Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Article excerpt

The astonishing level of enthusiasm over the birth of the new prince goes far beyond the pleasure that people naturally feel for an attractive young couple who have had a healthy child. If there is any truth at all to these estimates in the North American media that trinkets and other bric-a-brac, and even increased numbers of tourists, will produce hundreds of millions of pounds for the British economy, the answer lies not just in normal goodwill and the effusions of the most strenuous monarchists. If my memory is accurate, the last time there was so much public interest in a royal event, albeit of the exactly opposite nature, was at the death of the newborn prince's paternal grandmother, Diana.

How implausible, the widespread predictions of the demise of the monarchy around that time seem now.

Diana was running a parallel monarchy and the combination of her talent at manipulating the media and the mischievous pleasure of much of the press at disconcerting the royal family, and the gaffes some royals made, incited the belief that the institution was no longer on a firm foundation. Since those unhappy days nearly 16 years ago, there have been no serious problems. The Queen, mother of the nation at last, has determinedly passed her 50th and 60th anniversaries and is closing in like a heat-seeking missile on Queen Victoria's record reign of 63 years and seven months, which comes up in September 2015. She has not failed, disappointed, or even slightly embarrassed the country once in all her reign. It is a record of astonishing diligence and virtuosity.

Ceremonious presidents, as in Germany and Italy, are stand-ins for deposed monarchies and cannot possess the legitimacy or the popular interest of a monarch and royal family:

it would be impossible to pay anyone to discharge such a task as dutifully as the Queen and her family do. The French and American republics are more interesting and their presidents more glamorous because the chief of state is the head of government, but replicating that would require a revolution against the entire parliamentary system and there have been no audible agitations for that.

The Queen is not the part of the political system that has failed. She did not sever the connection with Britain's real, and as it has turned out, most successful allies, the old Commonwealth of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, to plunge headlong into a Eurofable. …

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