In two earlier posts this week I blogged about the pernicious effect of sycophancy towards the royals and the way in which their Public Relations machine has positioned them within the celebrity culture. So what is the aim of all this, what is the end game? Once again the visit of William Windsor and his wife Kate to India and Bhutan gives us a clue. On a very short tour to Bhutan they spent one day on a personal climb up to the Tiger’s Nest monastery. Incredibly this provoked a very rare criticism from the BBC royal reporter Nicholas Witchell who pointed out that the Bhutan trip was at taxpayers expense and thus it was not a holiday but a business trip.
So what was the justification for what was a sightseeing jolly? As mentioned in a previous blog, William views himself in the role of a country squire (evidence the move to Norfolk) living at the expense of someone else, but it seems his education failed to impress on him a fundamental constitutional fact. The royals get to retain their privilege, wealth and residual influence in exchange for the Government using Royal Prerogative powers and a large measure of control over them for political and diplomatic purposes. It is on this basis, for example, that Charles Windsor is sent at frequent intervals to deeply unpleasant and autocratic regimes such as Saudi Arabia to secure lucrative arms deals – though there is no reason to suspect that Charles objects to a knees-up with his privileged mates. So if politicians send William to Bhutan at our expense they must see some advantage (note that it occupies a very strategic position bordered by both India and China!). They are not going to be pleased at the perceived waste of money when they are already under fire for punitive austerity measures.
It is a recurring line amongst royalists that they would prefer to pass quickly over Charles as the next king (or even bypass him altogether) since he is perceived as being eccentric, meddling and downright unpopular. It is likely that he would soon grate with politicians who would resent his constant interventions. Although less of an activist, a lazy and idle King William with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement would present a different by no less pointed set of problems. Hugely more interested in pursuing his own interests rather than fulfilling his duties he would be perceived by the establishment as superfluous and his removal would be sought. From my point of view this presents an opportunity, but only if the have a well worked out plan to move to a republic. Maybe the recent spate of problems raised for the Windsors by the press (such as the Sun Brexit story – my post here) are the first moves of an establishment with their media allies preparing for such an eventuality