Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

William and Kate Polish a Tarnished Crown

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

William and Kate Polish a Tarnished Crown

Article excerpt

Monarchs may be an endangered species worldwide, but Britain's royals are - for now - here to stay. And William and Kate have won British hearts.

Years ago, Britain's King George VI - now immortalized in an award-winning movie for mastering his nervous stammer - was on a royal visit to South Africa with his family. The royal railway carriage, with its widescreen windows for better viewing, was parked for the night.

By accident, the accompanying railway car carrying the press drew alongside it. To the amazement and delight of reporters, they beheld the king reenacting for his wife and daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, the Zulu war dance he had witnessed earlier in the day.

It was a rare and delicious lapse of regal decorum, the images of which served only to enhance the popularity of the king with his public. He had already endeared himself to the British people by steadfastly refusing to leave Buckingham Palace during World War II, remaining in London and sharing the dangers of the German bombing.

Princess Elizabeth succeeded her father as queen upon his death and remains a poised and dignified monarch, as close to British hearts as was her father.

The behavior of some of the new generation of British royals has clearly caused the queen and British public some angst. As John Burns put it in The New York Times, there have been serial divorces, sundry indiscretions (including the publication of the "Camilla- gate" phone call of Prince Charles to his then-lover), and revelations of dubious financial deals involving Charles's younger brother Andrew.

Uplifting color

Whether the British and American and other foreign audiences were as entranced as the breathless TV anchors with every tassel, sequin, and button in the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton seems questionable to me. But it nevertheless brought uplifting color and spectacular pageantry to the fore at a time when the world is beset by problems and strife.

It is hard not to cheer when the bands play; when the regiment of guards strides down the Mall in their scarlet tunics and bearskin helmets; when the jingling household cavalry, their silver breastplates glinting in the sun, ride escort to the magnificent carriages en route to Buckingham Palace. …

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