Call me paranoid, but in recent years, we seem to be bombarded with pro-Royal media coverage, to a greater degree than ever before, as far as I can remember. I should make it clear from the outset, that I consider the Princess Diana phenomenon to be quite different, as it was largely focused on the individual.
On Monday, June 13th, I shall turn 40 years old, for the first and last time. There will be no second, or 'official' birthday, and as far as I am aware, no street party to mark this milestone, in an otherwise unremarkable life. For that, I am truly thankful. This, I couldn't help but notice, due to media saturation, is in stark contrast to the "three days of events to mark the Queen's official birthday celebrations" as the BBC put it. Nor, could I help but think, that it seems only a short time ago, that the media was dominated by QE2's last birthday. That would be, because it was in April, the month in which Saint Betty was actually born.
It feels as if barely a month goes by, without some reason or other, for the media to extol the virtues of Her Majesty. We've had her surpassing, Queen Victoria as not only the longest- lived, but also the longest- reigning British monarch. On top of all that, she's also the world's oldest reigning monarch. In 2012 there was all the fanfare of the Diamond Jubilee and even a star turn as 'Jane Bond' or Uber-M, for the London Olympics. The Golden Jubilee of 2002, seemed a damn sight less than ten years earlier, thanks to the media taking every opportunity to remind us just how wonderful QE2 is. We are constantly told how remarkable this woman is, when in reality, all that she has achieved, has been as a result of simply growing old. We are expected to swoon in astonishment, that this redoubtable old trouper has reached the grand old age of 90. Really? It's hardly surprising, given that there is even doubt, as to whether she's ever had to so much as wipe her own backside.
Conveniently forgotten, or at the very least, played down, is the hostile public reaction QE2 and the Royal Family received, for their perceived indifference, in the wake of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Nor, is much coverage given to the fact that she raised, or rather, oversaw the raising, of four children, who have turned out to be totally dysfunctional. Rarely mentioned, are the string of adulteries, affairs, broken marriages, questionable associations and dubious financial arrangements of the Queen's offspring. Instead we are to celebrate, to love and to bow and scrape before this shining beacon of dedication, hard work and resilience. Of course, this all fits in rather well with the Tory agenda; we must all strive to be like QE2, i.e work yourself into the ground, until you drop. Dead.
In recent years, the Royal propaganda machine has expanded, adding a second channel, on which to heap praise and adoration upon the monarchy. The stars of this second outlet, are of course, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Wills and Kate. What is in actual fact, a rather pedestrian story, man meets woman, falls in love, gets married and reproduces, has been transformed by the media, into something akin to the second coming. Wills and Kate's wedding in April 2011, didn't quite match the hysteria that greeted the ill-fated union of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer in 1981, but it wasn't too wide of the mark. The Daily Express, Daily Mail and Telegraph, seem determined to make Kate Middleton, into something of a Princess Di mark 2. I'm not sure they've succeeded quite yet, the Duchess of Cambridge doesn't, as far as I can tell, inspire the same sycophantic adulation bestowed upon her husband's mother, during and after her lifetime. Still, they persevere, never a day goes by, without some article or other, fawning over whatever outfit the Duchess has seen fit to wear, whilst carrying out her Royal engagements. The Royal couple's recent tour of India was a perfect example of the propaganda machine in full flight, with near, real-time updates, being placed disproportionately and ludicrously high up on the various British television news channels agendas.
Pregnancy and childbirth, predictably, increased the value of the Duchess of Cambridge's stock considerably. She was hailed as a veritable superwoman for enduring a severe case of morning sickness, in a way that no mere mortal could hope to emulate. On the 22nd of July 2013, Kate gave birth to a son, Prince George, who turned out, naturally of course, to be the cutest baby the world had ever set eyes upon. That was until, on the 2nd May 2015, when Kate surpassed herself, by giving birth to an even cuter baby, Princess Charlotte. According to a woman called Sophie, who it seems, is the wife of an obscure Royal cousin, Prince George is a "very clever, articulate little boy". How marvellous. How wonderful. How odd, given that his father and grandfather have always struck me as being somewhat deficient of the grey matter. Thinking about it, there no recent members of the Windsor clan, who are, or were, renowned for their keen intellect, who spring immediately to mind.
Even Prince Harry, once depicted as the Royal wild child, the playboy younger sibling to the heir of the heir, has undergone something of a transformation in the media. Now portrayed as something of a Wunder Prinz, Harry is widely praised for his military service, charitable pursuits and is credited with creating the Invictus Games in 2014. Fair play to him.
Of course, it isn't all one sided, well not entirely at least. In order to be seen to be even handed (something in which they have failed miserably), the media produce the occasional negative story, usually involving minor a Royal. Prince Andrew is something of a source of embarrassment, in recent times, there have been his controversial stint as The UK's Special Trade Envoy, his friendship with Jerry Epstein described on Wikipedia as "a man with a conviction in Florida for soliciting an underage girl for prostitution" and sex abuse allegations made in the USA by a woman called Virginia Roberts. Similarly, Andrew's daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie are often portrayed in less than flattering light. Indeed, the Royal sister's seem to have made something of a profession of being princesses, drawing negative copy for their numerous annual holidays.
None of these intermittent, negative headlines, come remotely close to derailing the Windsor Express. The media never miss the slightest opportunity to produce a glossy souvenir magazine, six page centrefold or vomit inducing documentary. Now, even I, who believe that the Monarchy should be wound up when the Queen passes, can see that Her Majesty represents continuity, reliability and reassurance to many people in these otherwise turbulent times. As the Queen gets older, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are being increasingly promoted as the future of the monarchy. It is both interesting and quite telling, the way in which Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, are increasing ignored and overlooked by the media as the months roll by, but that's another story. Meanwhile, the glut pro-Royal media coverage, is, for me at least, not unlike being force-fed a rather stale Christmas cake, that is well past it's sell by date.