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Thanks for the day off

I loved the hats.

And the grumpy-looking little bridesmaid on the balcony at the exact moment of one of The Kisses (surely a future Violet Elizabeth Bott).

And the foxy chief bridesmaid.

And hearing again the words of the Anglican wedding service (even though it prompted, again, wistful laments from my wife about our own godless civil ceremony).

But mostly the hats.

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23 comments to Thanks for the day off

  • OMG, that picture is priceless!

  • Fraser Orr

    Really? Kings and Queens? Princes and Princesses? Mum gives out a Duchy, and an Earldom or two. Are we still doing that? I thought this was the 21st century.

    Can we really in the modern world still say things like “Kate is a commoner” without hearing derisive laughter?

    Of course I wish the happy couple best wishes for their future. But really, can you spell anachronism?

  • But really, can you spell anachronism?

    Modern nation states themselves are anachronistic. Frankly I would be delighted to pay ten times as much for the Royals if I could pay 1/10th as much tax for all the other oh so modern things the state does.

  • lucklucky

    Fraser Orr what’s your definition of anachronism?
    If all newpapers in world put it in front page is it still anachronism?

  • Fraser Orr

    I wasn’t complaining about the taxes or the money, I don’t pay British taxes so I don’t care one way or the other. No my point is that it is absolutely nuts that in a modern world we still have people who, by virtue of their family tree, are considered our “betters”.

    So perhaps it is popular, but it just seems so out of the mainstream of the history of civilization.

    Perhaps you might focus on the whole “Kate is a commoner” thing. Really? Can you say that without laughing in a modern egalitarian society?

  • No my point is that it is absolutely nuts that in a modern world we still have people who, by virtue of their family tree, are considered our “betters”.

    But elected ones with real power over others are somehow, er, better ‘betters’? The entire notion of regulatory welfare states is predicated on your ‘betters’ controlling how you live your life. If you think you do not have ‘betters’ then I guess you do not read the Guardian or New York Times much.

    Can you say that without laughing in a modern egalitarian society?

    Egalitarian society? Society? Really? Where would that be? I am not even sure I would know what such a thing would even look like.

  • Fraser,

    Although I am sure I have used the word in the same way you do myself, when one thinks about it “anachronism” is almost meaningless. If it happens in the present time, it belongs to the present time. The idea of objecting to an anachronism because it “goes against the direction of history” assumes there is a direction of history.

    I suppose what you were saying about the idea of “commoners” being an anachronism was mostly just a shorthand for the idea of commoners being unfair or irrational – but I think you would be better off not wrapping that in the irrelevant issue of whether it matches the decor of the rest of the century.

    As for the idea of commoners being unfair and/or irrational, so it is, and if the fact that I am a commoner actually had any practical bad effect on my life I would protest about it. But that hasn’t been true for a century or two now. My common blood doesn’t even stop me marrying a prince*, as Ms Middleton has demonstrated.

    *Can’t think what else has kept the princes away, though. I only asked them to fight a little dragon.

  • Following on from Perry’s latest comment, which crossed mine, I rather like the reminder that such ceremonies provide that other times and other places had very different values from our own. No one needs to assert nowadays that being something called a “king” or a “noble” does not give one human being the right to boss another around. We know. But someone does need to assert that being something called a “minister” or “prime minister” or “civil servant” also does not give one human being the right to boss another around.

  • M. Thompson

    While not one to care much either way, the idea of having the ‘dignified’ (handing out awards, meeting with important foreigners, and such) being out of the hands of politicians makes a bit of sense.

  • Laird

    No my point is it is absolutely nuts that in a modern world we still have people who, by virtue of their family tree, are considered our “betters”.

    The denizens of the UK can speak for themselves, but I certainly don’t get the sense that anyone considers the Royals their “betters” any more. I certainly wouldn’t, any more than I consider our elected officials my “betters.” Nor, for that matter, are they our “leaders”, either, much as they like to pretend to the contrary: they are our rulers, and we should be clear about that. Only by recognizing them for what they are can we begin to move in the direction of changing that sorry state of affairs.

  • No, THIS picture is priceless…

  • Richard Thomas

    Natalie, I think that the point is that a lot of it was based on ideas of blood and so on that science has long since put to rest. Quite simply, the “royals” are pretty much the same as the rest of us, receiving power (such as it is) only by convention and not from any objective measure.

    Then there’s also the religious aspect of the divine right of kings. Now, there’s plenty of religion still around so that’s not so anachronistic but let’s hope the scientific principle is here to stay for a good long while at least.

    So, while I admit that ideas of democracy seem to have floundered and I’m not unsympathetic to the idea of leadership being a vocation without requiring a popularity contest, I’m not particularly fond of the idea of hereditary positions. The problem may not be (isn’t) that democracy is the wrong answer but that we’re not asking the correct question.

  • pete

    What day off?

    Nobody paid for me to have a day off.

    How kind of the government to give public employees a day off while still requiring everyone else to pay their wages for that day!

    It’s easy to be generous with other peoples money.

  • Fraser Orr

    Natalie,
    First of all let me say that I hope your prince turn up soon (though with Ms. Davy having dibs on Harry, you might have a bit of a wait.)

    Nonetheless, anachronism seems to me exactly the right word. But lets not fuss with the dictionary just yet. You might not think yourself worse off as a commoner, but I beg to disagree. The very idea of the royalty and the aristocracy sets up the idea of some people being better than you, and is the very means by which the politicians and elitists that Perry bewailed get to behave as your betters.

    The direction of history is certainly away from this, black rod still has the door slammed in his face, but it is all a bit of a nod, nod wink, wink isn’t it. Because now our betters are on both sides of the door.

    Regardless of the monarchy, who, despite their constitutional position are certainly not without influence, next door to the supposed commoners in Westminster are a bunch of unelected betters who actually do have pretty significant power in the polity of Great Britain.

    However, I am well out of it over here in the US. Here our betters are self anointed, based on a putative meritocracy rather than who your grand pappy married or murdered. But it is still “bollocks” if I might revert to my native vernacular.

  • How kind of the government to give public employees a day off while still requiring everyone else to pay their wages for that day!

    Ideally I would love to fire most of them but if given a choice between paying them to do something and paying them to do nothing, I would much prefer to pay them for doing nothing, ideally for 365 days a year, as they might actually give civil society a chance to reassert itself and businesses to prosper unhindered by grotesque regulations.

  • Kim du Toit

    One of my English friends made the comment that while the hereditary monarchy has turned out the occasional stinker / bad egg, it’s also produced more than a few really good rulers — in fact, probably in no worse proportion than has the “elected”.

    In other words, you’re about as likely to get a total dick from an elected ruler as an inherited one.

    I’m not sure he’s incorrect… at least, in the last one hundred years, his observation is, if anything, rather generous towards the elected ones. Other than Sir Winston Churchill and possibly Sir Alec Douglas-Home, I think the Royals measure up pretty well against the pols.

  • Fraser Orr

    Kim, you might be right, because modern monarchies are particularly good at doing the best thing political “leaders” can do, which is to say nothing at all. I suppose if all the humiliating poncing around in crowns, and coaches, keeps them from interfering in our lives, then perhaps monarchy isn’t so bad after all.

    (On which point I am with Perry. Pay em to stay home, it’d be a bargain.)

  • Mike Lorrey

    Laissez faire government has been most effective and successful under benevolent monarchs. Goodness knows every democratic government has royally pooched things up with incessant regulation.

    I understand that Pippa Middleton’s tush has its own Facebook fan page, I can see why.

    If anything, Diana and Kate have brought a lot better looking genes to the royal family. Most of the royals look like they hit every branch while falling out of the ugly tree.

  • Jacob

    Monarchs used to behead a minister or two every now and then. They were quite useful in those days (the monarchs).

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Nonetheless, anachronism seems to me exactly the right word. But lets not fuss with the dictionary just yet. You might not think yourself worse off as a commoner, but I beg to disagree. The very idea of the royalty and the aristocracy sets up the idea of some people being better than you, and is the very means by which the politicians and elitists that Perry bewailed get to behave as your betters.

    Fraser, you make some good points but also some that I just think are off-base. For instance, just because something – like a constitutional monarchy – is not “modern” hardly means it is bad per se. Sure, the original concept behind Kings and Queens seems very old fashioned and as a libertarian believing in notions of natural rights and equality before the rule of law, (yep, I am one of those fogeys!), the idea does seem mistaken. But I take the view that if we are going to have a head of state – assuming we have states at all – then the idea of the head being chosen via the lottery of birth, with a bit of flummery and fun thrown in, is not something I lose a lot of sleep about. And a constitutional monarchy is so hedged with checks and balances these days that its symbolism is surely not what it was.

    If republicans could convince me that a republic would bring a greater chance of smaller government, real liberty, etc, then I’d support the idea like a shot. But as even your comments imply, none of us should be holding our breath.

    I did rather like the look of Kate’s sister, by the way.

  • Peter MacFarlane

    Fraser, surely you realise that if we didn’t have a hereditary head of state, we’d probably have some dodgy ex-flatmate of Tony Blair’s as “elected” president?

    Long live Her Majesty, say I, and all who succeed her.