‘Hello, you’ll be fans of Chuck and Di then?’ said some strange Canadians.
We shared a room together in a Sydney youth hostel.
The Canadians, not Chuck, Di and I.
Next up, they cleared off around Aus and the next time I saw them, on their return, they were with some crazy Welsh guy who said virtually the same thing. (I married the crazy Welsh guy).
What was it with people that they thought I was a royalist?
This is the woman who cleared off to France when the boring Chuck and Di wedding happened, and, managed to avoid all silver jubilee parties. Maybe that was another French trip? Who knows? I don’t remember. Just that it was of no interest to me.
And that has always been my view. Not for or against monarchy or royalty. Just, who cares?
When I was a kid I dressed up in a veil and with my flowered tiara so I looked like the queen on her wedding day. Well, that’s what I thought. We had lots of lovely old magazines that had recorded it at the time, not that many years previously – ten or fifteen years? Like everything in life, they will have been thrown out in one of my mother’s purges, or maybe even mine.
My mother’s side of the family was very royalist. Endless watchings of boring old Trooping of the Colour, Remembrance Day, and tears because it was all so emotive. No wonder I wanted nothing to do with it.
And yet, with age, comes perspective. QEII may have made some mistakes (invariably due to crass advisors), but even I can’t disrespect her. What a vile job to start with.
She came to the throne at age 25 when her father died. The King is Dead! Long Live the Queen! etc etc. She was in Africa about to go on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. It didn’t happen as she had to go home. As you do, when you have just become queen.
At the time of her accession, (6 Feb 1952), she became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon.
Currently, she is Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
And presumably the British Overseas Territories too of course, of which Gib is one.
So why are people still remotely interested or supportive of the monarchy?
For my generation (late 50s) there is partly a WW2 thing. They were rich and privileged and they never left the country. The Queen Mother refused to send the two princesses to Canada without her, and as her husband – King George VI – had no intention of leaving the UK, that was the whole family staying put.
During the war, Princess Elizabeth joined the Womens’ Auxiliary Territorial Service and trained as a driver and mechanic. There is a great vid on youtube of her sorting out a Land Rover at Balmoral. Love it, but can’t find it.
So here is a newer one. Hey, that Land Rover looks like mine. So does that Barbour. Oh, I don’t have the scarf (give me a couple of years).
What else? Well, she is the most widely travelled head of state in history. The last time she came to Gib was in 1954 before the Franco frontier fiasco.
Quick political point: why on earth is Spain objecting to a visit by the boring old Count and Countess of Wessex to a British Overseas Territory? Yes, Spain, Gib is still British. Personally I would like to see the queen visit, but hey, maybe a bit old these days.
The children. Oh dear. I think she should have followed her predecessor’s example and remained a virgin, or at least not had kids.
Where to start? Randy Andy? His tedious relationship with Sarah all over the media? Yawn. Fair enough that he served for his country in the Falklands War. He’s not exactly done much since has he? Or has he?
How about this one?
Alleged comments on corruption and Kazakhstan
As the United Kingdom’s Special Trade Representative, The Duke of York travelled the world to promote British businesses. It was revealed in the United States diplomatic cables leak that the Duke had been reported on by Tatiana Gfoeller, the United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, discussing bribery in Kyrgystan and the investigation into the Al-Yamamah arms deal.
The Duke, she explained, “was referencing an investigation, subsequently closed, into alleged kickbacks a senior Saudi royal had received in exchange for the multi-year, lucrative BAE Systems contract to provide equipment and training to Saudi security forces.”
The dispatch continued: “His mother’s subjects seated around the table roared their approval. He then went on to ‘these (expletive) journalists, especially from the National Guardian [sic], who poke their noses everywhere’ and (presumably) make it harder for British businessmen to do business. The crowd practically clapped!”
Earlier in 2010 it was revealed that the Kazakhstan President’s billionaire son-in-law Timur Kulibayev paid the Duke of York’s representatives £15m – £3m over the asking price – via offshore companies, for the Duke’s Surrey mansion, Sunninghill Park. Kulibayev frequently appears in US dispatches as one of the men who has accumulated millions in gas-rich Kazakhstan.
In May 2012, it was reported that Swiss and Italian police investigating “a network of personal and business relationships” allegedly used for “international corruption” were looking at the activities of Enviro Pacific Investments which charges “multi-million pound fees” to energy companies wishing to deal with Kazakhstan.The trust is believed to have paid £6m towards the purchase of Sunninghill which now appears derelict. In response a Palace spokesman said “This was a private sale between two trusts. There was never any impropriety on the part of The Duke of York”.
Yeah, great trade representative Andy.
The Duke of York receives a £249,000 annuity from the Queen.The Sunday Times reported in July 2008, that for “the Duke of York’s public role,… he last year received £436,000 to cover his expenses.”
More recently, on 8 March 2011, The Daily Telegraph reported:
Last year the prince spent £620,000 as a trade envoy, including £154,000 on hotels, food and hospitality and £465,000 on travel.
Mmm, nice trade there.
Edward? Nowt to say apart from boring:
The Earl of Wessex, along with his wife, carries out a full schedule of royal duties on behalf of the Queen, receiving Civil List monies from the Queen of £141,000 per annum for their work in the United Kingdom, and various amounts from the governments of the other realms for his work there.
That’s not a lot. I know people earning far more for doing less.
The Princess Royal. Anne. I have a sneaking respect for her. She has always been known as carrying out the most royal duties of the whole family so she earns her dosh.
Anne receives an annual allowance of £228,000, most of which is spent on staff who support her public engagements and correspondence.
I remember being impressed watching her on the telly back in the UK when she was being filmed in Africa, wearing flat shoes, shorts, no (visible) make-up, and being totally practical.
I saw her years later when she opened a hospital in Cumbria. She was tiny, delicate and beautiful. The veritable fairy tale princess.
She did drive a bit fast though. Naff off??
How about Charles? Picks an alleged virgin for the propagation of the royal line and shags someone else’s wife at the same time? I don’t mind him talking to plants but I think his morals are a bit shaky.
With which I will end. Because Ma’am, you are right not to abdicate.