Thursday, January 10, 2013

Smartly done, Queen E. Now you can go back to focusing on your little great-granddaughter being born healthy and happy


Description: The Queen overturned a rule that had been in place since 1917. The rule required a male heir to be first in line for the crown, but due to Kate's pregnancy announcement in December, that rule will be extracted. The new rule states any gender will have a stake in line for royalty. If the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a girl, she will be third in line for the throne.

by Ken

Two first responses to this momentous news:

(1) You mean she can just do that, the queen? Just sign her name, and make royal girl-children just the same as boy-children in the line of royal succession, just as if the girl-children were, like, regular little people?

(2) And, um, who cares, exactly? (That is, apart from fetishists who obsess over the lives and vicissitudes of the Royals the way some other folks do over the Kardashians?)

The upshot is that the queen's as-yet-to-be-born great-granddaughter will come into this world taking her rightful place as No. 3 in the line of succession behind her grandfather -- you remember the prince of Wales, Dopey Prince Charlie (whose reign, if it ever happens, is looking briefer and briefer by the year) -- and her father, Prince William, or should I say HRH the duke of Cambridge? (I happen not to be one of those people who believes that Prince William should be yanked out of the succession on account of his increasingly frightening resemblance to his pater, Dopey Prince Charlie. Surely that fact should in itself be punishment enough for any man. Besides, does anyone of sound mind believe that the prince's brother, the Other Prince, is a better prospect?)

It's not like here, when we try to remember who comes first in the line of succession to the presidency, the president pro tem of the Senate or the speaker of the House or the secretary of agriculture? No, barring unforeseen developments, Dopey Prince Charlie will succeed his mum to the throne, and then Prince William, that is to say the duke of Cambridge, will succeed him, and then his daughter will succeed him. Like her father and grandfather before her, she's not going to have to gather brochures at her schools' Career Days.
Then I thought about this historic development a little, and I came to the realization that it's probably a fine thing, and if it took HRH nearly 60 years to get around to it, well at least she did. And in fairness, there was no great need to do it before. After all, Elizabeth herself produced a male heir on her first try -- not to mention her third and fourth -- and Dopey Prince Charlie and the Lady Diana went two for two.

Oh, it's easy enough to see how the idea of boys-only kingships got started. Back in the day (and I mean the olden, olden day) when a king was someone who went forth to the battlefield accompanied by his trusty warriors to try to slaughter the rival king and as many as possible of his trusty warriors, this was pretty clearly man's work, all that slaughtering (and being slaughtered). But the king business changed a lot over the centuries.

Even England's King Henry V probably did less battlefield duty in his post-Agincourt years -- not to mention in general when his life wasn't being storyboarded by Shakespeare. Even by the time of Henry VIII, the "manly" arts of kinging tilted more toward chicanery, betrayal, repression, and general ruthlessness (and you thought the time you put in trying to watch The Tudors would be a total waste?) -- not to mention male-heir-producing and period wife-upgrading.

Surely Queen Elizabeth knows better than anybody that the duties of a British monarch will be just as doable by a grown-up girl-child as a grown-up boy-child, even with the grown-up boy-child having to manage the additional responsibilities of having an appropriate hat and purse for every royal occasion. And if it was concern for her soon-to-be little great-granddaughter that finally prompted her into action, well, I think that's fine. Could she really have faced the new addition to the family with a clear conscience while saying to her, in effect, that while it was fine for the country to struggle along all those decades and decades with her own personal gender-inferior head under the crown but now the little one's mum and dad would have to go back to the drawing board and try to produce a truly suitable heir? I don't think so.


No, it may not seem of earth-shaking moment to introduce this rule change to an institution as quaint and pointless as the British monarchy. But the very fact that the rule needed to be changed makes it important that it has been changed. Nicely done, Your Royal Highness.

Now, as a result, you can go back to anticipating the blessed event with the normal great-grandmotherly concern for a healthy and happy newborn. And when the time comes, of course, much health and happiness to your whole family. I assume there will be pictures.

And I assume you'll be carrying a representative assortment of those pictures in the designated Royal Purse of the Day -- just in case one of your subjects, or perhaps a guest from abroad, happens to ask. (Or even if they don't.)



At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That video runs automatically when I open my browser. Very annoying. Worse, I cannot shut it down.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Sorry, Anon, I've taken it out. I try like heck to avoid that, and in fact have taken to including almost no video clips (for this and other reasons). Sigh.

Apologies --


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