An accusation of illegal sexual activity has been made against Prince Andrew in a US court. The validity of the accusation and what may be a consequence of it are unknown at present. However, what is clear is the voraciousness of the appetite of both public and media to devour the few snippets of information, and the gleefulness of the disdain against him and, subsequently, against his family and its institution.
The scale, swiftness and carefreeness of the condemnation of Prince Andrew results partly from an abhorrence of abuse of minors and partly from his standing as the most unlikeable royal due to some questionable personal and business associations, but the primary reason for the ease with which he has been vilified and ridiculed is merely that an opportunity has arisen to have a go at the royal family as an institution of British elitism.
The queen’s jubilee celebrating sixty years as monarch, a royal wedding, a royal birth and another pending have allowed an air of positivity and public support to dominate the perception of how the British people feel about an unelected, hereditary head of state. This contrasts sharply with the 1980s and 1990s when a seemingly endless merry-go-round of affairs, divorces and embarrassments occurred, with one year described by the queen as an ‘annus horribilis’ during a speech in 1992, and the most popular royal, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in 1997.
The apparent rapprochement between the monarchy and the public in the 2010s has a foundation of shifting sand and is as leaky as Windsor Castle roof. The jubilee party was fun, a wedding in a very old abbey looked nice, although some observers were more distracted by a bridesmaid’s backside, and babies are cute aren’t they? But, the queen’s husband is still an unpleasant racist, the heir to the throne is still a bit weird and his treatment of his first wife as just a baby-maker still grates with her fan base, one of her grandsons is the epitome of a vacant hooray henry, there are various abandoned ex-wives and ex-husbands around with a continuing capacity to cause bother, and there is Prince Andrew, a man who has never felt to need to vet his friends and business partners. The change from the earlier decades is minimal.
Alongside the absence of admiration for the royal family itself is the acute hardship faced by many in Britain and the prospect of further decline in the health service, education, the economy and indeed the entire infrastructure of the country, and also the increasing lack of faith in the existing establishment, a lack caused by the abuseful smash-and-grab gangsterism of the government since 2010. All of the above discourages an acceptance of an arbitrarily appointed head of state held in higher esteem than the general public. Fewer and fewer people can comprehend the point of a monarch, and more and more are inclined toward outright hostility and animosity toward the monarchy. Thus, when an opportunity arises, the attack is immediate, large and uncomprimising.