The View From Here – The archaic notion of royalty is incompatible with the tenets of a modern, secular society

Tom Henihan

Don’t you hate it when people invite themselves over and leave you no choice but to pretend that you will be delighted to see them?

And to add to the imposition, without saying a word, you know that they expect you to cover the entire cost of their visit for the privilege of listening to their inanities and watching them smile.

Apart from the cost to Canadians of the William and Kate visit, there is also the matter of subscribing indirectly to the archaic notion of the Divine right of kings.

Venerating people, not for the attributes they possess or the accomplishments they may have accrued but simply due to some accident of birth puts the lie to our notion of modernity and our political and social sophistication.

The only demand the Mountbatten-Windsors must fulfill is to stay out of trouble and maintain the illusion that they are somehow of a higher cast.

That simple exigency has proven too much for most members of the British Royal Family but to be fair to William, unlike his parents and his brother, he seems to have learned from his grandmother the detachment and decorum necessary to inhabit the illusion.

In 2016, the idea of a royal family, of people being regal by birth is impossible to countenance.

It is ludicrous for Canada, a modern, multicultural, democratic and ostensibly secular society to continue to accept as its sovereign an institution founded on the notion of divine right.

William and Kate’s last 9-day visit to Canada in 2011, touring Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward island, the Northwest Territories and Alberta is estimated to have cost Canadian taxpayers a royal $1.2 million. I wonder if their 2016 visit will leave the same lasting impression as that of 2011.
It seems, the expense to taxpayers leaves the most enduring memories of these royal excursions.

Nevertheless, prior to the September 24 to October 1, 2016 Royal visit, Governor General, David Johnston delivered this missive:

“Once again, Sharon and I will be delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Canada. Their Royal Tour will take them to the beautiful province of British Columbia and the scenic territory of Yukon. Our true Canadian pride and spirit will shine and be at the very heart of this visit so they can feel at home.”

If Canadian pride and spirit shines at the very heart of this royal tour, we need to examine the source and purpose of our national pride.

One cannot disparage an airline dispatcher and a flight attendant who eventually amassed a $300 million fortune through a mail order business.

However, one has to wonder if Kate Middleton’s parents had not acquired wealth would the house of Mountbatten-Windsor have accepted her into the fold?

If it takes not God, nor blood, nor deeds but money, to gain membership in the royal family then the idea of royalty is as crass as all other forms of celebrity.

Apart from the Governor General and much of the media swooning with euphoria over the visit of William and Kate, I think it is fair to say that if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were presented in any other context, these rather banal, colourless individuals would leave little impression on anyone.

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