I am going to admit something that I think only my girlfriend knows. I never miss the Queen’s speech on Christmas day. As people I-don’t-know-but-who-appear-in-the-media-often-enough-to-make-me-feel-like-I-do go, the Queen seems like a good un to me. I like her. I like her distaste for false shows of emotion. I admire her determination and ideas about the importance of service. I pity her, her awful husband. I like her strange frocks and stranger hair. I like her because even though I disagree with almost everything she stands for, she seems to have integrity and that is something I can admire. And my Mum loves her and I love my Mum.
There, so now you know. I am a republican who has a soft spot for the Queen.
I’m used to it, so it doesn’t worry me any more.
But make no mistake I’m a republican and I believe she should be taken off the throne and then the throne should be thrown into a skip and we should have done with it.
Not that I mean her any misery.
Here’s what I wish for our Queen:
I wish for her a retirement in a bungalow near the sea with her dogs and if she must take him, her husband too. But I think she’s put up with him for long enough, so if she wants him gone, I say that’s fair enough. I wish for her peace and respect. I wish for her access to good health services. I wish for her advocacy so that she has a real say over the things and services that she requires. I wish for her enough food and heating to be comfortable. I want her to have some lovely things around her in her home, which are beautiful and bring her joy. I want her to have access to good public transport. I want her to have the chance to go on working for as long as she feels she wants to. I want her to be able to retire and stop when the time is right without the fear of becoming impoverished. I want her to be able to see her friends. I want her to feel safe in her home. I want her to have chances to connect with the community around her so that she gets to pass on all the stuff she’s learnt in her life. I wish for her love and when the time comes a decent, calm and as pain free death as possible.
In short, I wish for her no more and no less than I think every human being facing retirement should have.
Now you see why I am a republican. Not that I think republics make humans perfect. But at the very least, if we say we are all interested in equal opportunity then surely these things come a step closer to reality if we actually live in a society that bothers to enshrine those ideas in a constitution. Whether we then go on to make the constitution work is another matter, but lets at least give ourselves a fighting chance.
So there you have it, I like the Queen I loathe the concept of Royalty.
As such I won’t be watching the you know what. I won’t be listening. I won’t be tweeting. I will just be on a hill walking and having a little daydream that will go something like this:
William will be at the alter looking all nervous and then Kate will glide down the aisle and as she reaches him she will suddenly fling back her veil and grasp at his hand and say ‘Wills, I will marry you, but I’ve been thinking, look I can’t do this princess thing. You know, its wrong! It’s just a life of privilege in a world of poverty. That feels bad Wills. Besides, we have our lives to live and we can’t do it living under the microscope of this world’s crazy media fandango!’ and then Wills will rip off his helicopter pack and say ‘Kate I am so made up that you said that, because for years now I’ve been uncomfortable with this monarchy nightmare. I know exactly what you mean. It just feels like a kind of cancer. But I was scared to tell you because I was ashamed of hating this life. I want to give up the navy army whatever this military thing is that I’m in. I hate guns, they’re scary’ and then Kate looks into his eyes and starts to gently cry with joy. She can’t speak for a while and then she says ‘I love you so much’ and then Wills says ‘But will you still love me if I tell you that all my life I’ve dreamt of winning gold at the Olympics in trampolining? Kate? I can’t hide it anymore. I hate flying. I love jumping up and down. That’s what I was born for. Jumping Kate! I wish I could have told you before, only I was scared… Oh God, is it too late Kate?’ and Kate says ‘Darling man, it is never ever too late. I will love you forever and I’ll support you in whatever you want to do’ and the couple fall into each other’s arms and are just about to have a mega snog when the Prince of Doom AKA Philip gets up from his throne thingy and roars ‘Stop with all this nonsense! There will be a wedding here today and then Wills you’ll bloody well go home and impregnate this filly and make her give us an heir because we haven’t got anything like enough already and you’ll start acting like a bloody man or I’ll skin alive you little shit’ and a hush descends upon the cathedral and the young couple’s shoulders droop and all seems lost… But no… Just then. What’s this? The Queen stands up and throws her crown on the floor and kicks her throne over and roars ‘NO! You fucked up my children! You won’t fucking touch my grandkids you bastard!’ The Prince of Doom jumps up and tries to rugby tackle her but she’s too fast and besides Princess Anne puts a foot out and just as it looks like Phil is going to catch her, he falls flat on his face and for once not in a metaphorical manner. The Queen meanwhile is running towards the young lovers and she reaches them and kisses them both on the forehead and shouts out ‘Go children! Run now! RUN into the streets and live your lives and lets put this nonsense behind us. Wills, I have total faith in you. You’ve always been fandabydosy at the trampoline and I know you can do it.’ And with that the Archbishop sprinkles everyone with holy water and someone at the back shouts out ‘Liberte, Egalite Fraternite‘ and the Queen punches the air, the disco kicks in, the street urchins run over the pews and get given sweets and all is well and ever so as it bloody well should be. Forever and ever and
The next morning while Liz is moving her stuff into her bungalow and Wills is doing a bit of trampolining and Kate is pawning the engagement ring - there is a meeting between the Prince of Doom and Elton John in a bunker below the palace about how ‘Candle in the wind’ might be turned into a counter revolutionary anthem and perhaps almost as worrying, there is a meeting of the military elite near the cliffs of Dover, where such things as ‘Liz has lost her fucking marbles’ and ‘I was promised a knighthood if I kept my mouth shut about Iraq’ and ‘I’m not standing for this!’ are clearly heard to be spoken before a good deal of rifle loading starts to take place.
But that dear reader is another story.