In one sense, nothing. While the British monarchy mattered a heck of a lot during the American Revolution, it’s merely a figurehead institution now.
Nobody rational could envy the royal monarchs, including Prince Harry, whose internationally televised wedding was today. None of them have privacy. None of them have much of a right to be real people.
Perhaps half the population — not only in Britain, but in America, too — fancies unlimited wealth and celebrity as the ideal. But authentic self-worth and self-respect can only come from honest achievements made outside the constant irrational eye of what passes for media. Wealth and fame might make sense as a reward, but not as an underlying cause of happiness. As the late Princess Diana eventually discovered, you don’t find authentic serenity when you’re in the Royal Family.
At the same time, the popular and widespread attention given to events like a Royal wedding reveals something rational: a reverence for class, elegance and beauty. You don’t have to endorse royalty to love the things that royalty provides, such as all the spectacular, fairy-tale like romantic imagery. Only a hardened anti-materialist could resist the urge to appreciate such beauty, whether watching the Royal wedding or finding it elsewhere.
We live in an utterly callous and cynical age. It’s way beyond politics. People are cynical and unprincipled in daily life. They’re hard, and they’re often unkind and needlessly mean. They go mostly on seat-of-the-pants emotions rather than intellectually accepted principles, which is why integrity seems like mostly a thing of the past. Solid men and women do exist, but they’re few and far between.
Yet most people are not bad or evil. The best within them yearns for something beautiful, good and true. They’re taught by the most educated that there is no truth, but deep in their hearts and at the back of their minds, most people know this has to be false.
There IS a difference between the good and the bad, between the beautiful and the ugly. And an event like the Royal wedding, whatever you think of the particulars, reminds us this difference is real.
It makes me sad that so many might depend on fairy tales to give them any hope for beauty in existence. The real challenge is to make beauty and elegance part of your life, whether on a limited budget or with the wealth of the Royals. Too many don’t distinguish between inherited wealth and earned wealth, which fuels their false belief that anyone who gets wealth does so by chance, which simply isn’t true. Great Britain is now, sadly, an essentially socialized country, with millions living mostly if not exclusively off the good will of the state. They think they have transcended royal rule, but they’re under the thumb of an even more unkind and intrusive bureaucratic state than Kings and Queens of olden times could ever have devised.
But, all things considered, I’d still rather live in a world where people appreciate elegance and beauty than detest it. Beauty and reverence still exist, however hampered by the wrong-headed rulers and ideas we still allow to take hold of us.
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