There has been so much royalty on TV news bulletins and in the pages of the newspapers this week (September 2017). The queen “opened a bridge” across the Firth of Forth, her great-grandson started infant school, her grandson’s girlfriend did a photo shoot and toe-curling interview in Vogue magazine, his brother and sister-in-law (parents of aforesaid great-grandson) successfully sued a French gossip magazine, Closer, for long-range photos taken in France without their permission in 2012 – the photos included bare boobs, her’s not his – and the unwilling star of these photos announced her pregnancy. Also, the week before, the two brothers used the twentieth anniversary of their mother’s death as an opportunity to get some promotional airtime in TV interviews. It’s been like a posh Eastenders.
Taking topless photos without consent and then publishing in a magazine without agreement is definitely invasive and not acceptable for anyone. In court, the “Duke and Duchess of Cambridge” claimed, successfully, with the help of an expensive legal team paid for by British tax-payers, that the grainy photos of the duchess’ breasts were such an “invasion of privacy.”
They will pocket almost £200,000 in “damages” from Closer magazine, its owner and its editor. They had tried to grab £1.5m. Do they deserve such damages? Their fame is due entirely to their status as members of the royal family. Any damage to reputation or profession would be damage to the concept of royalty not to them personally. Thus, if any financial claim were made for damages it should be the British government suing the magazine on behalf of the British people and all proceeds should go immediately to the fiscal pot. The claim for personal damages was just another source of income for people whose public existence, and, therefore, their selection as targets for a photographer, is solely down to their luck to be part of the royal family.
Coincidentally, on the same day that the judgement on the court case was made, a new edition of Vogue magazine went on sale with the Duke of Cambridge’s brother’s girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle, as the cover star and as the main interview feature. Markle is a popular actress in US drama ‘Suits’ but that alone would not have persuaded Vogue to consider her to be famous enough to be put on the front cover and to be the main interview in the magazine. Her relationship with a royal is why Vogue chose her. Further, the interview included many comments by her about her royal relationship. She, as a likely future recipient of British tax payers’ free money, will have been paid well for that interview with the agreement that matters royal would have been discussed. Perhaps, the problem the Cambridges had with the Closer photos was that they weren’t paid handsomely in advance?
The Cambridge’s son started a ridiculously expensive infant school this week, at tax payers expense, and they ensured that press photographers attended his arrival. So, they felt comfortable using their four-year-old son to enhance their public image? The timing of the announcement of the latest pregnancy fitted into the publicity timeline conveniently.
Royals as celebrities
The use of children, including potential children, and discussion of relationships are standard celebrity PR techniques; they are clear examples of a publicity machine seeking to control its client’s image. The royals have an extensive PR team, funded by the tax payers.
The most pertinent difference between royal celebrity and show business celebrity is that there is no prior reason for the former’s fame other than a family connection. There is even less worth to royal celebrity than fame attained via appearing on a reality TV show. The two brothers mentioned above, sons of a smart and cunning royal celebrity princess, promote themselves and their partners or family as commodities for wealth gathering and for image flattery. Like the American family the Kardashians or Paris Hilton, the younger Windsors’ lives are their product for sale with no skill or talent as supporting structure. However, the most well-known Kardashian and Hilton did at least entertain the public with their respective comedy sex tapes.
Alongside fame-as-fame these royals demand elevated respect and deference. They want to be treated seriously. No such respect is deserved. They are figures of derision, but, unlike the hoards of other talentless, dim-witted worthless celebs, the young royals galavant around the world at our expense. To add further insult, the royal brothers are as thick as mince and as dull as tripe.
Boring and predictable
The key facet of the recent spate of royal news is its utter tedium. Compared to the good/bad old days of the 1980s, when affairs, divorces and toe-sucking on yachts were popular royal pursuits, the current most visible generation of royals are excruciating bland. That is how they like it, as long as the money keeps rolling in from the exchequer.
The Queen opened a bridge
Elsewhere, and possibly for the final time, the queen opened a major bridge. She cut the ribbon, expertly, to open officially the new road bridge across the Firth of Forth. Nicola Sturgeon lurked.