Saturday, February 12, 2011
One thing I've never quite understood is the fascination with the British royals. I guess they are supposed to represent the most elite group of human beings on earth; I guess you don't get any fancier than the Queen of England, or Duke of York.
It's just that the human beings who happen to have those titles seem so.....common.
King Arthur, if we are to believe the legends, was anything but common. But historians debate his existence; if he lived, it would have been around 500 AD.
The descendants of his knights in shining armor now work on Fleet Street. And the round tables they sit around are the ones in their conference rooms, where the only thing they joust about is which royal tidbit to put on the front page. (Hardly a noble undertaking.)
There have been interesting royals to follow in the past. If Henry VIII were on the throne now, though, he might find it a bit harder to rid himself of his exes -- which would make him far less colorful. And Richard III might find that fingerprints and DNA testing and surveillance cameras would cramp his style. But they'd still probably make for more entertaining copy than the current crop.
If Scotland attempted independence again, and it were up to Queen Elizabeth to crush the rebellion, then things might get interesting again. But, alas, power -- and charisma -- have long since passed the monarchy by.
I've never once read about a current royal and thought, wow, what a tough guy! Or, what a wit! (I have, however, thought, what a twit -- which is not a combination of the other two.)
I'd love to see a list of their IQ's published. Queen Elizabeth, 106. Prince Charles, 104. Prince Andrew, 101. Princess Di, 94.
Okay, I just made those scores up. But I don't think they're too far off -- and they're not exactly, uh, regal.
As for the younger generation, Princess Di's sons? Perfect examples of why you don't subscribe to frat house newsletters. And now that Prince William is settling down, all those pictures of him and his fiance are like a summer vacation slide show of your blandest acquaintances. (Perhaps when he acquires his first mistress he will get a tad more interesting.)
Princess Di herself was one of the most overrated "beauties" ever. That's probably what a title -- and the world's best makeup artists and couturiers -- do for you: they turn you from a 6.5 into a 9. For a picture of the 6.5 (and that's being generous), scroll to the top of this post. Put that face behind the cash register at your local Stop & Shop and you wouldn't look twice. But dress it up in $4000 worth of clothes, crown it with a tiara, slaver it with makeup, sit it on a throne, and -- oh, she's so beautiful!
I read enough fairy tales when I was young so as to believe that a princess was supposed to look like, say, Grace Kelly, not all those jug-eared, gap-toothed, overly inbred Yorks. (Though, now that I think of it, I've only not been disappointed in that expectation once.)
The whole family is a bit reminiscent of the Baby Boomer Kennedy's. Even if by chance one of them had inherited the right genes for an IQ of 150 -- which none of them did -- he would probably have ended up a substance-abusing wastrel like all his cousins. The Baby Boomer Kennedy's were so caught up in being Kennedy's that they didn't have time to be anything else.
The British royals are even more so. When you're always being observed yourself, you cannot really observe others. And when you're a royal, you can never observe others acting like themselves; you can only observe them fawning in your presence. Thus you can never really develop a sense of self, let alone a sense of humor. And as a result, you're not really fun to be around. Or to read about.
I prefer to follow people of more intellectual heft and accomplishment.
Like Lindsay Lohan.