Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Storms - in reality, in royal tea-cups, on international levels.

Dudley and Eunice are on their way! Two storms back to back! That’s a bit excessive, it seems to me. Amazingly, though, I managed to cycle to the Uppermill market (still very depleted, still just the fruit and veg man and the fish man - what are things coming to?) and back without getting rained on. Dudley started battering the back door with as we had a late breakfast on my return but he eased off again after a while. We’ll see how it goes. Meanwhile, everyone I met this morning was exclaiming about how mild it is! Of course, it’s all relative and it has been rather chilly lately!

Out in the wider world, Prince Andrew has come to a financial agreement with the woman who accuses him of abusing her when she was a teenager. This has led to a lot of bad jokes a put the Grand Old Duke of York and one which claims that Kirstie Allsopp suggests the queen could afford to pay the settlement on her son’s behalf if she gives up Netflix and makes her own packed lunches! (This last one comes from Newsthump, which also suggests that Novak Djokovic is about to become a Russian athlete so he can just ignore all the rules.) There’s a lot of schadenfreude around!

More seriously, the MP for York Central is one of a number of people saying Andrew should be stripped of the title of Duke of York, out of respect for the people of York. I wonder how many of the people of that fair city really feel seriously let down by their duke. And then, I also wonder, what use is it to a city to have a duke? How does it benefit them? What do they gain from it? It’s not quite like the olden days when a duke might have helped protect his city from attackers.

The title of Duke of York is apparently given to the second son of the monarch, just as the first son is the Prince of Wales. This leads me to ask a number of questions. If there had been no sons but only daughters, would Princess Anne be the Princess of Wales? And would a second daughter have become the Duchess of York? 

There does seem to be a tradition among royal families (not just ours) to name their offspring duke and duchess of somewhere or other when they marry. The Infanta Elena, eldest sister of King Felipe of Spain was named Duchess of Lugo when she married. Her younger sister, the Infanta Cristina became the Duchess of Barcelona. At the time this struck me as a reasonably good way of making various bits of Spain feel as though the royal family “belonged” to them. Cristina’s husband, Iñaki Urdangarín, once a handball player for the Spanish was considered rather dashing and indeed they made a handsome couple, but his company was involved in scandal and both he and Cristina were investigated. She was acquitted but her older brother had her title taken away from her. Oh dear!

It’s not just our royal family then who have embarrassing members! And now there’s even news of an investigation into Prince Charles’s charity The Prince’s Foundation, all about cash for honours. Poor queen! It’s hard for any mother when her grown up children cause scandal but in her case it’s all very public and even I, not at all a monarchist, occasionally feel rather sorry for her.

Back to my questions. 

When (if) Charles becomes king, will William become Prince of Wales? Will there be an investiture ceremony as there was for his father? And will Harry become Duke of York? Will they both stop being Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex? Can they hold two titles at once? Can there be two Dukes of York at the same time? Goodness! It opens a whole can of worms!

It seems to me that if we MUST have a royal family (tourist attraction, source of patriotic fervour, national bonding, etc, etc) then once there is a heir, any younger siblings should have to go and earn a living in an ordinary way, just like the rest of us! Okay, they might inherit quite a bit of wealth at some point but let’s stop making a fuss about them and giving them a load of medals.

It’s to be hoped that the much talked about possible conflict over Ukraine does not come to fruition. Do we even have a suitable royal prince we can send out with the army or navy or airforce to be our champion? But maybe it’s all settling down. Here’s Michael Rosen’s “comment” on that situation:

“Carrie, The nation is witnessing the full power of my diplomatic and martial skills. Single-handed, I have slain the Bear and ploughed his bloody entrails into the snow. With his pelt under my belt, I will win the hearts of the British people once again. 

Gladioli bravado


Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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