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Yesterday’s stories about Prince Charles and his quest to protect Prince William‘s girlfriend, Kate Middleton, from the paparazzi re-opened a dialogue about the usefulness of the monarchy itself. Why are the royals so special? many are asking. This sentiment is summed up in Peter Wilby‘s post over at the the Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog. Wilby is the former editor of The Independent and The New Statesmen, and he doesn’t beat around the bush in laying the smackdown on the royals:
Members of the royal family, whatever Prince Charles may think, have no moral rights to privacy. The monarchy is a public institution, which now has no significant function other than to satisfy public curiosity. The Queen and her family are not chosen for special skills, talents or achievements; they occupy their positions solely through birth or marriage.
And he deftly rubbishes any talk of them trying to avoid another tragedy like Princess Diana‘s:
If they fear she will end up like Diana, being chased to her death through the streets of Paris, they should tell her that the public will always want to know where she is going and who she is with, and there is no earthly reason why they shouldn’t.
Yes, people do forget that hard truth – if Diana had just stayed put in her limo and let the poor, pathetic paps snap her photo, she’d likely be alive today. The woman wasn’t gunned down or anything. In other words, Kate, you’re dating a rich, handsome, world-famous prince. Suck it up and smile for the camera! The comments section of Wilby’s post is filled with cheers and spot ons, the British equivalent of You go, girl! The royal family had to have known that any declaration that they are somehow more worthy of safety, and, therefore, better than your everyday folk, would result in a backlash. Even people who become famous from having, you know, actual talent have to deal with the paps. It’s a small price to pay for all those free gift baskets, the public adulation, and the endless VIP treatment.
There’s no indication that Prince Charles’ request for photographer restraint is being honored. Big Pictures, the agency shown on BBC AMERICA’s Paparazzi, was amongst the mob that confronted Ms. Middleton throughout her 25th birthday. The Times, one of the papers included in the “ban” on pap shots of Middleton, quotes the photographers:
“A picture of Kate pointing at a camera and clearly saying â??sod off’ is clearly worth more on world magazine markets than one of her walking sedately down a street,” Harris said.
Alan Williams, chief executive of Big Picture, one of the world’s leading agencies for selling paparazzi pictures, denied intrusion. “We took Kate’s picture yesterday because it’s a news picture,” he said.
“She’s in the news. If she wasn’t, she wouldn’t be in the least bit interesting.”
Which all means…as long as there’s a profit motive in the media – the same media that supports and nourishes the royals as public figures – the paparazzi ain’t going anywhere. The monarchy will fall long before capitalism does, sweetums.
Meanwhile, who’s gonna protect the royal family from pedophile teachers?
Also: Prince William did, in fact, join Kate Middleton on her birthday.
In other news:
- BBC seeks out the experts to advise Morrissey if he decides to do the Eurovision Song Contest.
- Could Gary Glitter receive an early release – on good behavior – from that Vietnamese prison?(The Sun)
Dear British citizen, today you and your loved ones are most likely to have horrifying and painful deaths. Have a nice day!: MI5 will send out emails alerting people to imminent terror attacks.(Telegraph)
- Real Madrid will not renew David Beckham‘s contract, suggesting a move to Los Angeles. The Guardian says, “A move to the US is more likely now Major League Soccer has implemented the new ‘Designated Player Rule’ which allows clubs to sign players whose salary will fall outside the team salary budget.”
- Newsflash: Victoria Newton is mean. She posts a photo of Kate Moss, Pete Doherty, and a reptile and says, “A SCARY, slippery creature slithers up to KATE MOSS – and so does a snake.” (The Sun)
- Kelly Osbourne‘s single and available again…don’t hurt yourselves beating down her door, fellas.(Mirror)
- LOL…great headline: “I want to be Kelly Os-porn.”
- Donny Tourette says he’d only return to Celebrity Big Brother if Jade Goody and her family leave.(Mirror)
- Telegraph‘s Sarah Crompton says the housemates are just jealous of Jade. “She is famous for being famous and her fame has lingered; how has theirs, built on some form of achievement, vanished so fast?”
- The Sun has “unearthed” a Jade Goody liposuction scandal.
- Jade’s boyfriend, Jack Tweedy, and Shilpa Shetty are up for eviction. Also: is there a romance brewing between Shilpa and Faceman?(Hello!)
- Yesterday’s Macworld conference suggests an end to the feud between Apple and The Beatles.(Guardian)
- Ricky Gervais‘ stand-up show gets four out of five stars from The Times.
- The cost of living in the UK is skyrocketing, accelerating at nearly twice the rate of the U.S.(Daily Mail)
- Lenny Henry has a big ol’ piece in the Telegraph in which he opens up about the death of his mother and his marriage to Dawn French.
- When Archibald Leach became Cary Grant.(Daily Mail)
- Cheryl Cole of Girls Aloud speaks out about the gay rumors that have followed her husband, footballer Ashley Cole. “At first I laughed my head off because the suggestion was so ridiculous. But Ashley wasn’t laughing.”(Pink News)
- The Smiths’ “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” mashed up with The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”? I’ll believe it when I hear it.(NME)
- Angelina Jolie says the article in a French magazine in which she’s quoted as criticizing Madonna‘s adoption “included many falsehoods” and “omitted many positive things.”(Female First)
- The View, No. 3 on my 16 British Songs That Deserved To Be U.S. Hits list, elievebay eirthay ownay ypehay.(NME)
- An Arctic Monkeys clothing line? Couldn’t we just shop in the children’s department or shrink our T-shirts in the laundry and get roughly the same effect?(NME)
See more posts by Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.