A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Are you sick the British Royal Family, yet? Yeah, me too, but I’m such a hopeless monarchist that I can’t help myself. Here are a couple of things that may have just gotten lost in the ocean of wall-to-wall-to-wall -to-floor-to-ceiling Royal Wedding media coverage we’ve all been enduring. If you haven’t heard these before, go to bed smarter than when you woke up. If you have heard them, turn off the TV — you’re ODing on purple pageantry.
1 — Just because you marry a prince, you don’t automatically become a princess. The Brits are very strict about this kind of thing. For example, Diana (Harry’s mom) was Diana, Princess of Wales and her granddaughter (William’s daughter) is Princess Charlotte. Notice the difference? In the British Royal Family, the only way to be a real princess is to be born that way, so there’s a subtle difference in title if you merely marry into it. Charlotte’s title comes before her name because she is a princess by birth; whereas, Diana’s title came after her name because it was only an honorific. Meghan Markle isn’t even going to get that close. After the wedding, she will become Her Royal Highness, Duchess of Something-or-other (probably Sussex) — not a princess, at all. In fact, even the girl who will be queen, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge isn’t actually a princess.
2 — Meghan Markle might be marrying into one of the richest families in the world, but she’s never going to see any of that money. In fact, by royal standards, Harry and Meghan will be living very low on the totem pole, indeed. This was one of the chief complains that Sarah Ferguson (Fergie) had when she was married to Prince Andrew — champagne obligations on a beer budget. It’s a popular misconception that all members of the Royal family are living large on the taxpayer’s shilling. Not even close! Since 2012, when Parliament abolished the Civil List, the Queen and Prince Philip are the only ones who get any government money. All the other royals, from Prince Charles to Princess Alexandra (61st in line to the throne) may have some of their “official” expenses paid for, but generally they have to fend for themselves. This puts Harry in a precarious position. Since he doesn’t actually have a job, the Duchy of Cornwall (Prince Charles’ estate) picks up the tab for him — everything from paying the servants to the cost of a new tuxedo. So essentially, if Harry wants any extra pocket money, he’s got to go ask daddy for it. This has led to wild speculation that, given Ms. Markle’s acting career, she may actually have more walking-around money than her husband.
And finally, something silly:
3 — Everyone knows that the Queen loves corgis and her last one, Willow, died very recently. However, most people don’t know that the Queen still has two dogs, Vulcan and Candy. They’re dorgis, a mixed breed that came into the Royal household when one of the Queen’s corgis mated with one of her sister, Princess Margaret’s, dachshunds.