BY MEG LEE CHIN
To the growing number of Country Squire Magazine American readers who might not understand the British Monarchy;
The Royal Family is a living national symbol or logo that is resolutely independent of politics. This separation provides a continuity not possible with the rapidly changing offices of the US President or other elected government heads. The US Head of State changes every four years. But the British Head of State is The Queen and her reign endures until she dies. While America is viewed as a dynamic, modern, but fickle place, the UK is seen as a bit old-fashioned but reliable.
Britain’s greatest exports are in the financial industry and pharma, also in high-end luxury goods such as Rolls Royce cars. As such the Royal Family as a symbol of stability, quality, and high standards makes sense as a sort of national corporate logo.
There is an invisible pact between the Royal Family and the British people. They smile, wave, and present an image of dignity at all times. In exchange, they get to live pampered lives in a castle with people waiting on them hand and foot.
Under no circumstances are they allowed to take sides. They must remain politically neutral. This has practical significance. Anyone with a popular Facebook page knows that as soon as you start spouting off controversial political opinions, not in line with the tastes of your chosen demographic, you start to lose huge chunks of your audience.
The Royal Family is quite literally a real family with all the volatile, crazy dynamics of real families. In order to provide the necessary image of stability, they must operate under a strict code of public behaviour. This is called ‘protocol’ and is baked into the role. But perhaps most importantly, they must keep their mouths shut when it comes to their own personal opinions. With 195 diverse nations on Earth with wildly different values, customs, political systems, and beliefs, they cannot afford to alienate anyone.
So when Meghan Markle insists she was “silenced” the real truth is that she didn’t understand the commitment she made. When she accused the Royal family of “racism” what she didn’t realize was that her race was not a problem. It was her big mouth and attitude. Though consistently warned not to make political statements, she ignored all advice and did it anyway.
Markle was welcomed with an outpouring of love by the British people with open arms. But when she started to lecture them about climate change while hypocritically flying about in private jets, the British press turned on her. For once you join the Royal Family, you lose your voice. That’s the deal. Once you leave you cannot expect the British taxpayer to foot the bill for your security – especially if you leave with $30M.
Meghan expected the “Institution” to manipulate the press to like her. But this isn’t Hollywood where you can buy your image with cold hard cash. The relationship between the Royal Family and the press is symbiotic.
As Americans, you might see the Royal Family as a stuffy, old-fashioned symbol and you may be right. However, whether you like it or not, the last US national symbol etched into the minds of the world was some rude loudmouth with orange skin. The one before that was a blingy family called the Kardashians. As such, I’m sure some of you might appreciate why the majority of British people prefer to stick to their own symbol.
But the other day, after 1000 years of history and 70 years of loyal service, the reputation of the Queen was trashed in just 2 hours. Along with the future of an entire nation and its people, there are very real damages to livelihoods and GDP, not just in the UK but throughout the commonwealth countries.
You have to question the size of the ego of someone who would do that.
Too often Americans abroad want to makeover other countries in their own image. But it is not up to Hollywood or Meghan Markle to impose a Royal “regime change”. That’s up to the British people.
So while you’re feeling sorry for the Little Mermaid who lost her voice and her cowardly Prince (who is perhaps, even more, the guilty party here), you might want to feel sorry for an entire culture that has been savagely smeared.
Disclaimer: I’m no fan of the monarchy. I just detest Hollywood hypocrisy even more.
The onetime frontwoman for the all-female noise unit Crunch, Meg Lee Chin was also a member of the seminal industrial supergroup Pigface. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, her father was a US Air Force electronics engineer. Her mother was Taiwanese.