That’s how Tim Footman (Cultural Snow) put it. The Telegraph is slightly more circumspect with the headline: The Queen tells the Duchess of Cambridge to curtsy to the blood princesses. (Is there a ‘y’ missing there?) But it’s all the same, and at the risk of incurring (again) the wrath of the Daily Mail it does rather get my goat.
Let me make one thing absolutely clear (especially if there are any tabloid journalists reading). I really don’t mind the Royals. I respect the Queen (well, most of the time) and I love a bit of pomp and ceremony. But when they insist on decapitating duplicate eggs to see which one’s been boiled to their liking or making silly lists of who should bow to whom (and how low and how often) then it all goes a bit Monty Python as far as I’m concerned.
It doesn’t really bother me. Her Majesty can instruct her family to gesticulate according to a spurious hierarchy if she so wishes. (I’m thinking of doing this myself, actually.) She can (as happened to Diana) demote a family member by insisting they lose some magic handle to their name; she can do what the hell she likes. It’s her family. And she’s The Queen.
And that’s the only point that bugs me, just a little. She’s our Head of State. I’m officially her ‘subject’. (Except I’m not. Good Lord above if I were ever hobnobbing with royalty I’d be bowing to the whole bally lot of them and forced to be first to arrive and last to leave.) And I’d rather not have my titular head of state toying with such trivia.
It’s all just a little silly, if you ask me. (I know you didn’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway.) And not a little unworthy of her. Of course I’m sure in reality it’s some courtier who works it all out. But does it have to be done at all? Should anyone be forced to bow?
This week, of course, it’s Wimbledon again and no doubt there’ll be all manner of nods and bows and curtsies to the Royal Box as well as the usual mutterings from the stuffed shirts when some hirsute foreigner refuses to play our silly little social games.
Mind you, at least it’s one game we might still be capable of winning.
Perhaps that’s what Her Maj is doing: getting us all into training? It might be too late for London 2012 but who’s up (or rather, down) for a bit of Olympic bowing?