The Royal Wedding

May 19, 2018 • 5:30 am

Now the U.S. media is going bonkers about today’s royal wedding: of an American woman to a man who, realistically, has no chance to ever be King. While I can understand the love of ceremony, I don’t understand the almost worshipful attitude of the media towards two “royals.”  And now I’ve turned on the television to watch the news, and the major networks are all doing live coverage of the wedding. “MEGHAN MARKLE LEAVES HOTEL IN 30 MINUTES”, goes the headline. Where is the news I want to hear but haven’t yet: about the school shooting? Instead, we hear that pantyhose and closed-toed shoes are required for women attending the wedding.  Have you been to a regular person’s wedding with that kind of dictate?

In the U.S., we don’t see this kind of pomp when, say, a President’s son marries a woman. We do not bend our knees or curtsey to heads of state. That’s the proper state of affairs in a democracy. There’s no moral justification to bowing and scraping to people who, after all, aren’t known for their achievements or intelligence, or treating them as if they’re a special breed of people.

I’ve always said that there is no justification for existence of the British royalty, and this just reinforces that feeling. Isn’t one network covering this expensive spectacle enough? And who cares about what kind of tiara Meghan Markle is wearing (the latest headline on the screen)? Isn’t it sad that women have to give up all their aspirations at the moment of such weddings and become Royal Puppets and Breeding Stock?

Last night the local news interviewed a student at Northwestern University in Chicago, where Markle went to school, and the student was literally squealing with glee that she went to the same school as a future Princess!\

My CNN “news alert” (click on the screenshot if you must):

Every wedding is “unlike any the British royal family has seen before”. What do they mean by that: that there’s an American involved?

And OMG, Oprah is there. As PuffHo says, “she’s American Royalty”:

I think I need coffee.

198 thoughts on “The Royal Wedding

    1. I’m watching it right now. They just had a Black minister testifying. It was hilarious. All the Brits were staring at him, clearly thinking “What IS this?” I’ll bet it’s the first time they had that kind of preaching in that church. I kept waiting for the congregation to let out an “Amen, brother!”.

      1. Well, that might have been a treat. I suppose it will appear on YouTube. I watched long enough to see Markle appear and the ceremony to begin, but when they began with all the Jesus stuff, I took off.

        1. What? You missed the inane babbling by the panel of toadies later on, conflating faith and faith? Not to mention Oprah’s hat and London hemlines?

        2. You see that the status of royals actually comes packaged with a lot of hard work! I wouldn’t wish to have been born in such a family, and I do not understand women like Markle who marry into it.

            1. A woman lucky to be born a commoner and deciding to step into the royal shopwindow and spend the rest of her life there (and to doom to such a life any children she may have).

              1. Yes. And it should be noted that many young women probably still regard marrying a prince as an ultimate goal in life. As Bill Maher says, “I can’t prove it but I know it’s true.” Of course, they are free to choose their goals.

      2. It was probably a bit zippier than the audience were used to from their local vicar.

        But I thought he toned it down a bit from the usual evangelical USAnian hellfire. After all, the head of the Church of England was in the audience.


  1. I vehemently chide the idea of a hereditary monarchy; the very suggestion that one is superior to me by a mere accident of birth. It is nothing short of medieval and I cannot fathom how it exists and is, to some degree, accepted and even embraced in 2018; it is mystifying to me. Especially when you see people queuing at food banks and sleeping rough. It is abominable.

    1. I think it was the author Fay Weldon who said she saw the main reason for a monarchy when she observed someone bowing to the Grantham witch .

      Got no great love for the royal family by the way.

    2. I agree – BUT – with what do you replace it? There are various varieties of president across different political systems, & I do not want more power in the hands of a prime minister than there already is, nor do I want some American system, which seems blooming awful to me. Likewise the French style.

      An elected president would be even more socially divisive. An appointed one depending on the person, if they were non-political, might be OK… eg Presdient Attenborough (cue angelic choir), but how many people are there that a majority can agree to like?

      Status quo seems preferable to some crappy politician. Just get rid of the privilege & cut it down to one individual. Make the rest get proper jobs & take away their wealth & the property they stole from us.

      Bloody Normans – I hate Normans!

      1. 🙂

        I hate Normans too, I still haven’t forgiven them for 1066.

        But of course our current monarchy aren’t Norman, they’re German. And ‘we’ (that is, our Parliament) invited them in in 1701 rather than have a Catholic monarch (which I would say was a damn good thing).

        But of course you knew that… 😉


        1. Wasn’t that in 1688 when William of Orange was offered the throne when jimmy2 was given his marching orders by the nobs ?

      2. What to replace it with? A bloody cardboard cutout of them would do just as well. I know, think of all the jobs lost in the ridiculous tat manufacturing sector, all those shitty teacup and thimble and commemorative spoon makers would lose their livelihoods! This type of occasional stupidity keeps a roof over some peoples ‘heads and keeps the royal nutters happy for a few days while they queue up for the next bout of foolishness, like another royal baby.

        If the UK wishes to worship someone who’s paid too much to do very little, I suggest actors and musicians. At least with The Rolling Stones and the Beatles mania we got some good music for our troubles.

        1. What should we replace religion with given all the people who make rosaries, crucifixes, Bibles, and other geegaws. Should we keep religion around because it provides employment for people?

          1. Not to mention the people paid to pick up all the canes and crutches left behind at Lourdes.

    3. Chrissake, I’m iffy on inherited wealth. Power and privilege passed along a bloodline? Gimme a freakin’ break.

  2. Shhhh. My wife’s watching it right now. I’m checking in occasionally to watch her watch it. I’m about to make coffee.

      1. I just did one of my check-ins on the half-hour and heard the American bishop (who has a very nice manner) quote Teilhard de Chardin. Oh boy.

  3. It’s the cost that staggers me: £32 million ($AU58 million). How many people could be fed and housed with that money? It’s unconscionable and obscene.

    1. That’s the sort of BS weasel argument you can poke at any big public event you don’t like.
      Try these (from a quick Google) –

      Hmmm… cost of 2012 London Olympics US$4400 million (that’s just the taxpayer contribution)

      Cost of 2016 US Presidential election US$2386 million

      Cost of 2014 FIFA (soccer) World Cup in Brazil: $11.6 billion (that includes infrastructure improvements)

      Cost of 2015 Oscars (including related events) US$42 million

      Cost of 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand
      ~ $700 million NZ (~400 million US)
      And I loathe and detest rugby.


      1. A pal of Melania Trump’s, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who had no prior experience in event planning, got paid a cool $26 mil by the Trump inauguration committee. We’re gonna hear more about what happened to that dough before all is said and done.

      2. A single Rolls-Royce turbofan jet engine, the Trent 900 is priced at ‎US$ 46 million incl. support. That is almost the cost of this marriage.

        1. Yeah, well, you can get 97,000 foot-pounds of thrust out of a Rolls-Royce turbofan engine. Only thing you’re likely to get out of a royal marriage is more useless Royals. 🙂

          1. It seems the royals make almost £2B per year in UK tourism so perhaps it is best just to think of it as a popular museum that just doesn’t appeal to you (or me).

          2. Well, this was entertainment for probably millions of people. And the event allowed to tighten the link for GB to reinforce its link to the Commonwealth, which consists of largely not Caucasian populations, after the upcoming disaster of Brexit.

          3. Do you complain about the cost of soap operas on the telly that you don’t watch?

            The \royal family is entertainment and millions of people enjoy it. why are they not allowed to have their fun?

            1. Exactly. A lot of whinging from the Americans here, about something that has nothing to do with them, does no harm, and that they’re not forced to partake it. The rest of the world has to hear about their Kardashians and their worship of Hollywood celebs, and all the presidential bullsh*t and flag-waving and $$$ that goes along with that farce, so they’re really no different. And don’t even get me started on their flawed democracy! At least the Royal family has no actual political power and hasn’t done for centuries, and the parliamentary system usually means the country is run by people with actual relevant qualifications and experience!

              1. It never ceases to depress me how readily, even among the above average commentariat here at WEIT, that topics like this devolve into snarky comparison contests about how “my side” isn’t as shitty as your’s.

                Nearly all of the whinging in the comments to this point have been by non-USAians. And it wouldn’t surprise me at all if a higher percentage of USAians are neutral to favorable about your Monarchy than your fellow country-people.

              2. I have to say that the idea that the monarchy does not harm is laughable to me as a Canadian. It helps divide English and French. The French have thrown rocks at the monarchy, 45% of Canadians outside Quebec want to get rid of the monarchy after the QEII dies. In Quebec that is 71%. I’ve said it before – I’d rather think about what my fellow Canadians want than hold on to a tradition that offends them.

              3. Yeah, I thought about addressing that claim as well. But there is so much that could be said about it I didn’t know where to start. Or stop.

      3. “Hmmm… cost of 2012 London Olympics US$4400 million (that’s just the taxpayer contribution)”

        I wonder how much presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid to travel to and stand on British soil to grace Britons with his pearls of Olympic Games management wisdom regarding the state of British preparedness for the Olympics. (Also how much the U.S. taxpayer spent for Obama to travel to and stand on British soil and lecture Britons regarding the prospect of leaving the EU. For the record, I’m an Obama fan.)

        1. That was kinda my point. Any public event costs an apparently absurd amount of money, and it’s equally possible to point at any one of them and say “this could have housed xxx people”.


    2. I have no interest whatsoever in the Royal wedding. However, from the few glimpses I did catch on the telly, it seems lots of people are crazy for it. I would no more wish to piss on their enjoyment than I would want them to piss on my enjoyment of cars driving round in circles seeing which one can do the most in the shortest time, or men pointlessly kicking a ball around a field, or people with electric guitars trying to ruin my hearing in a big field of mud.

      I’m sure there are entertainment activities you like to watch that other people think are a waste of money.

        1. Sorry, I clicked on your link before seeing you mentioned a satirical website… Well, Saturday evening….

    1. Do William and Harry “put on airs” (to employ an idiom my Southern Appalachian ancestors and their English/Irish/Scottish forebears have employed over the generations)?

      I don’t think that they are clueless about the circumstances into which they were born and over which they had no control. I’m inclined to think that they would gratefully accept any specific, positive, constructive advice on how to run their lives (as if they don’t already know all that they could possibly know about that). It’s like Lyndon Johnson said about being President of the United States: “It’s like being a mule out in a hailstorm; you just have to stand there and take it.”

      In the Friday hard copy 5/17/18 NY Times op-ed pages, Helen Castor pops her bill about the royals, saying that Harry and William “can seem dull (knowing that no one cares about how dull she may be).” Well, I guess it’s their job to entertain her and millions of others. A pox on that! Apparently they need to give her and others a quitclaim deed to their lives so that she can tell them how to run them. How fortunate for her to have the royals to write about and make money off of. What is it with the Times running hole-in-the-air piffle like this? It long ago became a clichéd phrase, but, these people need to “get a life.”

  4. Be kind to the Brits. It’s pretty much all that’s left. Empire gone, industry gone, welfare state going, National Health Service collapsing, Europe about to go – let them keep their pomp and circumstance! Alternatively, there is a pub in Liverpool holding a “F*** the Royals” day to raise money for food banks, on which an increasing proportion of the British population (working and nonworking) now depends.

    By the way, for an interesting take on what possibly awaits the new princess, there is a brilliant essay by Hilary Mantel, long but well worth the read:

      1. As a canuck myself is it okay to refer to you as a “limey”? Or do you prefer the australian “Pom”?

    1. I did see a UK poll the other day which claimed that 60+% of the UK population were indifferent at best to this wedding.

      As for what to do about a hereditary monarchy, the polish nobility used to elect a king from among themselves. Not democratic but it did avoid royal families getting too large as in the UK. As others have mentioned looking at France and the USA, among other nations, does not give one confidence in the idea of a strong presidency. OTOH looking at Germany does not give one confidence in the idea of a weak presidency. Difficult problem!

    2. You still have Doctor Who and your current PM looks and sounds like Harriet Jones #doesntshelooktired

    3. isn’t Mantel amazing – thank you for posting. Her prose is breathtaking. Have not read her books, my son admires them mightily. This is a fascinating, thought-provoking Mantel piece.

  5. People love this stuff because it gives them a distraction from the problems of their life and of the world.

    It’s the same reason why people watch soap operas or reality TV.

    The wedding will bring money to the British economy. I hope that the money will be spent well.

    There are worse ways for people to pass their time, I guess.

    1. I’m not sure how much of this crap is just manufactured. Here in Scotland,I know NOBODY who cares a toss about this. Street parties? There are virtually none in Scotland.

      Now that it’s noon, I’ll have an afternoon nap, then drink a couple of beers in the sunshine, then listen to the jazz on Radio 3 at 16:00.

      My TV won’t go on until tomorrow (or perhaps even Monday).


      1. There was a great article in the Independent two or three days ago, reporting that there are very few requests to local councils in the UK for permission to close roads for street parties. An anonymous council official was quoted as saying “Perhaps people just don’t give a sh*t.”

        1. Surely it’s the street party itself that is an obsolete form. The tight-knit street communities that gave rise to them are a thing of the past.

      2. Mistakenly turned TV on at 8 a.m. on Sunday.

        They’re still at it! Action replays, would you believe. So it got turned off within the minute.


  6. There are plenty of us Brits who are avoiding the r*y*l w*dd*ng today and are heartily sick of the obsequiousness and wall-to-wall coverage by the media, especially the BBC. I’m avoiding it just as assiduously as I avoided previous r*y*l w*dd*ings as far back as the one in 1981. I spent that week camping with friends in the Yorkshire Dales. Today, I’ll simply leave the television and radio switched off and enjoy the lovely sunshine.

  7. Ex-pat Brit here. I’m not in favour of hereditary rulers either, but I have to add two things:
    1. The monarchy makes money for the country. The Queen has a large income from her estates and other holdings – this is handed over to the government. The government in return gives her a smaller amount of money to run her household and perform her duties. Family members who perform public duties get a share. Finally, the Queen gives some of this stipend back in the form of income tax. By itself, the Royal family makes money for the state. A secondary, and larger consideration, is the amount of money brought into the country by tourists who wish to see Buck House, the changing of the guard etc. A definite thumb on the scales of the balance of trade.
    2. The beautiful fiction of the constitutional monarchy is that the monarch is still in charge. In truth, she isn’t, and she knows full well that it would be a disaster to refuse royal assent to a government bill. The fiction can continue as long as no one puts it to the test. You can read Bagehot’s The English Constitution for free via the Gutenberg Project and it goes into great detail on this. Having such a head of state works surprisingly well – a simple figurehead removed from political interests.

    So for someone opposed to hereditary rulers, I have to say for pragmatic reasons alone, I would keep the monarchy, as wrong as it seems in theory, it just works in practice.

      1. Hmmm, but the Governor General was using reserve powers that are part of our constitution without consulting with the Queen. It can be argued that it was instigated by two of our High Court judges, Chief Justice Sir Garfield Barwick and Sir Anthony Mason, both appointees of past Coalition Governments. Reserve powers were supposed to protect against corrupt or non-functional government. But allowing the defining opinion on this to reside with political appointees is the real problem, I think.

        Viceregal powers under the Australian Constitution say nothing about the constraints on the Monarch’s power in the UK.

        (I wonder if at this stage I need to point out that I am a republican? — For US readers, note the small r.:))

    1. ‘Wrong in theory, right in practice’. That sums it up for me too.

      Brenda [as Private Eye calls her] is also Head of the Church of England, so doubly out of touch with the majority of us Brits, who are either atheist, agnostic or ‘nones’.

      Until you consider the alternative. President Thatcher followed by President Blair? Makes the monarchy look good by comparison.

      My partner’s over at her daughter’s where, she assures me, they’ll be watching the Royal Wedding ‘ironically’. I’m out in the garden, making the best of the weather to do a bit of tidying up.

      1. For my take on this see comment 21 below, which was meant to be a reply to you until it went astray when my browser crashed.

        1. Royal’s income is a percentage of the income from The Crown Estates – all the land and property the monarch once had, long handed to the state. Part of a constitutional settlement I understand.

          1. Yes the crown estates income got traded in return for paying off all the debts and not having to pay the cost of government ongoing.

    2. Another expat Brit here (Ethiopia). My wife and an American friend are currently watching it all on BBC World. I can’t stand to watch, partly because of the idolatrous aspect, partly because of the simple cost, . I confess that I went to watch the dress revealed, simply out of curiosity about a piece of cloth that reportedly cost almost half a million dollars. Where I live, you can start an industry with less than that.

      Anyway despite the absurdity of it all, I tend to agree with my compatriot chrism on this. Republics around the world are not noticeably less corrupt or less egalitarian, or less costly, or even less dynastic, and on pragmatic grounds alone I would leave things as they are, unless you have a very good idea of a desirable alternative. Like Mike below, I am also sickened, but moral repugnance is not necessarily a good basis for political and constitutional decision-making.

    3. “The monarchy makes money for the country.”

      Hell, in that case, cut ’em off the public teat, and let ’em open up a souvenir stand, do some honest work for a change.

  8. The sooner we are a Republic the better, I cannot abide all the sychophantic coverage given to this Ruritanian nonsense. I neither bend the Knee nor tip the Cap to someone who is only there because of the bed in which they were born.Frankly,it sickens me.

    1. Which would you rather have ,the firm as the R F refer to themselves or the snatch snatcher ?

      1. Yeah. How long did that last before Oliver got delusions of being God and they invited a king back? 😉

        (About 10 years, IIRC)


        1. Christ, I thought “still fighting the Civil War” was unique to this side of the pond. 🙂

        2. Oliver didnt get delusions of being god.
          It fell apart apart he died.
          The problem was since it all happened pretty much by mistake no one had a clear plan of what to do. He tried several times to hand power over to a broader base but failed due to the level of incompetence.
          The restored line only managed another generation before it ran into problems again.

          1. The problem was since it all happened pretty much by mistake no one had a clear plan of what to do.

            Sorry, are we still talking about the Commonwealth or have we moved on to Brexit?

      2. My brother, an ardent republican, claimed to be a “nice republican” because he wouldn’t chop off their heads, but simply put them on Unemployment Benefit.


  9. I recall the Charles-Diana royal wedding. I was in junior high. I also recall the no less important wedding of Luke and Laura on General Hospital. We ‘merkins have our tv characters and celebrities to fawn over. Clooney and Oprah.

    I also recall the powerful stamp of imprimatur as Diana and Pavarotti appeared in the “Miss Sarajevo” video. She worked her power for good no?

    Is meritocracy much better than hereditary aristocracy given the accidental nature of fortune and and bequeathal of inheritance? Sure there are rags to riches stories, but Gates and Jobs had a leg up in the world. The US has its political, economic and celebrity dynasties.

    And once the spectacle of the royal wedding is over TMZ will give us more spectacle about our own highest echelon.

    1. I was wrong. Luke and Laura were more important to Merkins than Charles and Diana.

      “In 1981, more Americans watched Luke and Laura’s wedding on General Hospital than Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s televised nuptials. The daytime soap opera was a cultural phenomenon, and the headstrong Laura, played by Genie Francis, was the role model for millions of young women.”

      Was that a thing to be proud of or not.

    2. In answer to your question, would you rather have as a surgeon the son of your last surgeon, who may be bad, or someone who has a much better record of successful surgery.

      I am baffled by your statement. Regardless of where fortune comes from (I say the laws of physics), a meritocracy comes from demonstrable skill rather the inheritance of an aristocracy. I suspect when you’re looking for a dentist, a teacher, a mechanic, a doctor, or a pilot, you’ll take meritocracy over “hereditary aristocracy” any time.

      1. But Jerry, the point is that they don’t do anything. Of course you’re right about dentists or teachers or whatever. But the job of the royals is simply to be, not to do (which is why Charles has sometimes got into trouble for meddling in urban planning and architecture, or supporting homeopathy – imagine getting to the age of 70 and having never been allowed to do anything).

        1. Rule by mediocraty. Well, as you say, not really rule!

          I’m more worried by the power of a Zuckerberg or a business empire than a ‘royal’ figurehead… still, cut ’em off!

      2. I have known loads of doctors who are doctors because their parents were. Of course, unlike in the past, they had to train at medical school! 🙂 but they were influenced by what their parents did, & more likely therefore to be doctors. I think that happens a lot, but I take your point! The point of a king was that they represented the head of a kin group. There were different forms of king at different periods, & in comparatively small tribes they represented the senior branch of the kin group. Some cultures chose a king from the family, some had father/son succession.

        St. Dunstan created the modern coronation & it was heavily influenced by the biblical coronations by Solomon. That gave the royals the blessings of the christian god & divine right etc… but you know all this & I’m burbling!

    3. I ended up getting stitches in my finger on the day of the Charles and Diana royal wedding. I cut it on a sugar bowl and it was my ring finger. I still have the scare. I think it was a warning.

      1. I’m reminded of one of JFK’s news conferences, where a reporter asked why he had a bandage on his finger.

        Answer: “I was cutting bread.”

    4. Either Greta Christina or Ophelia Benson used the Luke and Laura saga as proof of Rape Culture ™

  10. I’m OK with it as a sort of zoo exhibit. They should have windows into all the royal residences where the hordes could all stand and watch the royals live their lives. The only bit I’d be interested in is watching them consummate the marriage.

    1. I wonder if there’s a good chance that the “chattering class” media will presume to ask them about the consummation.

  11. Lots of Brits are SICK and tired of this too. But though there are even petitions asking to roll back on the saturation coverage we don’t get a look in. The BBC is by far the worst offender. Time to get put those old box sets you meant to watch again.

  12. Jeez what a bunch of sourpusses.

    I’ll take Harry and Meghan. You can have Trump and the Kardashians.


    1. Well, when you put it that way…at least Harry served his country. He didn’t have “debilitating” bone spurs or anything! And yes, I know Harry’s service was somewhat limited in the risk department due to his being a valuable target of the taliban but still, he went to Afghanistan, whereas tRump just went to lunch.

      1. As I recall, some media twerp just had to spill the beans about Harry’s military service whereabouts.

    2. Ummm. . . you’ve just insulted virtually everybody who’s commented here. Who among us WANTS Trump and the Kardashians, for crying out loud?

      The choice isn’t between those sets of people. The question is whether Britain should have a hereditary monarchy or not.

      1. I apologise for the first line. I should have phrased it differently.

        Re the hereditary monarchy, it is an integral part of the British system. In many ways that system is pragmatic – it adapts to circumstances and over the years it has arrived at the current political arrangement which seems to work, if not perfectly (e.g. Brexit!), then no worse than anybody else’s. So I’d be very cautious about changing it lest the Law of Unintended Consequences operates. I don’t think it’s a simple as nationalising all the royal residences and giving the royal family their tickets to Australia.

        Can anyone point to a system that works significantly better in practice?


        1. I agree with you. I think Americans criticising the British political system are on very shaky ground. Their so-called “meritocracy” has given them (and the world) Trump. How the British system *should* work is for the British people alone to decide.

          1. Not just British people….there is the whole Commonwealth as well. But I think it is perfectly fine for Americans to say whatever they want. I’m Canadian. I listen to them say things all the time. Canadians just feel bad when they aren’t saying things about them, which is 99% of the time.

          2. The American system used to work pretty well up until November, 2016 when a con man won the Presidency. Now he’s systematically exploiting its every weakness.

  13. Blending of fantasy and reality is how Fantasyland works.

    Here it’s unusual because the subject is on another continent, another country.

  14. Jerry, you are too much US-American (a federal presidential constitutional republic since about 240 years), to understand the yearning many Europeans have for the monarchy and aristocracy. It is a desire for fairy tales with kings, princess and nobles, it is a longing for the “good old times”.
    Even Germany, which abolished the monarchy 100 years ago in 1918 and canceled all privileges of teh nobility, has its share of people, who think, that a constitutional monarchy with a queen/king would be better than the current parliamentary republic with President and Federal Chancellor.

    1. Ah yes; those fairy tales so well captured by the brothers Grimm. Good old times in Europe? Grim is the right word.

    2. This yearning Europeans have?
      In my experience yanks are slightly more fond of the monarchy than we Brits are on the whole. Probably because its more abstract and even then its a minority.

      Its worth noting the polls on this wedding shows overall most Brits were uninterested. There was a spike in interest when the wedding was announced and everyone went “ohhhh will we get another day off” and when the answer was no interest vanished.

      1. You may be right for the Brits. But what about the Benelux? Spaniards, Danes, Swedes and Norwegians? Or the residents of small Monaco Liechtenstein?

  15. Almost all the critiques I have seen that claim the monarchy is a net expense to the country ignore the Crown Estate, or pretend it is something owned by the Government of the United Kingdom, whereas it is actually owned by the Monarch.

    The last year I can find figures on for this are for the financial year 2015/2016. The Crown Estate returned 304M Pounds on 12.9B Pounds of assets. Normally 15% of this income is “paid” to the Royal Family as a Sovereign Grant, and the balance after reinvestments goes to Treasury. Currently the Sovereign Grant has been increased to 25% to cover the costs of renovations to Buckingham palace, and will revert to 15% when that is fully paid. The Crown Estate has returned 2.5B Pounds to Treasury over the last decade.

    The best, or at least most complete, estimate I can find for the total cost of the Monarchy and Royal Family comes from a 2017 consultancy report by Brand Finance. Their estimate of the total cost of the Royal Family to the UK Taxpayer is 292M Pounds, but that includes something around 123M Pounds of income from properties that are ultimately owned by the Royal Family.

    Their estimate of the benefit to the UK from the Royals is 1.766B Pounds, including the Crown Estate, tourism, increased income to arts and media organisations, industry and commerce, particularly for increased sales of luxury brands to Chinese customers, and income from Royal Warrants.

    Horrible glossy brochure by Brand Finance

    1. I wonder how much of that “benefit” would still accrue if the monarchy were abolished but the palaces still remained, just as Chartres and Notre Dame attract tourists to France even though Catholicism is on the wane.

      1. I suspect there would still be tourism driven by the history and the architecture, etc. But I think Brand Finance attempted to separate that from tourism driven by pomp and ceremony. However, even if we remove the entire amount attributed to tourism that still leaves over 1.2B Pounds of benefit to the UK per year. I think there are political and ideological arguments for getting rid of the Monarch as the titular leader of the UK. But as the income from the Crown Estates is greater than the total cost of the Royals I don’t think absolute cost works. I do think an argument could be made that the costs and benefits are not equitably distributed though.

      2. I’ll grant you that medieval cathedrals are often very impressive and beautiful, but palaces and stately homes leave me cold. Partly it’s because I just can’t get excited about fancy furniture and porcelain and portraits, and partly it’s because of what they represent: generations of my ancestors led hard, short lives working in the fields in near-servitude to generate the wealth that the owners of such places turned into gilded frippery.

      3. The top most visited countries in the world are France and the USA – both republics. France receives about 83 million international tourists a year, compared to Britain’s 36 million, according to UNWTO.

    2. “… it is actually owned by the Monarch.”

      Maybe it’s time to liberate it, return it to the serfs and vassals whence it was stolen.

      Give the Royal family a life estate in a suitably posh setting, be done with the whole bloody mess in a generation or two.

      1. You sound like a communist 🙂

        But to be equitable, if you do that to the Royals, you should also do it to all the other notable figures who are descended from landed gentry.

        In fact death duties / estate duties have done a fair bit of that already.


    3. “whereas it is actually owned by the Monarch.”

      No it isnt. It is owned by the crown. Remember the monarch has been switched out on several occasions for a more suitable one.
      It was split out from the private earnings of the monarchs when they ran into too much debt and couldnt afford to carry the expenses of running the country.
      They could try asking for it back but then they would also be handed the costs of running the country and good luck asking parliament for some special taxes.

      As for tourism. The royal palaces arent near the top on the list for the UK and France has far higher visits to its former palaces.
      PCC seems to have managed to enjoy his trip to Paris without mourning too much about the loss of the French monarchy and running across the channel to see our lot.
      That Brand Finance stuff is a nice advertising piece for Brand finance and thats it.

    1. Though not watching or reading about it, I suspect that’s just what this is: a ‘fan fair.’

  16. If it helps, think of the Queen as the embodiment of the nation or of the constitution–no bad thing considering that there is not a written one. Elizabeth II has fulfilled a punishing schedule for decades–doing all the things that a head of state and head of the Commonwealth does who is officially above politics and unencumbered by it. She increasingly delegates some duties to younger members of the family. They keep pretty busy if not always in the public eye. The pomp and circumstance are entertaining but also symbolic and cohesive in a country with no patriotic holidays, no Fourth of July, no celebrations of nationhood, no foundation myths, no adoration of a flag. Changing a long-standing and successful constitutional monarchy like the UK into a republic would make Brexit look like a morning’s work for a junior clerk.

  17. A wish: that someone marrying into the Royal Family, or perhaps even a member of same would speak up against the traditional bird shoots. There is, I think, a Boxing Day shooting event – and they go to Scotland to shoot birds at certain times of year. Just an ancient tradition? Blamming birds out of the sky should have gone passe long since. Maybe the supposedly unconventional new Duchess could speak up against this???

    1. That gives me an idea: invite Dick Cheney over for a hunt with the Royal family; kill all the birds with a single stone.

    2. >>There is, I think, a Boxing Day shooting event.

      I think you’re thinking of 12th August (the “Glorious 12th”).


      1. No they have a special boxing day shoot although wouldnt be surprised if they shot on the opening day.
        It is something which reflects badly on the royals. The grouse moors are notoriously bad for killing anything which might get in the way of being able to kill grouse later. Raptors in particularly are persecuted with Hen Harriers, peregrines, golden eagles etc all doing badly near the moors and other shooting venues.
        Indeed Harry was questioned after a couple of hen harriers were shot.

        Not a word said by the royals despite their wildlife campaigns elsewhere. Not sure why anyone would listen to them talking about wildlife protection.

  18. I don’t like the rules around addressing the monarchy and such. I think those rules are why places like the former British colonies exist today. I find Americans oddly fascinated with the British monarchy, however and I see an attempt to reproduce it in the pomp of the POTUS living in the White House and having all that weird back slapping and sycophantic behaviour at the State of the Nation address. I find even that too conformist and ceremony laden. And the office of First Lady, it all seems like a watered down monarchy in ceremony. It’s like the colonial powers just couldn’t let all of it go. Then of course, there is the celebrity infatuation. Perhaps we’re all just hard wired to worship who we have decided are our “betters”. How depressing.

    I really don’t get why people care about all this stuff at all. I’m so tired of all the excitement over it on FB and elsewhere.

    1. State of the Union address — Please, for us Yanks anything else is tantamount to lèse-majesté. 🙂

      1. Ha ha – I always get that wrong. I even googled it when I wrote it but I still got it wrong.

    2. Mostly agree with you, Ms. MacPherson but would like to demur a little about your critical take on the U.S. and the State of the Union Address. To my mind, the nature of the U.S. as a confederacy remains problematic even after nearly two-and-a-half centuries of the nation’s existence as a republican democracy.

      While presidents from Washington on have all given inaugural addresses and ‘annual addresses to Congress,’ the ‘State of the Union’ (though not yet so called) came to maturation with Lincoln and the crisis of the Civil War. Of course, Lincoln spoke to those members of Congress who remained after secession, but what he said and how he said it, through publication in newspapers, helped citizens understand as never before the built-in tensions in the Constitution. Yes, over its fatal silence regarding slavery, but also–and this is still crucial for U.S.-ians today–over an incomplete articulation of state vs. federal powers.

      The U. S. ARE vs. the U.S. IS. ‘Is’ won. Or so a majority among the succeeding generations thought. I don’t want this to sound pedantic. I’m not trying to teach anyone anything. Yet I am sorely hurting for my country and believe I speak for many, many U.S.-ian citizens when I quite seriously maintain that we as a nation are in a crisis that is more than constitutional.

      Unlike your homeland, as I no doubt very incompletely understand it, the U.S. appears to be failing before our eyes: not only failing to realize its democratic ideals but in fact failing to be any sort of a democracy at all. So we NEED leadership and its sincere ceremonies that point to national unity. Not to sentimentalize the matter, but when Michelle Obama found herself onstage, she was beautiful for what she was doing not what she was wearing; when her husband spoke it was with an articulate dignity, a ‘humble confidence’ that he could see and he could help us.

      What we have now is a TRAVESTY in at least two of the three senses of the word: ridiculous and betraying. Perhaps it is also the third: a grim drama of cross-dressing hypocrisy.

    3. I share your personal dislike of all the formality and ceremony. I – personally – can barely tolerate sitting still for a ten-minute speech.

      However, patently, a lot of people are very fond of such things. This is why I’m okay with the royal family and things like this wedding. Not my cup of tea but obviously a lot of people do seem to like it**. And everyone needs some sort of festive occasion once in a while, for whatever reason. (Same goes for most modern music and most modern sports. If soccer was dependent on me for its existence it would be gone tomorrow).

      (**That said, I watched it – without undue aggravation – mostly because my wife did. Compared with her common fare, which is depressing ‘true crime’ murders and ‘reality’ cop shows with a grating, portentous, smartass narrator who I want to slap, the Royal Wedding was a merciful relief.)


  19. I hope that after QEII dies, and the buffoon Charles is coronated, we will see some serious discussion about abolishing the British monarchy. It creaks.

  20. Although I don’t care about the monarchy personally, I can see some good reasons to keep it around. 1. It brings lots of tourist money. 2. It allows the actual UK government to operate without much of the ceremonial burden of royalty. This point was made on Bill Maher’s show last night by one of his guests. (I’m not sure which one but one of the two men.)

  21. There may be arguments for a presidency rather than a monarchy but I’d suggest that Americans are not currently well placed to make them.

      1. It doesnt really work. Since due to constitutional monarchy she had a lot more power and could of course be voted out.
        Whereas an argument against any hereditary power would be “Mark Thatcher”

  22. I’ll be glad when this nonsense is over and we can get back to something more serious, like Yanny/Laurel.

  23. If the Queen were a cat person and not a corgi person would our host be a little better disposed? Going deeper into my conspiracy theory rabbit hole, has he spent too much time recently with the old enemy (the frenchies) and been biased against her by them?

  24. The USAmerican adulation of the British monarchy makes it obvious what comes next. President Trump, with the assent of his Congress, will retract the Declaration of Independence. The Royal Family will immediately move to their new quarters in Mar-A-Lago, with a summer residence in DisneyLand; the Trump business organization will merge with the Royal Estates in Britain; the houses of Parliament will be replaced by the US Congress and Fox News; Scotland will annul the Union with England Act of 1707; and Jeremy Corbyn will move to Cuba, taking with him the Labour Party treasury, one step ahead of the authorities.

  25. I slept thru it. But crimony! The 6th degree of separation just walked in the door as something of actual interest.

    It seems that her great-great uncle played for the Homestead Grays. Particularly remembered as the same team that Josh Gibson played on, they never had a home field that was exclusively theirs, playing some of their games at US Steel’s Edgar Thomson Field in Braddock – see para below the second newspaper clipping which is gone now but was located next door to the mill superintendent’s mansion, now DBA Schwixon, from whence I’m writing this.

    Here’s a shot of the ET team (the “Community”) with the mansion above R and the caretaker’s house above L.

  26. Congratulations to the vapid preacher dude for being exceptionally vapid, and plenty of it too. On and on and on. Well done vapid sir.

    1. O … … perfect, Mr Roger !

      My thinking precisely ! v a p i d:
      “offering nothing that is stimulating or challenging.”

      S Q U A T. Nada, zip, zilch, zero of
      stimulation nor challenge.

      What an awfully costly and so utterly worthless
      clowning ALL of this performance
      … … the whole deal was.

      Not myself a m a w w y ing one I, had I been
      such a one, however, then so humiliated and ashamed by
      this astounding spewing of display
      would I have been.


  27. I’m not sure that an Evolutionist can ALSO be a Monarchist.
    At least the Royals have decided to stop inbreeding. It’s the first time since the Norman invasion of 1066.
    They’ll be deciding to learn to speak English next.

    1. After the Norman invasion, English was not the language of the Royal court until the rule of Henry V over 300 years later.

      That stalwart of the English monarchy Richard I spoke French. So did his dad Henry II and his brother John.

      1. I’m not sure that “English” as a language was an actual entity in 1066: the Saxon King Harold was nominally a Saxon but his family had Scandinavian connections (going back generations during the Danish invasions) and were also related to the invading Normans.
        I imagine there were dialectical hybrids of local languages. There was ALWAYS Latin of course.

        By Henry V, at least Chaucer had already started writing in (Middle) English.

        Maybe the Royals had thought it prudent to allow the language to fully evolve for three centuries before expending valuable resources actually learning it: nothing if not judicious.

        I imagine that a nobleman could live his whole life in a castle and never speak to a commoner. The commoner wouldn’t have been expected to talk back in any case: too busy licking the Noble’s shoes.

        1. Well, yes. The English spoken at Henry’s court would have been very different from the English spoken at the time of William I. For one thing, it had a lot of French words in it.

          One little factoid I like about this is that, in English, the different varieties of livestock have sensible anglo-salon names like ox, sheep, pig but the kinds of meat that come off them have weedy French names like beef, mutton, pork. This is an artefact of the time when saxons reared animals so that normans could eat them.

        2. “By Henry V, at least Chaucer had already started writing in (Middle) English.”

          By the time of Henry V there was a considerable body of writing in Middle English, and not just Chaucer.

  28. Oh, all you spoil sports. The Royals are the Brits’ main tourist attraction. Their cooking doesn’t bring in the tourists. That’s why Jerry went to Paris instead.

    In the US we got out national parks. We got our Presidents on the Mountain, etc, etc. What we don’t got anymore is America’s Cup. The Kiwi’s beat us fair and square at our own game. Cat o’ nine tails to ’em.

    1. I want to hear the cutesy-wutesy NY Times fashion/style critics critique Prince Harry’s wedding attire. Why don’t they?

      Or, as I heard a young lady recently say, “Isn’t it ALL about the bride?”

  29. I do agree with you on some points even if i’m not even british, nor american. But sometimes I’d rather see a royal wedding, or anyones wedding, than shooting news and dying people on my TV. I’m not saying I don’t care!

  30. Despite all my qualms and objections about Royals vs Commoners, I enjoyed the TV spectacle. This institution is not going away anytime soon. I’m tickled about Meghan improving their gene pool. Loved the music, the look on Harry’s face throughout, the black choir singing ‘Stand By Me’, loved the bride’s understated dress, the bride’s mom, Elizabeth’s dress, the young black cello soloist who was brilliant! Loved how Charles escorted the bride down the aisle and then escorted her mom after the ceremony. Love how these young people obviously care for each other above all else, how they honoured the memory of Diana (the hunted), and eschewed any gifts but requested donations to various charities.

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