November 07, 2003

Why It's Good Not to Have a King

With Clinton we (or at least those of us who voted for the guy) shared the blame because we chose him to be president. But the allegations against Prince Charles... who is Prince only because William the Bastard called himself King by right of conquest are a different story.

Fortunately, Prince Charles's staff says that the allegations are completely untrue. And Neil Gaiman provides further details:

Neil Gaiman:

  1. The goat was not, in fact, Spanish, but Portuguese, and is currently living safely in a wildlife preserve in East Molesey.
  2. The Tango is a dance made famous in Argentina. "Erotic licking" plays no part in the Tango. Neither, of course, do balloons.
  3. Only a lunatic would apply shoe-polish to a weasel.
  4. If the alleged incidents had in fact occurred in broad daylight during a car-boot sale in Harrow then there would be photographs, and quite possibly a plaster cast.
  5. By now the "Use by" stamps on the yoghurt would have expired, indicating it as unfit for human consumption.

Posted by DeLong at November 7, 2003 10:10 PM | TrackBack


This bit from the article Gaiman points to should win some kind of award for Creative Use of Euphemism For Circumvention of a Gag Order:

"... It is understood, however, that the paper is unlikely to be able to publish its original story on Sunday.

"Fawcett, 40, was the 'indispensable' royal aide said to have regularly squeezed the Prince of Wales's toothpaste. ...

Posted by: s.m. koppelman on November 8, 2003 05:50 AM


The Hanoverians are Hunnish, perverted usurpers. Perhaps the Stuarts will regain the throne now.

Posted by: Zizka on November 8, 2003 08:32 AM


Queens are ever so much to be preferred.
- Dears - Be kind....

Posted by: lise on November 8, 2003 08:55 AM


I was pretty impressed by the BBC last night when I saw their report on the "scandal." They managed to discuss which media organs were reporting it and how, get commentary from friends of Charles, discuss the role of the royal family and their vulnerability to gossip, all without ever letting slip just *what the allegations were.*

Both my wife and I agreed that the BBC makes our media look like a bunch of three year olds. Apparently the English demand grown up news coverage.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on November 8, 2003 09:09 AM


"Only a lunatic would apply shoe-polish to a weasel."

A line of lines. There'll always be an England.

Posted by: jd on November 8, 2003 09:23 AM


This whole story is too reminiscent of the game of Mornington Crescent for comfort. Of course, you will all be familiar with Morningon Crescent, so I don't need to repeat the rules here.

Posted by: Tom Slee on November 8, 2003 09:37 AM


Why o why o why are you people interested in this stuff? This is our rubbish, not for export. It's bollocks. Please leave us to suffer alone.

Posted by: October Revolution on November 8, 2003 10:30 AM


the last stuart died in rome in the XIXth C. I believe there is a plaque somewhere there. He was a cardinal, so no legitimate heirs, The hanoverians were kind enough to provide transportation for him as Napoleon marched on Rome.

Posted by: Big Al on November 8, 2003 10:35 AM


"The Hanoverians are Hunnish, perverted usurpers. Perhaps the Stuarts will regain the throne now."

Hear! hear! If they're going to have a hereditary monarchy, they should go big or go home. Prince Charles is a prince only because James II was deposed in 1688. I for one could get behind a current Stuart claimant (if such a person could be find, perhaps working as a mid-level bureaucrat in one of the Benelux countries?)

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct on November 8, 2003 10:37 AM


This is all such marvelous fun. Saves me fretting about how to be part of Labor and regret every step of Tony Blair. Chaaarrrles, back to wondering about how modern architecture got to be so modern.

Posted by: Ari on November 8, 2003 10:38 AM


And again the Dutch royal family is beaten by the British. Great sadness in the Netherlands.

@ilse: we have a queen instead of a king. They come up with interesting scandals as well

Posted by: FransGroenendijk on November 8, 2003 11:05 AM


I would say if you want to compare, on the one hand, Bush and his aggressive politics, and, on the other, the English monarchy. I would prefer the latter any day. In nany case, the Americans make an ideology out of patriotism, which makes them far more dangerous than any monarchy that I know of (except the great friends of the Americans (lol) the Saudis).

Posted by: Advanced Calculus on November 8, 2003 11:33 AM


I suspect I would disagree with A. Calculus on most things, but there is one thing to be said for a constitutional monarchy. By distinguishing the ceremonial from the political head of state, it allows a cleaner separation of patriotic sentiments from political argument.

In times of crisis, a constitutional monarch does make it easier to criticise political heads of state (should anyone have the need to do so) without being tarred by the brush of anti-patriotic or treacherour behaviour.

Posted by: Tom Slee on November 8, 2003 12:29 PM


What Tom said.

Say what you will of Good Queen Bess, she could--in a pinch--fire Tony Blair. (And who will assure us of a pinch-free future? Hm?)

Those who say that this could "bring down the Monarchy" are neglecting the fact that Charles's unfitness for the Throne has been stacking up so high and so wide for so long now that I think every sane observer expects a generation to be quietly skipped. In Victoria's time they knew how to handle such things (HRH the Duke of Clarence, RIP); the bag of tricks is emptier today.

Watch carefully as the future constitution (small 'c') of republican (small 'r') Britain is drafted. The President will NOT be given the to dismiss the Government or dissolve Parliament under ANY circumstances.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on November 8, 2003 12:51 PM


No, no... what we really need to do is have have the Targaryens return to reclaim the Iron Throne. Even if you ignore the issues of the legitimacy of the current king owing to the infidelity of the Lannisters, and the usurpation of Eddard Stark's regency, the Baratheons never had a solid claim in the...

Err... wait, never mind.

I don't know. The thing is, why isn't it *worse* when say, Clinton had scandals, than when Charles does? As you say, We the People bore part of the responsibility as far as Clinton went. As a result, Clinton scandals were an indictment of, to a limited extent, the people as a whole. With Charles, on the other hand, Charles' scandals are an indictment of, well, Charles. I know there are plenty of reasons (hereditary) monarchy is a senseless, outdated, medeival, and fundamentally anti-egalitarian institution, but this case -- press scandalmongering -- I'd think it's one of the few situations in which it seems to be preferable.

Posted by: Julian Elson on November 8, 2003 12:58 PM


>>No, no... what we really need to do is have have the Targaryens return to reclaim the Iron Throne.<<

Been reading a little too much George R.R. Martin, have we? A warning: he doesn't write all that fast...


Posted by: Brad DeLong on November 8, 2003 01:11 PM


Frank Wilhoit wrote :

"Say what you will of Good Queen Bess, she could--in a pinch--fire Tony Blair. (And who will assure us of a pinch-free future? Hm?)"


If this happened, this would need to be either
(a) preceeded by a vote in the House of Commons along the lines of 'That this House has confidence in the Blair government' that was lost by Blair's party, or
(b) the rash and ill-advised firing of the Prime Minister would be followed by Parliamentary ratification of a new Act of Succession, like the one that hired William and Mary to replace the Stuarts. Failure by Elizabath Windsor to comply with this act will result in some combination of prison, exile or (in extreme cases) execution.

Basically, the argument about the Crown vs Parliament was sorted out a long time ago. Parliament won.

Posted by: Ian Whitchurch on November 8, 2003 02:16 PM


There is in fact a Stuart claimant. It used to be Prince Max of Bavaria (or Max, Prince in Bavaria, or some other variant on the same theme). I think it's now his grandson.

I doubt he'd be an improvement.

Posted by: jam on November 8, 2003 02:41 PM


"Say what you will of Good Queen Bess, she could--in a pinch--fire Tony Blair. (And who will assure us of a pinch-free future? Hm?)"

Who would wish to live a pinch free life. I shudder at the thought.

Frans assures us there are Queens aplenty if only we care to look. Well, look to Frans nice Blog. Though the Dutch have a way with spelling that is beyond reason.

Posted by: lise on November 8, 2003 03:12 PM


I'm pretty sure Dutch spelling is more phonetic than ours. That's why we're so much smarter; we have to study harder in school. (Making the Chinese the smartest people in the world, unfortunately.)

Quite some time ago Francis Strand had a picture up of a cute blonde Swedish princess wearing camouflage during her military training. (Not at all like that awful semi-criminal Dutch royal fiancee.) She (the Swede) could definitely rule me anytime.

I may have been wrong about the Stuarts. Perhaps there's a pre-Anglo-Saxon claimant still hiding out somewhere in Wales or Brittany (the province, I mean, not Spears.)

Posted by: Zizka on November 8, 2003 05:27 PM


I fully agree with Zizka. Along those lines, we should reintroduce the old UK pre-decimal pounds-shillings-and pence system. At school we had two separate sets of sums -- "regular" sums and "money" sums. I'm sure it was good for us, but it was a real pain in the neck.

Quick, what's 3 pounds 11 shillings and sevenpence minus 2 pounds 17 and 9 pence?

Posted by: Tom Slee on November 8, 2003 06:51 PM



It gets worse.

At time, England also used Marks, and shilling with a number of pennies other than twelve.

Posted by: Ian Whitchurch on November 8, 2003 10:58 PM


Really, I think it high time the monarchical principle was updated and caught up with the development of modern society. Why not have a rotating monarch? There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year. That means that each citizen of the U.K. could be king or queen for a second about every two years or so.

Posted by: john c. halasz on November 9, 2003 02:30 AM


Ian - you learn something new every day. Thanks.

My current favourite is the suggestion by a mathematics professor here in Canada to introduce an 83c piece. He worked out which denomination would most cut down the number of coins to be given in change. Clearly it depends a lot on what other coins there are, but 83c is what he came up with. I think it's a fine idea: an 83c piece would give us all that extra mental workout we need.

Posted by: Tom Slee on November 9, 2003 05:59 AM


I would say approximately 13 shillings and 10 pence

Or was it 20 pence in a shilling and 12 shillings in a pound in which case it would be 5 shillings and 18 pence.

On the other hand if a shilling were worth 83 pence then oh never mind. At least it was less aweful than knuts and sickles and Galleons (and don't you dare claim you haven't read a Harry Potter book)

Posted by: Robert on November 9, 2003 10:08 AM


Isn’t it ironic? Seriousness is my middle name. (Take a look at this post that might be if interest to US-voters too
and to this one
on setting a limit to the size of corporations to be convinced ). And what happens?
I comment on a light way on a light subject and attract visitors to my site.
Yes that’s irony. Or maybe it’s what Edward Hugh of Bonoboland emphasizes: the “loose” connections on internet are the most interesting ones.

Posted by: FransGroenendijk on November 9, 2003 11:00 AM


"HRH the Duke of Clarence, RIP"

Dude, I thought he reigned as William IV, right before Victoria. Or do you have some other near-Victorian Clarence in mind?

Posted by: rea on November 9, 2003 11:06 AM


The Duke of Clarence whom I had in mind was Queen Victoria's eldest grandson. History is, of course, written by the winners; but it seems clear that there was something disqualifyingly wrong with him, and his death in 1892 has not always been considered quite natural. Someone has even tried to make a case that he was Jack the Ripper.

btw I certainly assumed that any Royal initiative to dismiss the Prime Minister would, by definition, occur in unprecedented circumstances of immense gravity--just such as Mr. Blair losing a vote of confidence but refusing to resign. Underneath a highly-polished surface, I think the man is barking mad, and there is nothing I would put past him.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on November 9, 2003 03:59 PM


I have two words for Ian Whitchurch:

Gough Whitlam

Posted by: jam on November 9, 2003 04:30 PM


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