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The young Royal issues

Section
News,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 6 February 2018, 3:35PM
Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

Welcome to your new touchy-feely monarchy for 2018.

The protocol used to be that we were not allowed to touch members of the royal family, except for a handshake - and then only if their hand extended first.

Today, given the antics of our ever-softening millennial monarchy, it's almost impossible to avoid being lunged at and touched by them.

For some, a grope from the Duchess of Copafeel or a hug from the Countess of Cuddles will be a higher honour then being appointed into the Order of the Garter.

It is usually people like me who spend hours pouring over protocol breaches of the great unwashed reaching out and touching royalty.

How can we forget the huge drama over Michelle Obama's hand going into the small of Her Majesty's back back in 2009? Although, as is often forgotten, The Queen did actually initiate that by placing her hand on Mrs Obama's back. (Clearly carried away in the then Obama fever.)

In 2014, American basketball player LeBron James popped a big, sweaty post-game arm round The Duchess of Cambridge. Forget the royal etiquette bit there, who wants to be engulfed by a clammy limb? Not a pristine Duchess, that's for sure. She smiled and hid it well, mind.

This week during Their Royal Highness's very successful official visit to Scandinavia, The Duchess of Cambridge decided to throw caution into the wind and high-fived several Swedish sprogs as she trotted down an icy Stockholm street.

On Wednesday, The Duchess of Cornwall and broadcaster Eamonn Holmes shared a peck on the cheek at the ITV studios during a other-than-that faultless receiving line of daytime faces. Admittedly, from the footage, it looks as if Her Royal Highness initiated the cheek kiss, but the hand on the royal hip was perhaps a bit much for an official function. Had it been a private event, fair enough. The two are clearly well acquainted.

Eamonn Holmes is due to officially receive his OBE at a forthcoming investiture. He'll probably bear-hug The Princess Royal when given the gong.

During their recent Cardiff sojourn Prince Harry and his fiancé Meghan Markle left no child unhugged and posed for selfies like they were going out of fashion.

Granted, Prince Harry's mother was fairly touchy feely but this was done in her latter years and done as a conscious way to separate herself from the estranged in-laws. Diana wanted to be a form of anti-monarchy, which worked for her at the time she was doing it, but it won't work for the actual monarchy; the more "normal" they are the weaker their majesty becomes.

It's not just the increasingly tactile traits they have adopted. Their sub-royal demeanour extends to their vocab. The Duchess of Cambridge was once heard addressing her husband, the second in line to the throne, as "babe". It's hard to imagine Prince Philip ever turning to The Queen and addressing her as such.

Please understand that I have absolutely no nasty republican tendencies and wish for our royal family and monarchy to last for time immemorial, but, frankly, at the current rate that just isn't going to happen.

For me, royalty should be royal. They are not supposed to be like "one of us". They must all be nice people, yes (and they are), but it seems that it's now all a bit too chummy and informal.

Isn't it also a bit patronising to the rest of us to think that unless we show buckets of false, hollow affection and schmooze the crowds that they won't cheer and love us?

We all know that royal funding is not the most secure fiscal fixture. The more that the royal family behave like your average Joe, the weaker the argument is to give them that funding.

We don't fund them to be like us. If they are just like any other family, then what's the need to subsidise them? Why not give us the funding then, instead? It'll play right into the Republic campaign's under-moisturised hands.

There should be a well-waxed, chauffeured Bentley outside the Paddington hospital, not Prince William driving mother and latest child home from the hospital in their family car like a regular bloke.

I want slightly starchy and aloof walkabouts, where royalty doesn't have to feel the need to pander and pretend to be our best friend. It should be serene and stately: a high-five and a squidgy squeeze is neither serene or stately.

Half their role is to set certain aspirations for the rest of us – however unattainable some of those may be.

We avoid touching them not because they are better than us as people, but because of the ancient office and dynastic institution they represent.

It used to be the protocol that we can't touch them. Now, seemingly, the protocol has changed: we may touch them but only after they touch us first.

Daily Mail

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