Things I hate #23

The Royal Family


Tear me apart and boil my bones, I’ll not rest till she’s lost her throne. My aim is true my message is clear – it’s curtains for you, Elizabeth, my dear.


The Stone Roses


In 1461 the future King Edward IV led his Yorkist army into battle at Towton against the Lancastrians. He was there, at the front, sword raised, shouting obscenities, leading the charge, hacking about him, up to his elbows in blood, fighting for his life and for control of the country. Edward got stuck in and slaughtered everything and everyone that stood in his way. Because back then the King was the Big Boss. He was Don Vito Corleone. He was capofamiglia. He was Al Capone in chain mail, putting down opposition with a heavy mace and punching any fucker audacious enough to complain in the face with a spike-studded gauntlet until they couldn’t complain about anything anymore. Motherfuckers. He was Scarface out to fuck the country like it was a big, fat pussy. He was Lucky Luciano in ermine. He led an organized crime group of stocky thugs with pudding basin haircuts which eventually evolved into the aristocracy that we have now. And Towton was a turf war between two rival Mob families. It was a grudge fight. Edward’s younger brother and father – The Duke of York – had been killed in Wakefied a few months earlier by the Lancastrians, his father’s head displayed at Micklegate Bar in York wearing a paper crown. This is a blue print for a mob film with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Edward IV was a vengeful gangster going up against the rival mob and putting them down. It was a hostile takeover. You can say the same about William the Conqueror, AKA William the Bastard, AKA William the Tanner. You can say the same about Henry VIII, twisting the rules of Christianity for his own ends. Or end. Diverting Church funds into his own pocket and making the rules fit his own personal agenda. The story of the Plantagenets makes The Godfather Parts 1 and 2 seem like The Archers. Goodfellas looks like the story of a bunch of Boy Scouts by comparison. Murders, torture, political machinations, assassinations, power brokering incest. Put Tony from the Sopranos up against Edward I AKA Longshanks, AKA The Hammer of the Scots and Tony’d shit himself. In terms of ruthlessness and brutality, he’d be out of his league. We’re talking about Longshanks who caused people to have heart attacks through quaking fear just by being in his presence when he’d got the lip on. And Richard I, butchering entire towns in France in order to exert his ownership made Reggie Kray look like Kenneth Williams. In the words of organized crime mastermind Meyer Lansky: ‘Look at the Astors and the Vanderbilts, all those big society people. They were the worst thieves and now look at them. It’s just a matter of time.’ And all this power-wielding was dressed up as Divine Right to an ignorant populace denied the ability to read and write or even have the Bible that ruled their lives read out to them in a language that they could understand. The Royals created the rules in their own image. They subverted faith and wove themselves into the story. What a scam? You have to give credit to where it’s due. The Duke of Wherever is little more than the great, great, great, great great, great, great grand child of some Medieval bully that shouldered their way to the front through threats and violence, fixing the opposition with public executions and private torture. He is the ancestor of a Royal mob underboss whose job was to keep down the Northern Counties or the Welsh Marches or wherever in the same way that Santo Trafficante Jnr took care of Miami and Carlos Marcello was in control of New Orleans. The Royals and their followers were medieval hoodlums with a blank canvas to paint on. The Royals and the aristocrats simply laid claim to everything worth having and then built a legal system to protect their own interests and slowly established the thing we call society. Society was the alchemy that legitimized their appropriation. They gave themselves coats of arms and cut glass accents to differentiate themselves from the common rabble and make themselves appear to be something special. Now that’s what you call organization. The Mob in Chicago and New York must look at Liz and Phil sat comfortably and legitimately in Buckingham Palace and drip with envy. It’s a syndicate that’s lasted for over a thousand years. Sure, there’s been some depositions and Cromwell tried to muscle in on the turf back in the 17th Century, but, by and large, they’ve held it together. And they still do all right out of it. Out of us. The mugs. The marks. The suckers. The Serfs. They still have the lands they laid claim to through brute force and they still get an estimated £180,000,000 in cash from the people every year. The British Royal Family is the most successful crime organization in history.


But back in the days when the King led the way and took what he grabbed you could see the point of Royalty. Even if you didn’t agree with it. Like it or lump it, but he stood up for his manor. It was survival of the fittest. But the world has moved on and what purpose do the Royal Family serve now? For instance, in wars. That’s what got them were they were to start with, so how are they fairing in the modern day theatre of conflict? Well, on the face of it they seem to be doing OK. Have you seen the Prince of Wales in dress uniform? In one the many different uniforms he has to pick from in his dressing up box? He can hardly stand up with the weight of medals on his chest. He has rows and rows and rows and fucking rows of decorations. If he keeps on at this rate he’s going to have to annex someone else’s chest. Maybe he could put a batch on Camilla’s? Or perhaps have his tunic altered to have 80s shoulders like David Byrne in Stop Making Sense. But all these military decorations for what? What exactly has he done to earn all that scrambled egg? In 1969 his Mum created him Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales. Where was he when the regiment was in Iraq? Was he there, kicking in doors and putting down insurgents in a burst of automatic fire? ‘C’mon, boyos! Let’s be havin’ ‘em, isn’t it?!’  No. He was walking around Chelsea Flower Show or Crufts or some new shopping centre in Macclesfield with one hand in his jacket pocket, cutting ribbons. He is now a General in the British Army, an Admiral in the Royal Navy, and an Air Chief Marshal of the Royal Air Force. Fuck Trident and all that money we’re burning on the Euro Fighter, if in doubt call on Charles, he’ll sort the Iranians. He’ll go in like Stallone in the last Rambo, a one man army, navy and air force combined, raining down a righteous firestorm on whoever stands in the way. The Taliban? He’s shit bigger. Won’t he? That’s what Richard I would have done. AKA Cœur de Lion. That’s what Edward, the Black Prince would have done. But Prince Harry got brought back from Afghanistan – kicking and screaming, no doubt; it’s such a pity that the story leaked that he was there. Who’d have thunk it? – because he was deemed a target. No shit? He’s in the army and the enemy are wanting to kill him? You’re putting me on, surely? The fucking bastards. Would you credit it, eh? And the other three thousand troops that we’ve got out there in Helmand Province aren’t targets then? Fair dos, he’s got ginger hair which does give snipers a bit of a heads up. But surely we could have put together a unit of gingers to confuse the ragheads? Like the dirty dozen but auburn. There must have been enough to pick from out there. I mean, hasn’t James Hewitt got any kids in the forces? No, the modern royals don’t live up to their ancestors when it comes to a settler. Even though they seem to get all the best training. Natural pilots, natural sailors, natural leaders of men. Apparently. But it’s all academic. It never gets put into practice. Not in combat at any rate. So why have we still got them if they’re not even going to get out there and fight for us?


The perennial argument for holding on to the Royal Family – putting to one side nostalgia and a skewed sense of patriotism, plus the amount of souvenir tea towels Her Majesty supposedly helps shift to gullible American tourists – is that the country needs a Head of State. And what are the alternatives? the monarchists say. President Tony Blair? President Katie Price? Robbie Williams in Buck House with his feet up, wearing St. Edward’s Crown? But the role of Head of State these days – until we get Liz strapping on a GPMG and kicking some arse in Kandahar while the Duke of Wessex throws a flash bomb into an AlQaeda stronghold – is purely nominal and just part of the constitutional machinery. And just as Prince Charles is Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment in Wales and the Duke of Wessex – who wimped out on the Royal Marines basic training – is Royal Honorary Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry, why not take our lead from Sir Nils Olav? Sir Nils has been the Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian King’s Guard since 1972. He never fails in his official duties as a figurehead for the regiment, he is recognized and honoured by all across the world, he never makes a gaffe and calls the Chinese slanty-eyed Chinks or nips off on jollies in an RAF helicopter. He is a credit to the regiment that he represents. Everybody loves Sir Nils. And do you know what Sir Nils gets paid? Kippers. The occasional Herring. If it’s a special week, they might chuck in a bucket of Mackerel. Because Sir Nils Olav is a penguin who lives at Edinburgh Zoo. I think Sir Nils shows us the way forward. The King is dead. Long live the King. Now give him some fish.


One comment

  1. Hereward the Wake · July 30, 2010

    I never thought of Sarah Ferguson as Fredo Corleone before…


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