Huzzah, citizen subjects of the Commonwealth and those who sort of wish they were! As Tablet’s official senior royal correspondent, I take great pleasure in informing you—in case you are deaf, blind, or utterly indifferent—that your future sovereign has been born. (Although given the longevity of the Windsor family, if you can read this now, I wouldn’t count on seeing much of his reign. Also, the rising tides will have long subsumed England by then, so anybody who does see it will by necessity have evolved eyeballs onto the gills.) His Royal Highness is currently named Prince __________ of Cambridge. Apparently, they aren’t revealing the real name until the bris, lest they attract the attention of the evil eye (and giving further grist to “The Windsors are Marranos” conspiracy theorists who exist mainly among the denizens of Stormfront/those of my relatives who are still convinced Ringo Starr is a Jew), but London bookmakers are currently offering 12/1 odds on Carlos Spencer Philip Danger. [Ed. note: George Alexander Louis. FOOLS!!!]
As is typical in such situations, much of the breathless press coverage has been focused on Duchess Kate’s perfectly highlighted blowout and bespoke post-natal wardrobe, as well as imagining the catfight that must surely have ensued when Carole Middleton and Camilla tried to decide what to wear to hospital. (Note the British lack of a “the”! Authenticity, thy name is Shukert!)
But what all of them seem to note [apart from, a) how very, very sad it is that Diana isn’t here to see this day and think of some ridiculous “young-sounding” euphemism she would rather be called than “Grandma” and, b) how relieved Prince Philip must be not to have to pretend, at his age, that he’s excited about a girl] is how far the Royal Family has come in the public’s esteem in just a few short years.
As a very old person, I can tell you that this is absolutely true. I still remember the queen’s so-called annus horribilis (and belive me, I sympathize, since the same thing happens to me every time I eat Indian food from that place where the cab drivers go), what with the messy divorces and Prince Charles wanting to be a tampon and Fergie getting her toes sucked by J.R. from Dallas, I think. And that, horribilis as it all was, was just a preview for the angry, teddy-bear-wielding mob that stormed the gates of Buckingham Palace with very strongly worded notes attached to bouquets of flowers. (I saw The Queen. I felt Her Majesty Helen Mirren’s existential terror.)
But all that seems as far away now as the Glorious Revolution and the subsequent protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. From the hordes of people camped out, in this heat, desperate to catch a glimpse of an exhausted young mother and a human organism that doesn’t even exactly know what poop is yet, even the Guardian can reasonably infer that the Royal Family in the modern era has never been so popular as they are now.
Which got me thinking of another entity that in the recent course of world opinion has been similarly seen as an outdated, even sinister vestige of colonialism, an inherently unjust construction, or at least, a troublesome one that might, to some people, seem to have outlived its immediate usefulness, and how it might internalize some of the lessons of the Windsors to improve its own diplomatic standing and reputation. And so, friends of Tablet, wherever/whomever you may be, I come to you with a modest proposal:
The State of Israel needs a Royal Family.
I know, I know, it sounds crazy. It’s true, Israel was started as a nominally socialist state, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past 60 years (besides a grudging respect for the work ethic of Princess Anne), it’s that the world does not give one shit for socialism, unless the point is to somehow shame America (and I say this as a socialist). And you can’t say there isn’t historical precedent. The Hebrews begged God for a king, so he gave them Saul, who didn’t work out so well, and then David, who did, and then Solomon, who gave every mother an effective way of settling disputes between children (if you can’t share, no one gets to play with it!), and a Temple so holy and enduring that his children still fight with each other over who gets to wear what in front of its one remaining wall today.
As for just whom we might choose long to reign o’er us, I suppose it’s too much to ask God to help out again (from what I hear, he’s honestly more of a Kardashian person), but we do have the next best thing: reality television. Let’s have a real, old-fashioned, Queen Esther-style contest to see just who is worthy of the actual title of “King of the Jews” (crown of thorns not included).
And when Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman (should things fall apart with the ballet dancer), or Prince Harry (after he converts) and Mila Kunis are finally crowned and forced to procreate, let us stand outside the gates of Hadassah Hospital with crowds of journalists from all sorts of previously hostile countries and cheer with the knowledge that the news today, and forever, will be about stockings, not settlements; shoes, not bombs.
Congratulations, William and Kate, on little Prince Carlos, long may he reign. Now help us put the “hat” (preferably extraterrestrial looking, by Philip Treacy) back in the “Hatikvah.”
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