I only ask because they, the royals, are a bit like the coffee table you keep banging your ankle on for years but can’t be arsed to get rid of: a pain we have got used to. A familiar pain, even. Unlike the coffee table, they are much, much harder to get rid of. More like bindweed. But there they are, still, hundreds of years since their ancestors were the best at fighting and poisoning their brethren and subsequently got all the land. Not really doing much these days, but a constant presence, thanks to a very effective PR machine that has been running on full since a few years after the current queeny got crowned. And very, very quiet about it they are, too. Operating like ghosts, whispering in the ears of media bosses, ‘Imagine if there was no queen! Imagine!!’
Our street is having a party this Friday, to celebrate an arbitrary length of time a woman they do not know or, know much about, has been doing things they also don’t know about but generally are to do with horses. It’s a very mixed street, with lots of South Asian families, also Black and White and some from a Chinese background. Sikh, Baptist, Methodist, Muslim, Hindu and me. It’s a nice street, if a bit dull. People talk to each other and they came together a few years back and ‘met’ thanks, largely, to one energetic woman who is also the instigator of the local Neighbourhood Watch and the go-to person for all things council. She organised a street party a few years ago for one of queeny’s birthdays, not sure which one (they’re hard to pin down). As a consequence, there is a healthy Whatsapp group exchanging info and pics of would-be burglars and car thieves and lots of those flowery, viral blessings and homilies that look sort of psychedelic and generally urge everyone to get on.
It’s pretty much impossible for me to argue a republican position in these circumstances. The queen being, mainly, an excuse for a respectable get-together. I’ll be surprised if the dirge of a national anthem is played, even. No doubt there will be union jacks and possibly toasts but, apart from the flags, the only thing it will have in common with that other flag fest, a National Front rally (millennials ask your parents) will be that it will probably rain.
So, no real problem on my end. I won’t be joining in but neither will I be blasting punk rock from my house windows. If there is a problem it is that the royals seem to be the only thing capable of inspiring a street party in England. Even the end of Covid (if it has ended…) didn’t bring out the trestle tables. And let’s not get into football. Once upon a time, May Day might have worked as a common cause for celebration, but the same PR machine that pushes the lies that the royals are actually useful to the general population in any way is also responsible for trashing any ideas of solidarity around pagan rituals or levelling up or down (AKA revolution), for obvious reasons.
Of course in twenty years' time, when the queen is (probably) dead there might be a Love Island Day. Or perhaps that other old queen, Elton John might take over until he pops his platforms because even the most desperate Brits are much less likely to want to celebrate a mean old pervert (I’m talking about Charles - look up Prince of Wales and ‘I want to be your tampon’, kids, and marvel at the forward fashion of the unashamedly powerful when it comes to blatantly wearing their sexual proclivities like ermine in a voguing competition) and his mean old wife as long as there is that sulphurous whiff of princess assassination (no, that’s not a perfume… yet) about them.
Personally, if we end up with a similar ‘Queen’s Day’ to the one in Holland, which is an excuse to turn the streets into the hugest boot sale in Europe and the fountains run orange then that would satisfy me, second hand shopping being a kind of religion. I’d even welcome Wills as head of the Church of Jumble Sale, once he’s renounced the throne and become the ordinary rich person he so desperately wants to be.