Wednesday 18th July, for some, just another day, but for many, a great day in Jersey’s modern history. The arrival of Prince Charles, the future King of England. I put strong focus on the word FUTURE here. He is not yet our King, and yet, as i walk through town, I can barely go 5 steps without walking into someone wearing a Union Jack hat or sash (admittedly sometimes on purpose. Do they not realise they look ridiculous?). The big question is, why do we care so much about a man, or a family, that really don’t do that much for us? Yes, the Royal Family are one of the biggest tourist attractions the UK has to offer, bringing in an estimated £175 million a year to the treasury, excluding restaurants, hotels and stores, but they also cost the tax payer roughly £40 million a year, that’s 66p each. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a republican, and I’m not going to be starting a revolution to get rid of the monarchy, but it’s days like this that get to me, when we are willing to shut down parts of the island’s busiest area to honour a man that does very little other than live off his mother’s popularity amongst foreingers.
The one saving grace of the Royal Family, for me, is Prince Phillip. The man that is to racists what Ghandi is to Tibetans, a true hero (that’s not me condoning racism). I have more respect for Phillip than anyone in the Royal Family (again, not racist), because he is the last man that will truly speak his mind, no matter how absurd or insulting it is. In times when most would keep their mouths shut, and simply smile and wave, he has the chutzpah to ask if female sea cadets “work in a strip club”, or to tell the Nigerian President, in national dress, that he “looks ready for bed”. Whether it stems from pure ignorance, or from the fact that he knows he has too much power to ever have to worry about offending people, we will never know, although he does acknowledge his “Dontopedalogy…the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it.”
For me, it doesn’t matter that he conforms to the majority of the Royal stereotypes, like playing polo, travelling in first class, not in “something called economy class, which sounds ghastly”, or even accepting conservation awards, despite calling the country that gave the award “one of the most notorious centres of trading in endangered species in the world”. His opnion may not be a particularly popular one, but at least he’s honest about it. For all we know, Katie Price may be a genius, but we will never see that because she puts on an act. This is not a problem with Phillip, who would gladly insult both her appearance and personality to her face, but of course all with a smile that means you just can’t get angry. It’s this brutality, or harsh truth, that I wish was a quality in more people. Of course, if everyone thought like Phillip, we’d be living in a very segregated world, but if more people spoke their mind bluntly then maybe the problems we complain about so often would be fixed. Or it could start World War Three. Either way, English A Level would be a lot easier.
Despite the first paragraph of this piece, I am not totally against Prince Charles. It appears there is at least a bit of Phillip’s disregard and indominability in him amongst the pompous attitude and mindset that can only come from growing up in a palace. His refusal to be “the first Prince of Wales in history to live without a maid” was an allusion to his father, the man that called a carpark attendant a “bloody silly fool” simply because he didn’t recognise him I also like the fact that Charles knows where he, and his whole family, stand. He knows that “something as curious as the monarchy won’t survive unless you take into account people’s attitudes…If people don’t like it, they won’t have it”. He, unlike Phillip, knows that for the Royal reign to continue, we need more “Will and Kate”s, or Princess Annes competing in the Olympics. We need to be able to relate to the people with so much power, after all, who hasn’t left their child in the pub at one stage or another. In this light, could the year Charles becomes King be the year we see Eugenie on “I’m a Celeb”?