Here Comes The Bile!


If republican sentiment does not sweep the land in the wake of this most tedious royal wedding, we are a nation of mugs who deserve to be ruled by a bunch of half-bred ingrates from the other side of the world. When Prince Charles ascends to the throne after the demise of his mother — if the shock of actually getting there doesn’t kill him — it will serve us all right if he gets revenge on us all by way of royal edict. Where we should be oiling the wheels on the tumbrils, we’re all, apparently, glued to the coverage.

As pleasant as it would be to blame the media for this outbreak of anti-revolutionary delusion, there’s clearly a market for these bile-inducing royal wedding special editions. It’s not cheap to send the Sunrise crew to London. Wedding fever seems to have numbed the wits of the world into mistaking a despotic patriarchal pageant for an uplifting spectacle that somehow redeems the Windsor family and warrants them a place in our system of government. It’s enough to make you reach for terms like "false consciousness" — after taking a hefty swig of Irish whiskey.

Even the Prime Minister confesses herself a little moved by it all. She’s an embarrassment to childless unmarried atheists the world over. A royal wedding is the Ur-spectacle of a misogynist, antiquated institution. And there are a few notions that have taken root in the lead-up to this absurd ceremony that are particularly pernicious.

Firstly, that the Church is loosening up and moving with the times.

The papers have been full of speculation that the rules of primogeniture might be updated to allow female heirs such that if Wills and Kate bring an unfortunate girl child to the service of the Empire, she can be Queen. Hoo-fucking-ray. The kid is still born to the job. She might be a half-wit with six toes, she might be a latter-day Elizabeth I: either way, she gets to wear the crown. Celebrating that this somehow might make the monarchy progressive is like celebrating the news that your syphilis isn’t yet tertiary. As it happens, David Cameron has ruled out such changes, so it turns out that the syphilis is pretty rampant. But at least they’re thinking about it, right?

Similarly, the fact that the stepmother of the groom, aka Camilla, is a divorcee has been tendered as evidence of this new, progressive monarchy (see Oxymoron). Christ! The rest of the world climbed this hurdle last century. Let’s take a moment to consider whether the history of Charles and Camilla yields any positive exhibits for gender politics or good relationships — there? — and move on. Has anybody taken the bride-to-be aside and bellowed at her to run as fast and as far as she can from this lot.

Kate Middleton’s terribly common roots have been on show to claim that things are loosening up in Buckingham Palace. A commoner has been allowed to marry into the Royal Family? Next they’ll be considering dalliances with black people. Well, once Prince Phillip has shuffled off.

How better to restore class consciousness than to keep banging on about it endlessly in public? Last time I checked, celebrating the fact that a woman without rank could marry a royal and bear royal children wasn’t a great leap forward on the road to a classless society. And in case anyone hasn’t noticed, La Middleton may be a commoner, but she’s not that common. She was hardly scrubbing the floors when she met Wills. There’s a whole other aspect of class which involves economic power and social capital which is being left out. Convenient as David Cameron continues to stun Britons with his vision of a big society in which anything is possible. If a lass like Kate Middleton can marry up, who needs welfare? That’s right ladies, social mobility is back! You just need to marry well. Even Jane Austen knew that.

What’s wrong with all you people? The Emperor has no clothes on! And he’s dancing around smearing himself with baby-seal oil while we applaud his New Collection.

The banal details that ooze from the Palace are particularly galling. Ooh, they’re leaving the hotel at precisely 10.55am! She’ll be stepping on her left foot first! The Royal Member will be dressed to the left, symbolising the chastity of the betrothed! It’s as if we’re somehow meant to feel privileged to be fed such mundane, irrelevant details.

And anyway, who wants to watch someone else’s wedding on television? Would we give a rat’s if these people weren’t "royal"? Most people don’t care this much about their own damn weddings. Go to the pub and poison your livers, for the love of all that’s sentient.

One of the many lamentable features of the coverage of the royal wedding has been the infestation of our screens by toddler princesses. Find a four-year-old and buy her a tiara and Channel Ten will probably send a news team to your door. These must be boom days for the manufacturers of baby Botox.

All this fuss has a brain-numbing effect. Only shrewish feminists, apparently, could fail to be moved by a parade of little princesses in their pretty frocks waiting for Prince Charming to come and put them in a tower. If it takes a shrewish no fun feminist to point out — again — what a sodding letdown of a guiding myth the whole princess caper is, so be it. Thanks again, patriarchy.

Princesses don’t just get to wear frocks and get elegantly stroppy, they become public property. The discussion of Kate Middleton’s virginity shows how noxious this tendency is. Countless articles have appeared to reassure the Empire that the state of the bride-to-be’s hymen is no big deal.

Of course, Middleton isn’t the first to have been bagged as the people’s princess. For a spell there, Princess Mary of Tasmania, aka our Mary, stood alone on the gibbet left vacant by Princess Diana but Mary has been elbowed out of the way to make room for La Middleton. This week, both New Idea and Woman’s Day have put Diana on their covers as if to remind us that princesses are also sacrificial lambs. (Famous and NW have taken a republican line and stuck with bikini body analysis. Kim Kardashian’s arse leers from the cover of Famous. Marat would have been proud.)

Even when it’s working well, the princess deal is a dud. Wait around, get whisked away, get hitched, wear frocks. There’s not a lot of agency involved, not much of the "doing" advocated by modern feminism. And when the princess dream doesn’t work out so well, as in Diana’s case, life is hell. Kate Middleton may be a charming lass, but she’s a pretty crap role model. And given the family she’s joining, she deserves our pity not our envy. Some fantasies are good. This one isn’t.

Who cares? Doth the lady protest too much? Who cares? Every drop of attention that is smeared over this wedding endorses a misogynist, backward, racist, religiously intolerant, inbred tradition that is fundamentally undemocratic. To return to an earlier theme: the royal family, indeed the very institution of monarchy, is a giant syphilitic guma resting on the head of our democracy. It is a congenital disease, passed from one Windsor to the next. We must rid the world of this disease and those who spread it, support it or are mindlessly fascinated by it. A good start was made circa 1917 but the job isn’t finished. Every piece of bunting, every titillating article, every drawn-out, fawning, hat-doffing, feckless, sycophantically enthusiastic report from in front of Westminster Abbey is a pathogen that only further infects the body politic.

Republicans, take advantage of the fact that David Flint and their ilk are beside themselves with excitement and strike while the field is exposed. Tonight, don’t pour yourself a cream sherry and settle into la la land. Put on some boots, make some noise, and disturb as many lame-arse royal wedding parties as you can. Remember Robespierre: "to punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency, to forgive them is barbarity."

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Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.