I got Royal ants in my pants.

I have always had a very chilled attitude towards the British Royalty. I mean, it is a daft concept in this day and age, but it seems to make the Brits (the Royalist ones) happy and patriotic, and it brings in tourism, so let them have their Royalty.

I have been hearing discussions about the Royals and their existence and whether it is justified long before THE WEDDING, and they are still going on now. And suddenly last week I became a militant anti-Royalist, and I fear there is no going back!

It is very fashionable and almost socially acceptable to be really nasty about Britain and the British, because once they were the oppressive colonialists and the leaders of the world, and now they are not. But there are some really good things about this place.

People here, on the whole, are equal. Class is far less important than it was. Women are treated fairly, in my opinion. There is excellent maternity leave, and work opportunities for women. I am talking in the general sense, because I do know first hand that in Science women are discriminated against, but that is not a UK thing, that is a world thing.

People are allowed to practice their religion of choice. The Brits still insist that this is a Christian country. It is such an alien concept for me, to actually declare your country one or other religion in this day and age, but if you want to be Muslim or Sikh or Hindu, you can practice away. Obviously there is anti-Islam sentiment, but on the whole people can get on and do what they wish. And be British at the same time. You do hear mumblings about “when in Rome” but if you go to Dubai you do not see white British expats attending mosque and wearing burqas, so let’s not take that whinge too far.

For me the biggest good thing about Britain is the lack of racism. Yes, of course there is racism, but it is on a whole other level of insignificance in comparison to what I experienced in South Africa. Even those people who do exhibit racism (I have only encountered this in the over-60s) are not vicious or hateful, just suspicious and wary.

However, mixed race couples abound, and when I talk about South Africa and try and explain how racially polarised it is, people look a bit freaked out. If you live in London, you are surrounded by every nationality in the world. Worrying about where people come from and the colour of their skin is rendered meaningless.

I have wondered about adopting a South African child in the past, and I do feel that if I adopted a black child it would be better for it to grow up in the UK, in terms of freedom from discrimination. Sad as that makes me feel.

Gay people are tolerated. I’m not saying loved and universally accepted but they are allowed civil unions and there are a few in Parliament.

So while Britain has loads of problems like anywhere, on the whole, people can get on with life and not be discriminated against.  And they should be proud of their country for that.

Which is why the Royal Family is so ridiculous, because in the name of Tradition, people will excuse any kind of small-minded prejudice that the Royals care to practice. It is blatant double standards.

If Kate pops out a girl child first and then a boy, as the law still stands (they are hoping to appeal this, but it still stands) , the boy child will be King. Seriously. In 2011 this is acceptable.

An heir to the throne is forbidden to marry a Catholic. Blatant discrimination. All in the name of the Church of England, which was created so that a dodgy King could divorce his wife?

As I pointed out to my British colleague, there is no law forbidding an heir to the throne from marrying a Muslim. Haha. She said, don’t worry about that, they know their duty. They would never do that because they must fulfill their duties.

OOOKKK then. There are many Muslim people in this country. They are British. Some of them are a few generations British. Anyway, Prince William’s grandfather Prince Phillip is not even British by birth, so I think we don’t need to go back generations to refute that argument.

If they cannot marry a Royal, then are they not British? What about a black person? What if William was gay? I am sure he would know his duty, and lie and marry a woman of course. Lucky lady she would be.

The whole idea of inherited power is ridiculous. Just because someone’s dad is an amazing surgeon, does not mean their child will be. What if that child has the chronic shakes and vomits when he sees blood, would you still want him to train and be your doctor?

I know Kate Middleton is a Commoner (she has miners in her bloodline. Sies) but this is as far as things can go. So while the UK strives to be a tolerant, open place, the Royalty is allowed to practice whichever prejudices it chooses, and therebye encourages ridiculous and outdated ideas.

Because the Royalty is Traditional, it has in fact crystallised and preserved all of the old ways, the old and ugly prejudices that are unnacceptable to the rest of  society. But is doesn’t just hide them in a cupboard, it flaunts them in front of everybody with pride. And that to me, is something Brits should be ashamed of. They are better than that. They really are.

So if there was ever a referendum on whether to keep the Royalty, unless they changed a lot of things, you know how I would be voting. Luckily for the Royalists, after this year’s voting system referendum disaster, it is unlikely they will be having one in any form for quite a while.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Damaria Senne
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 08:38:37

    I think the big thing about royals is that they’re always there – through the different governments by different political parties etc. And I do think that the royals should look into losing some of the traditions that don’t necessarily serve citizens ( e.g. if William was gay, why not allow him to have a civil union with a guy he loves and they can have a baby through a surrogate?) It’s not as if they don’t have good alternatives that would get them their heir still. And they have seen, through the marriage of Charles and Diana, that forcing unions that should never be, and separating people who really want to be together, creates misery and in the end, they are the ones who lose out. So if I was in the UK, I wouldn’t vote for their removal in the referendum. But I do think that they stand a chance of being rendered obsolete ( and being voted out) if they don’t bend at all.

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  2. po
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 08:54:59

    Damaria: yes! That is probably a better attitude than my rather radical one. Anyway, there is no way on this earth that the UK would vote to disband the Royalty. They love them. But if they could change the shameful bits I would be happy. But what about the unspoken things? There is no rule against marrying a Muslim, but people here say “it would never happen”. That kind of thing is subtle but persistent. And I fear will never go away.

    Reply

  3. tiah
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 08:56:53

    What I found amusing in the UK was how some of the most liberal minded people I met turned out to be equally loyal royalists.

    As for sexism, in some ways they were ages ahead, in others…had an interview cut off as soon as they knew I was married (they feared babies, and said so), watched my boss get passed over for a position because she was not a 45 year old man (they were blunt about this), and in fact I am struggling to remember an interview where I wasn’t asked if I had children. Nope. Can’t remember one. (And to be clear, at the time I was childless, nor planning to have any.) Oh, and when I worked in an architect firm they always one of their few fully qualified architects to fetch the tea for meetings if I was too swamped. Strangely enough, she was their only female architect. All the young men still struggling to pass that last exam – they got invited to the big meeting where she served them ‘milk or sugar?’.

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  4. Damaria Senne
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 09:07:14

    @Tiah – that’s terrible, having to serve your juniors tea.
    @Po – I think some issues, especially the unspoken ones, will have to be dealt with as and when they happen. I think royals had a lot of illusions when Charles married Diana, which were lost over the years as the situation blew up on them. And in view of that, if one of the royals down the generations wanted to marry a Muslim, they and the British public would have to decide. Never happen does eventually happen and then we all have to deal with it.

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  5. po
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 10:56:25

    Tiah: well in Science, because all junior positions are not full time jobs but 2-5 year contracts, on funding that researchers have to fight really hard to get, women age 28 -34 are essentially doomed. They are too high risk for babies and maternity leave for most of their short and expensive contract. My previous employer told me this, he tried to find ways of asking about children without being direct, others just point blank would not hire a woman at that age. But this happens the world over, due to the structure of Science. It sucks donkey balls. Perhaps it is not an issue in the US though because of the two month maternity leave thing, but I must say, that is an issue in itself. Two months is heartbreakingly short.

    Damaria: I love it! you are so sensible in your opinions! Maybe I should write my radical views down, and then hear yours, and then moderate mine. I totally agree, it hasn’t happened, but if a future Royal wants to marry a Muslim, I am sure it is something they will face and deal with. I am definitely very extreme sometimes :) But I like to come back to earth eventually.

    Reply

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