The minor royals have been corrupted by celebrity culture and have ideas above their station.
No one is a bigger fan of the Duke and Duchess of York than yours truly. After all, where would British industry be without Prince Andrew’s tireless work to forge links with every oligarch and chancer from Moscow to New York? Where would the fight against obesity be without Sarah Ferguson’s commendable work on the problem? Nevertheless, one must admit to being somewhat taken aback when one reads about Princess Eugenie’s plans for her nuptials.
Eugenie is “so keen that her forthcoming wedding matches Harry and Meghan’s that she has invited more guests to St George’s Chapel in Windsor than the church will actually hold”, says Sarah Oliver in The Mail on Sunday. Though it’s not so much the scale of the event that’s the problem, says Katie Glass in The Sun, as the fact that “Eugenie’s insistence on being paraded through the streets of Windsor like Marie Antoinette means security is now going to cost us, the taxpayers, an astronomical £2m”. As a result, “hard-working Brits who have struggled with eight years of austerity and been exhausted by endless police cuts, will bear the brunt of that extra policing”, and all so that we might “catch a glimpse of Eugenie sashaying past in her open-top carriage”. There’s “nothing more tasteless than asking other people to pay for your extravagant wedding”.
“I just pray there is never a disaster which eliminates those above them in the royal pecking order,” says Janet Street-Porter in The Independent. Imagine Eugenie and her sister occupying any position of responsibility. Not only do they “seem naïve and somewhat immature”, but the wedding shows that the eighth and ninth in line to the throne “have ideas above their station when it comes to their place in modern society”. At least “Meghan Markle worked her backside off for years as a jobbing actress before she found her prince”.
Royalty has been corrupted by celebrity culture, says Libby Purves in The Times. As a result, we have to put up with “online bragging and globetrotting hedonism”, lifestyles based on “ceaseless holidays, ligging on billionaires’ islands and yachts”, and self-pitying interviews about the unique harshness of “trying to build careers and presuming themselves role-models”. What makes the latter so particularly galling is that it comes from people “living in royal palaces at a peppercorn rent who have bosses who let you take 25 days holiday leave in the first ten weeks of a new job”.
For all that, there remains something “endearing” about “a young, excited bride” being “carried away by bridezilla vanity”, says Purves. No, the one who should carry the can for this “tactless” display is the father, the Duke of York, who “has served in the navy and must know that things cost money”. Indeed, “he could have told her, and her ridiculous mother, that you can wave perfectly well from a car on the way in, and again on the chapel steps, then stroll to the party and release some smiley pics if you must on your beloved Instagram. Without one police officer losing his day off.”
Tabloid money… let us pray for the socialist archbishop
• I pray every day for Archbishop Justin Welby, says Peter Hitchens in The Mail on Sunday. His endorsement of last week’s wild Blairite demand for more taxes and an assault on the freedom to pass on our hard-earned savings to our children did nothing to improve my opinion of him. Christ at no point says “Blessed are the tax collectors”. When Jesus tells us to help the hungry, the sick and the homeless, he does not tell us to hand on the job to the state and its cold, impersonal agencies, but through charity. Higher tax will mean people will give less. Worse, if you threaten the freedom to inherit, you threaten private property itself. And if you threaten that, you threaten the whole basis of freedom. Without private property we all become slaves of the secular, anti-Christian state. How can that be a Christian desire?
• In my new book, Why We Get The Wrong Politicians, I’ve discovered why well-off people become MPs, says Isabel Hardman in The Sun. It’s because they have to spend so much of their own money on standing. I asked 532 candidates who stood in the 2015 election how much it had cost them. The average was £11,118. Conservatives who won marginal seats spent £121,467. Those who failed to win lost an average of £18,701. Labour was no better. If you won your seat, you lost around £19,022. Those who failed to get elected spent £35,843. This money didn’t go on leaflets. It went on working without pay for up to two years. One broke candidate needed help to pay her mortgage. She didn’t even win her seat.
• Victoria Beckham’s admission in an interview with Vogue that she and husband David are “stronger together than we are as individuals” has been taken as a reference to the couple’s bank account, rather than their wellbeing, says Virginia Blackburn in the Daily Express. For years there have been jibes that the Beckhams stay together for money’s sake. That can’t be true. They are in many ways admirable role models. Both came from humble backgrounds and have got to where they are by ambition and hard work. David spent hours perfecting his football. Tor turned herself from a moderately attractive wannabe singer into a global superstar by dint of determination. Sure, they’re better together, but here’s the thing: maybe they want to be together.