The royals are done for — and it’s all thanks to Diana

The royals are done for — and it’s all thanks to Diana, by Rod Liddle.

Unfair though this might seem, it is likely that Diana has brought the royal family close to an end, in a meaningful sense, in three ways: her behaviour, her genes and her death. (Unfair because, of course, she cannot be blamed for the latter two.)

She was at one with the New Labour idea that the royal family should be somehow democratised — the recourse of a political party which didn’t quite have the guts to call for an abolition of the monarchy and so reached instead for an idiotic non-sequitur. This was reflected in the oxymoronic title coined by Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell: ‘the People’s Princess.’ But you cannot democratise a monarchy without chopping their heads off, and there is no such thing as a people’s princess.

Forcing the royals to abase themselves by emoting, by being folksy, by speaking in a common demotic, does not make the monarchy any more democratic — all it does is rob the monarchy of those things which have enabled it to survive all these centuries. Robs it of a sense of mystery, of aloofness from the general, of dignity, of being above the fray and ruling uncomplainingly. The very qualities we have witnessed for the past 65 years from Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.

All now gone, I think. When Prince Philip announced his retirement earlier this year one could sense the baton being handed over to a very different set of creatures, creatures who will not be rude to foreigners but might well cry on television. It is difficult to see what exactly is royal about Princes William and Harry, except for their blood and their titles. And nobody thinks any of that matters any more, do they?

hat-tip Stephen Neil