Letter: Royalty as idols

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The Independent Online
Sir: Let us stop focusing on our disillusionment with the Royal Family and consider what we, the public, want. Incurable romantics should now look inward, and separate the idea of the monarch as a titular head of state with specific functions from a need to use royalty as archetypal figures to idealise. A well-paid monarch, unadorned with mystique, is now conceivable, and would also be a great deal less costly.

As the media so well knows, certain persons offer themselves as a focus for our desire for larger- than-life images. It may be their position, looks, personality or behaviour that captures our imagination. Our collective needs of the moment then mould and build them accordingly (aided and abetted by the media). While a star might think he has the public in his hand, we, the public, have set him up. He is our stooge.

Let us admit, too, that it is not only the media, but royalty and royal advisers who are the professional aiders and abetters of the public's wish for superhuman images. Their 'success' may be gratifying, but sooner or later archetypal figures must flip over into their opposites. First, those who try to live up to what is collectively believed of them restrict themselves miserably. Second, it is a psychological law that while our adulation is manifesting itself on the surface, an equivalent envy is generating unknowingly underneath. Thus we wait patiently to bring down those we venerate.

Let us then not succumb to the romanticising of the Windsors, but settle instead for small human voices and faces that are at least reassuringly real.

Yours sincerely,


Leatherhead, Surrey

14 December

The writer is a member of the Society of Analytical Psychology.