I'm starting to see that the Royal Family do actually pay their way, as an ongoing exhibition of how utterly stupid the upper classes are. Who else could come out with the magnificent statement that they aren't going to their own son's wedding, but on no account should this be seen as a snub? The Queen will probably follow it up with an explanatory statement: "It's not a snub. I'm having my hair done that day and you know how booked up they get at the salon around Easter, especially on a Saturday. I had to cancel it last time to meet the Prime Minister of Kenya or someone, and it's getting all frazzled and itchy."
Maybe this is a traditional line first used by Henry VIII, when he announced to the press: "Although I have had my wife Anne Boleyn beheaded, this is no way intended as a snub. It is purely in keeping with her wishes to maintain a low-key profile, which should now be much easier."
Apparently, the Queen's non-attendance will be due to the couple's wishes for this "low-key" affair. Which means when they first discussed it, they must have said: "We don't want anything fancy - just Windsor Castle."
Anyway, even in a low-key wedding you would expect a fleeting visit from the couple's parents, so they must be going for a new level of low-key. Perhaps Charles will add: "We want it so low-key that I'm not even going myself." Or, if they're all agreed it should carry a degree of informality with no family present, why don't they nip off to Las Vegas and have a service read by a hillbilly preacher dressed as Elvis?
At least that way they'd be certain of a venue, whereas at the moment it keeps changing from one day to the next. In the end, so they can get the invitations out, they'll have to make it like a rave from the Nineties. The guests will receive a card telling them to go to a roundabout just off junction 7 of the M4, from where they'll be directed to a field in Berkshire, with Nicholas Soames wandering around making sure everyone's sorted for truffles and grouse.
And no one's even sure whether it's going to be legal. This is why Norman St John Stevas has spent all week appearing on the news as a "constitutional expert", to tell us stuff such as "The 1378 Marriage Act to ratify the nuptials of Hereward the Wake and Lady Godiva was nullified by the 1756 Act of the Union of Plantagenet Inbred Idiots so of course the wedding is valid."
It could be argued that every family experiences tensions, but the plot of the Royal Family seems to be written by the same people who write EastEnders. At the wedding reception, someone will rush in to say that Harry's gone missing, as he drank all the cider, nicked a stagecoach and drove it into the river. We'll see blue lights flashing by a river bank, a lonely swastika armband drifting through the reeds, then hear the drums that signal the gripping end of an episode and all have to wait until Tuesday to find out what's happened.
It could be a way to turn matters to their advantage, making themselves "people's royals" by having a working-class wedding. Instead of staying away, the Queen and Philip should video the whole thing on a camcorder, stopping only for "The Birdie Song" and to order an equerry to smash Camilla's uncle in the face due to a feud that began with a disputed polo decision in 1975.
So they have a dilemma. To regain their popularity, they have to appear more "modern". But the institution they represent depends on the feudal myth that they're superior to their subjects on account of their birth line. To screw them up further, their lives are ordered around the traditional rules that accompany this belief. For example, one aide explained the Queen's non-snubbing absence by saying "The Queen does not attend all family weddings", citing her non-attendance at the marriage of someone called Lady Davina.
So staying away from your son's wedding is justified by regal etiquette. Whereas if any normal mother said to her son "I didn't go to your cousin's sister's wedding, so why should I go to yours?", they'd end up on Trisha with the audience screaming: "You're a slag." Perhaps the local authorities will see it the same way, with social services deciding the Queen is an unfit mother and taking Charles away to a home until he's adopted.
Other rules of etiquette aren't applied so rigorously. For example, in the Bible there are a series of commandments, of which one is: "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery". Yet Charles, who, throughout his entire marriage broke this commandment, will one day become head of The Church of England, which makes as much sense as the Flat-Earth Society announcing their new leader was Ellen MacArthur.
And then there's the tricky issue of Camilla's official title. So what's wrong with: "Her Royal Polo-ness, Consort and Parasitic Duchess of the Over-Privileged Idle Aristocracy How Many Millions Will We Have To Fork Out For Her Chauffeurs and Bloody Valets ay? I Suppose At Least This One Won't Waste Our Taxes on Colonic Irrigation So That's Something To Be Grateful For - of Wales"?Reuse content