Category Archives: Royal family

Perspective needed: one death in many

 

On Friday 9 April 2021, a certain gentleman died. His full name/title was:

His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Grand Master and First and Principal Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Knight of the Order of Australia, Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand, Extra Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Royal Chief of the Order of Logohu, Extraordinary Companion of the Order of Canada, Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Lord of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Privy Councillor of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom.

That’s 133 words. In the time it takes you to read it, at least 100 people will have died somewhere in the world. For the average daily death toll around the globe is 150,000 people. How many of their names will we know? How many of them will attract the media feeding frenzy that the passing of certain 99-year-old gentleman did?

How much media or other scrutiny will fall on the 800+ women who died on that very same day from what the World Health Organization describes as “preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth”? How many pub conversations about that particular gentleman’s legacy will pause to consider that in high-income countries a woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death is one in 540; in low-income countries it is one in 45?

We don’t know exactly what the 99-year-old gentleman expired from, though old age is clearly a suspect. We do know he suffered heart problems. That puts him in strong company – nearly one third of the other 149,999 deaths on 9 April resulted from cardiovascular disease.

The gentleman’s family, especially his wife—a woman of some renown—will mourn him deeply. That is as unremarkable. Will their sorrow be any more heartfelt, any more profound, than that of all the other wives, husbands, children, mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, companions who lost a loved one on Friday 9 April 2021?

 

Post-Brexit: “leave us be!” Queen demands

Buckingham Palace has announced that the Queen has restored the ancient law of lèse-majesté to the United Kingdom.

The law makes it an offence, punishable by up to 145 years in jail, “to publicly criticise, mock, make derogatory remarks, or otherwise offend the sensibilities of any member of the royal family, including Her Majesty’s corgis”.

There will be a one-week grace period during which anyone who accidentally says anything unkind about the monarchy or the corgis will merely be cautioned and banned for life from watching Premier League football.

LM training sessions are being rolled out across the country in conjunction with the Covid-19 vaccination program.

A Palace spokesperson explained the background to the restored law and Her Majesty’s thinking:

  • As the United Kingdom enters a new era of friendlessness it is vital to show those Euro[expletives deleted] that no longer can they get away with constant cheap pot-shots and high-speed car chases through Parisian tunnels involving the British royals, their assorted hangers on and, of course, the royal corgis.
  • With Philip is on his last legs, the Queen is all too conscious of the many unkind things that may soon be said about him. She has said many of them herself already.

“I know he often comes across as a bigot and a misogynist who makes a habit out of stupid, offensive remarks,” the Queen observed. “I well remember the time he said to the President of Nigeria, splendidly dressed in traditional robes, ‘You look like you’re ready for bed!’ It was so hard not to laugh but I tell you this: Philip was never so insensitive that he made a joke about the royal corgis.”

  • How hurtful it was for Her Majesty when recently she overheard her grandchildren guffawing at a joke told by one of them:

Prince Charles was driving around his mother’s estate when accidently he ran over her favourite corgi. He alighted from his Range Rover and sat down, totally distraught, knowing the Queen would go ballistic. Then he noticed a lamp half-buried in the ground. He carefully dug it out and rubbed it clean. Instantly a genie appeared. “You have freed me at last,” the genie cried, “I shall grant you one wish”. Charles pointed to the mangled animal, “I don’t suppose you could fix Mummy’s dog,” he asked. “Sorry, no can do,” the genie replied, “even my magical powers have their limits.” Charles thought for a moment, then reached into his pocket and took out two photographs, one of Diana, the other of Camilla. He stared at the photo of Camilla and said, “I know it’s a big ask but could you possibly make this one as beautiful as her?” He held up the picture of Diana. The genie thought hard for a moment and replied, “Let’s have another look at that dog”.

  • Her Majesty has noted that Thailand’s King Vajiralongkorn is an ardent fan of lèse-majesté. His country recently sentenced a public servant who had criticised the monarchy to 43 years in jail.

“Many people would see that as excessively harsh. I beg to differ. It’s a clear sign of royal magnanimity. The original sentence was 87 years, cut in half for no better reason than a guilty plea from the defendant. King Vajiralongkorn is the world’s richest monarch. His $40 billion fortune makes my $500 million look positively paltry. It would seem this lèse-majesté stuff offers real opportunity to boost the royal cash flow.”

  • That said, and ever attentive to her subject’s simple needs, the Queen has acknowledged the financial impact of lèse-majesté on satirists everywhere. She has created a special fund to assist them.

“They can laugh as much as they like, as long as they leave me and my retinue and, of course, the royal corgis, well out of it. And the best thing: the fund’s coming from withdrawals I’ve ordered from former Prince Harry’s expense account. That’ll teach the ungrateful little shit,” Her Majesty chortled before adding, “I’m sure Andrew will chip in too. He owes me big time for not locking him in the Tower and throwing away the keys.”