As a Liberal, it may come as a surprise to some of you that I am a bit of an unashamed royalist. In the present day there are certainly anti-royalists around, but in general the air is more of disinterest rather than hate of our country’s heritage and in particular, our Royal Family. People simply are not interested; the Royals do not represent a modern, exciting or progressive society and many feel they are stuck in the past and a waste of money. A fair point from the everyday man who looks at a family adorned with castles, countryside retreats, jewels, designer dresses and a few odd shaped hats and rolls his eyes. The country used to adore the Royal Family when Queen Elizabeth II first came to the throne, so what went wrong? The answer is simple; it isn’t that the Royal Family is a bad, corrupt organisation looking to screw us over. In fact, the Queen has made ample cut backs over the past few years and the taxpayer now only contributes 57p a year to keep her. The problem is that despite this, the family continues to pretend to be something that it is not, and for this reason the public cannot connect. The Queen, especially, refuses to stray away from the traditional conventions, setting unreachable high standards for her family to adhere to. Again, this only pushes the public further away for two reasons: 1. numerous divorces and less than regal behaviour make the family look hypocritical, instead it should embrace who it really is and move on from its long gone image of perfectness. 2. A perfect family isn’t what the public want anyway, we admire those who we can relate to but are more interesting than us.
A lot of people seem to think that the Royal Family will never change and will eventually either die out or become a burden on our modern image. But since the royal wedding, I am starting to see a change. The wedding drew the Royal Family into the spotlight for the first time in a while and made people who only give the Queen a thought when they stick a postage stamp onto a letter notice its existence. This week saw the new royal couple, Kate and William embarking on their first Royal tour. Fresh from their time in Africa the couple arrived in Canada, a country which (generally) welcomed them warmly. I was surprised to see the love and warmth the crowds gave to the newlyweds; it is something that we have lost over here. It made me think back to the wedding in April when it came to light how obsessed and fascinated the people of America were by it all. I couldn’t believe how bothered they were when the feeling in Britain seemed to be ‘Well, go on then, if we have to. At least we get a day off’. The lack of street parties must have stung the Queen like a bee at the realisation that a huge royal event no longer brings communities together. People no longer share the celebration, instead they watch from a distance, vaguely interested.
The spotlight is now fast fading; the big day, the honeymoon, all over, and the Royal Family could easily sulk shyly back to their dusty grandeur. I was pleased to see, however, that Kate and William are not sulking anywhere. They appear on the news stylish and conservative in dress but not stuffy and old fashioned. They seem approachable and friendly and Kate never goes over the top with jewellery and hats. There is something a little bit perfect about them even though they don’t pretend to be. Everyone knows they lived their life how they wanted and had their ups and downs as a couple. Now they are grown up, mature but their youthful charms shine through. They bicker and tease each other. I think that this is a couple the public could grow to love and come to relate to. Watching them visit Canada on their tour was actually interesting and vaguely entertaining. They have no qualms about speaking to and getting involved with all kinds of people, from those who have suffered violence and abuse and are rebuilding their lives to the First Nation Canadians with all of their traditional rituals. Most of all, however, they are active and they join in, getting involved in more than just the usual. Sporty and youthful, whilst in Canada they had a shot at hockey and joined in with a dragon boat race. Kate, a keen rower playfully teased William, who’s team won the race, by pretending to push him into the water.
I think it is easy to find Kate and William endearing if you can get past the fact that they are Royalty and just see them as two representatives for our country. If you spend some time researching the charity work that Queen Elizabeth and
Prince Charles actually do, it is clear that they do work hard and achieve a lot. I hope that William and Kate can modernise the monarchy and make it something that the British people are proud to have. At the end of the day I would much rather have Kate Middleton, an educated woman who is active, well travelled, compassionate, and caring about issues around the world as a role model than most of the celebrities we call role models these days. Kate Middleton is a woman who respects tradition without allowing it to get in the way of her being herself. Perhaps she and William will manage to make the monarchy something that people are interested in. I’m fed up of seeing children look up to women in short skirts who have had cosmetic surgery on everything from their boobs to their bums. And I’m fed up of seeing men swearing, dressing sloppy and teaching our children to be disrespectful. Do we really want to live in a society where we admire qualities of selfishness and superficial successes? If every little girl wants to be a princess, let’s hope our newest princess embraces modern society and creates a liberal but respectful model of what to aspire to that promotes self confidence, kindness, fun, and hard working ambition in the next generation.