Look Back at the Royal Revenge
I have not gone on much about the royal snub to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown last month, but I wanted to quote (with permission) from an email I received from Gavin Turner. He says he is “less an admirer of Blair” than me, but he feels that “one’s personal views (or indeed the royal family’s) should have nothing to do with the proprieties in this case”. He writes:
Naively I assumed it must have been just a pretty unpardonable cock-up, and that by the time people realised they hadn’t been invited it was too late to recover the situation. But clearly Cameron would have seen the guest list and had the opportunity to say to the Palace: “You simply cannot do this to distinguished former politicians, whatever you may have thought of them.”
It was disappointing, when by general consent the whole event was so well planned and executed in almost every other respect, and will have done the monarchy, the Church of England and William himself a lot of good. I agreed with the FT that it was Britain at its battiest, and its best, and will have done us no harm at all in international goodwill, tourism, etc. I also thought, as a minor detail, that the Bishop of London gave far and away the best wedding sermon I have ever heard, and even the prickly Scots cleric Cardinal Keith O’Brien, not one assumes an enthusiast for Anglicanism, described the ceremony as impressively solemn, and, he hoped, likely to encourage more young people to approach marriage with a better understanding of the deep commitment that should be involved.
Also, a minor point perhaps, but as someone interested in church music, I thought James O’Donnell and his choir did an amazing job, and provided a wonderful international showcase for English cathedral music - a unique by-way of English cultural life.
The snub was depressing also because it shows that the Queen as well as Prince Charles (whom we all know of old) is perfectly capable of interfering in a political issue and of using her network of privilege in a spiteful personal way, when one had liked to think she was above all that …
What is more worrying for the long term is the implication that William was in on the decision to exclude these two Labour politicians. Charles does not understand how the monarchy really ought to be and could be modernised after the Queen is gone … The sense we now have that William, in spite of the superficial impression of trendy modernity, may not understand these issues either, is deeply worrying for the longer term security of the monarchy - and I remain a low key, least-worst system monarchist.
I think it is possible that the omission was a mistake, or a concatenation of mistakes; that it simply hadn’t occurred to anyone involved in the bureaucracy. As I say, these people have a blind spot for their own partisanship. Possible, but unlikely. It is rather more possible that Cameron did not see the list in time to make representations, but, again, he should have done.
For the sake of completeness, I should add a ninth to my list of possible reasons why the royal family would not have wanted Blair at the wedding, which is the possibility of protests from the 30 or so self-righteous fundamentalists who turned up at the Chilcot inquiry hearings. They could not have got within half a mile of the Abbey and, if that were a factor, it is only one more reason for thinking less of the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William.
PS. If you have not seen the video of the Royal Wedding (Star Wars style), don’t bother. It is childish, silly and not at all amusing.Tagged in: monarchy, republicanism, royal family, tony blair
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