The Distinction Between Patriotism and Royalism
Patriotism and Royalism are two distinctly different concepts. My home country is England (not ‘Britain’ as Americans seem to think) and as such being a fan of the royal family is often misinterpreted as being patriotic. I’m not a particular fan of the royal family, but I do love England. I also hope I don’t get too accused of treason for the arguments I’m about to make.
Firstly, I don’t really care about the Queen any more than I care about anyone else. I care much more about my family and friends than I do about the royals, anyone who doesn’t is unequivocally wrong. The Queen doesn’t even have any power anymore, it’s not like in days gone by when the monarch was the leader of the nation, Liz is nothing more than a figurehead representing a system of government we no longer employ. Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t dislike the Queen, or the monarchy in general, I just don’t care. It was the Queen’s diamond jubilee last year, and that’s all well and good, staying in power for 60 years is indubitably impressive. But why does that achievement warrant the massively excessive celebrations that were held? Hint: it doesn’t, not even a little bit. In the day and age where opposition to the Queen’s position is far from dangerous and revolutionary, what the Queen has really done is not die in that time.
From focussing only on the pinnacle of British monarchy, I’d like to widen my view to the outer royals, beginning with Philip and extending through Charles, Will and Kate (+ the young’un), Harry and all the way to the more obscure members of the institution, such as Zara Phillips, who’s earned my respect more than many of the others. Charles’ major enterprise is high-cost biscuits, Will and Kate had the wedding and baby, Harry offers a plentiful supply of controversy while Philip’s main export is racism at the expense of world leaders. Funnily enough, Nigel Farage offers a similar output but is more reviled because his is within a political context and isn’t simply shrugged off with a chuckling ‘What’s he like!’
Will and Kate are the people’s royals it seems. William married a commoner, and they had a big bash where almost everyone in the country seemed to forget that William and Kate are just bags of flesh and bone the same as every other human on the planet, albeit from a more privileged background. Or, in Kate’s case, from a slightly-less-privileged-than-Will-but-still-not-working-class background. Then they went and had a baby! Ha! The thought that royals breed too! Crazy. And what was that little balling humanoid dubbed? The people’s prince. I know, he’s not done anything to invite either admiration or malice yet, and he’ll still be subjected to mammoth amounts of both.
As you may have gathered from those 4 paragraphs, I’m not a royalist. And if you haven’t gathered that, then you’re clearly not paying attention, I mentioned it enough, go back and read it again, before you continue please. Right, now that you’re fully aware of my disdain towards that lot, I can proceed in talking instead about patriotism. I don’t think I can fully explain why I love England, the history is incredible, the achievements almost unbelievable, the influence we’ve exerted on world affairs is truly staggering when you consider the size of the nation, and we have one of the most rich and beautiful cultures in the world (in my opinion). And yes, part of our culture is the monarchy, but why can’t we celebrate the social norms that make up our worldwide image? The tea drinking, obviously not entirely correct, but partly true, the stiff-upper-lip, the stereotyped awkwardness and the queuing. These are the things that define the nation, and we have no need to manifest the pride we may have in the royal family.
Weirdly though, it is often not the British who are most fond of our royals, the Americans seem to love them. Millions of them watched the royal wedding, they dominated magazine covers for weeks and they went mental when the little future king popped out of Kate. Not having their own royals, they often place their love onto their flag, which when you think about it, is a weird thing to celebrate that much. Be proud of your country, but do it in a sensible way, that way the next time a common occurrence like a wedding or birth of a child happens in the royal family we won’t have to be subjected to an onslaught of weeks of pointless media coverage about it.