Donald MacInnes: By George, a princely survey has driven me to distraction


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The Independent Online

Being as I have always been honest about my status as a sort of placebo wordsmith – giving the impression of having genuine journalistic acumen without actually having any quantifiable justification for doing so – one might imagine that few people within the serious media world would give me the time of day. Not so.

Now and again I receive press releases from actual public relations professionals who, frankly, should know better. Despite the fact that I have stressed that I have little understanding of, and even less interest in, the labyrinthine machinations of domestic and international fiscal affairs, I still get emails from pension providers or management consultancies, alerting me to their hot news and expecting me to do something about it. I stare at their information for what seems like hours, blankly mouthing the first few words, before turning back to YouTube to look at videos of monkeys in people clothes.

However, this week I received an email which was far more offensive than any previous assumption of my business nous. Sadly, this email assumed that I would be interested in – and, like my Pulitzer Prize-winning hero, Dave Barry of the Miami Herald, I swear I am not making this up – "the Top 50 Reasons Why We All Love Prince George".

The sender of the email, who I shall call Emily, described a poll to which apparently many people had responded, giving their own reasons for appreciating the pampered princeling. Allow me to quote from the astonishing missive: "Many respondents adored his cuteness, identifying things like his smile and chubby cheeks. Others appeared to be more nostalgic, claiming that they loved him because his gran was the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Others gave more obscure reasons with some saying that they adored him because his other gran used to be a flight attendant. One woman who took part in the survey said: 'I absolutely adore Prince George, everything from his smile to his sense of fashion and one day he will be King.' One mum added: 'He looks just like the perfect baby, he's got those big blue eyes and such a cheeky smile.'"

My colleague (who is from Merseyside and therefore not unfamiliar with feelings of dislike towards anyone from south of Ellesmere Port) described this communication as "the worst thing I have ever read. Ever. Really, ever."

I would tend to agree with him and not just because I find the Royal Family as appealing as an underdone fried egg garnished with a twitching wasp. It's not just what they represent, but what their existence does to people like poor Emily, with her 50 reasons. This makes me regard Emily in a rather pitying manner. But then I read number 28: "He will own one of the greatest private art collections in the world," and I just want to throw Emily off the top of Nelson's Column.

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