that I have said this, I envision a dystopian America ruled by Lord Amazon, Duchy of Disney. If that seemed strange, there’s a country where if your parents used to collect taxes on a section of land you get a fancy title.
This might be somewhat a bashing on the idea of royals, which it is, but that’s only because we put so much importance on something that shouldn’t factor in how the world operates anymore. We’re already seeing it with the distance that is firmly growing between the crown, and the family of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
The royal family is an institution dating back hundreds of years with a very interesting history. Their actions still hold a massive sway in global politics and for what reason? Governing and political power has to come from somewhere, and the Royal family just gets it by birthright?
Granted, democracies as international powers are the exception and not the rule for most of world history, including current history.
Maybe I’ll change my tune when one of Meghan’s descendants becomes the monarch for the United Kingdom, which I would think would be the ultimate victory from the Revolutionary War.
My heart goes out to the Royal Family and their loss, but I want to emphasize that my condolences are for people like me; they are people like you and me.
Granted, it’s not our call how the United Kingdom handles its governance, but I just wanted to highlight how absurd the idea of a Royal family is. Hopefully we won’t have to worry about it in the States.