I was overjoyed when I heard that Prince William was to marry Kate Middleton: mainly as I happened to be in London at the time, which meant I was able to do a round of interviews for various media outlets on the subject, but also I was happy for the couple themselves.
You can’t meet a more pro-Royal than I, but during the day of the announcement I began to think about the future of the Monarchy with Prince William (or even Charles) at the helm.
Her Majesty does not give interviews, and microphones are never placed near Her unless it is for a direct message to her subjects (the Christmas address, for example). By banning microphones one is rarely privy to Her Majesty’s conversation or speech. To me, this helps maintain the mystique of Monarchy. Similarly, The Queen has never given an interview for publication to anyone in Her life – an air of mystery is created. However Princes Charles and William have given many interviews in their time as heirs to the throne; the latter has even been ‘interrogated’ (and I use that word lightly) by Fearne Cotton. I agree that once Her Majesty has died (and I hope that is not any time soon) we should have a more modern Monarchy (and by that I do not mean that Princess Beatrice starts detailing the contents of Her fridge in the back of Heat) but if the Monarchy and its mechanics are revealed and opened up too much then it will become nothing more than a glorified Big Brother. And when – no, if – that happens then most of the pull factor for tourists will be lost.
When I was in London the other week I was standing outside Buckingham Palace and in-between filming (I was doing a piece for Canadian television on the Changing of the Guard… thank you, God…) I started chatting with some tourists from New Zealand. They were desperately hoping to see The Queen, they told me. Now, I could have told them there and then that the chances of seeing Her Majesty – or any Royal – was slim. But if we imagine my worst nightmare of a Monarchy where Beatrice is in Heat, will we see the then King coming out at certain set times of the day to sign autographs and have His grinning picture taken by camera phones? The tourists will not find the Monarchy so appealing as it will descend into nothing more than a red carpet farce. And so, the tourists will not come and the British economy will not be injected with the much-needed revenue that it gets from all their visits.
Now, please do not get me wrong – my sole argument for having a Monarchy is not that it is jolly nice for the tourists. But it is one of them. Monarchy should be detached and remote. The Royal Family aren’t like you and me (mainly you) and never will be, and never should be expected to be. Those who fuss about the ‘great expense’ to the taxpayer are bonkers: I do not know what the figure for how much the Monarchy costs each person is exactly but it is something like 20p per year. Do people actually think they will be better off with an extra 20p a year? Give me a break!
So, my message to Prince William and his future bride is (apart from many congratulations) please strongly consider any media offers or interview bids that you may get your way in the future. We need strong and powerful figureheads. The moment Kate appears on Dancing on Ice is the day I lead the march for a republic.