For What it’s Worth…

April 29th, 2011

Officially, I'm a Canerican… the perfect yin and yang between Canada and America, so when stuff like Royal Weddings come along, I get all confused.  So many of my friends in this lovely country get really upset at the monarchy, and I, having been socialized in a Commonwealth country, have a hard time with some of their arguments, like "it's just a bunch of rich people"  "who oppress the poor"  "sucking off the national coffers" "a bunch of in-bred layabouts".  

So here is Jessica Porter's Official Defense of the Current Royal Family:  

1. Yes, the monarchy get some $ from the people, but it amounts to one dollar per year per person. The vast majority of royal wealth is from landholdings of the Queen's. And hey, owning property is the American way, no?  If you'd like to to know more about where the royals get their money from and how it's used, they are completely devoted to transparency and have this website to explain it.  And by the way… How much are you and I paying for Iraq?  More than a buck, I'll bet. 

In terms of the wedding itself, it was a private affair and the only charges made to the public were for security and police… No one's quite sure how much the Queen shelled out for the gig, but what we do know is that Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End cost $300 million.  No matter how many funny hats are worn and profiteroles served, I think the wedding worked out to a weeeee bit less than that.  Funny we get all Spartan when it comes to a royal wedding while we turn a blind eye to our own excesses.  

2. Since 1993, the Queen has been paying taxes. Up to 200 million pounds per year. That's WAY more than they're getting from the taxpayers (38 million pounds). So they don't seem to be a financial drain on the system. In fact, they support the people in many ways, including not only taxes but all the revenue generated around their appearances, souvenirs, etc.

3. So we sit in judgment from a country where our "royalty" is Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and politicians who are totally owned by corporations. Although it is a democracy, our votes mean less and less against big business dollars since we've decided corporations are individuals… And yet we indulge in a weird haughtiness about one family, who happens to be rich… but isn't the accumulation and display of wealth basically an American ethic? Don't we normally worship the rich?  The Kennedys?  Martha Stewart?  P. Diddy?  Yes, but not if they're British and inherited it… Huh.

4. Unlike our King Charlie, British royalty does not spend $500,000 a week on cocaine.  Between the members of the Windsor family, they do upward of 3,000 acts of charitable and community service per year. In fact, they live lives completely devoted to public service.  Their endorsements and visits generate untold revenue for local and global charities.  Not such a bad thing in a David Cameron economy.

And unlike American celebrities or politicians, the Royals are not owned by big business, so they can do what feels right to them. That's refreshing. Diana showed the world it was okay to hold the hand of a person with AIDS, back when they were social pariahs and dropping dead like flies. She also championed the landmine issue in Cambodia. Prince Charles was into organics and the environment before ANY famous Americans were… like in the 70s. All the royal men serve in the military.  These people are far from layabouts. In anything, they are more like rich servants to the public. We just get our panties in a twist that they wear expensive clothing.  As they say in England "it's a bit rich" that we feel entitled to judge them from the comfort of our increasingly materialistic, soulless culture. 

5.  BTW, they have absolutely no political power anymore. Many people don't know that. They are simply figureheads.  They aren't oppressing anyone.  That's why this is a defence of the Current Royal Family.  Can't speak for the past…

6. These days I think the wedding was just positive hypnosis in a dark world. Those two 29-year olds who got married today are ten times more mature and responsible than, well, I certainly was at their age.  I found it lovely to see them stand up straight and be counted.  And their lives will actually be about something more than video games and the rat race.  What's so wrong with that?  And of course, some of that is because they're wealthy, but Kate Middleton comes from very hardworking parents who earned every cent of their wealth… they have lived the American dream, UK-style.  So our future Queen Kate will bring new blood to the mix.  Hurrah.  

In a world full of very serious problems, it was really nice to see two people come together and remind us all of halfway-decent behavior. The service was about God, and love, and serving something bigger than oneself.  And 2 billion people watched, which almost never happens anymore… the whole world getting together and tuning into something more beautiful than a mass killing and more  meaningful than an Oscar speech. I think that rules.  Pun intended. 

Finally, I haven't been blogging lately because i'm writing a new book.  It's really hard to do both.  Please bear with me. 


7 responses to “For What it’s Worth…”

  1. Berry says:

    Thank you for writing this. The bazaar world of hierarchal fantasy people, whether Brad Pit or the Pope, question the perpetual absurdity of humanity — but in our Spring of bleak planet crushing news there was something endearing, uplifting and hopeful about the marriage of these two seemingly rock solid youngsters.
    I don’t even have a TV, but I was up at 4 to listen on BBC.

  2. Daryn says:

    What a lovely article, I agree with it completely. I thought the wedding was lovely, loved the hats, loved the planning, Would loved to have been invited, but had a lovely time drinking tea and eating cucumber sandwiches.
    But, I hated the flowers.

  3. Patricia says:

    Here, Here Jessica!
    Thanks for enlightening us.

  4. Eric, Sanae & Amanda says:

    Thanks for writing and we totally agree with you!

  5. Klara LeVine says:

    When I saw the subject matter was about THE WEDDING, I thought, oh no, no more – but it was EXCELLENT – well done, Jessica!!!! And yes, it was so much more news worthy than all the horror stories now in the papers.

    As far as blogging, maybe you can give us a taste of your new book (you know, like an appetiser 🙂 ) and share with us a paragraph or two??

    Hope LA is treating you well

  6. Deena K. says:

    Beautifully put. I think you forgot one thing… With the exception of the ones who marry into the royal family, not a single one of them gets to decide if this is the life they want to live. They are born in wether they like it or not. Yet they all still manage to conduct themselves respectfully and charitably, even when they have paparazzi chasing them literally to death. It’s not all wine and roses.
    I did hear that Prince Charles has never put toothpaste on his toothbrush, but then they said that he made over 500 charitable appearances last year. Yeah, um… I’d need someone to put toothpaste on my toothbrush too, and then I’d need a nap.

  7. Richard Benjafield says:

    Spot on, sister! Now that we are being robbed by the Cleggeroons, truly as malign as Mrs Thatcher, I’m relieved for the steadiness that tradition brings to happy events such as this. The Royals have modernised relatively gracefully, eventually, and it’s to be grateful for. If we didn’t have them we would be tossing up the merits of Donald Trump. That was a neat piece of savaging there, by the way, from your President O. Cherish him whilst he lasts. Perhaps create a hereditary monarchy with Barack as the first king. You won’t regret it!

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