Then & Now: Out of Court

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The Independent Online
1884: Mark Twain published 'Huckleberry Finn'. In this extract Huck Finn teaches runaway slave Jim about the remuneration and responsibilities of royalty:

'I read considerably to Jim about kings and dukes and earls and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and how much style they put on, and called each other your majesty, and your grace, and your lordship, and so on 'stead of mister; and Jim's eyes bugged out and he was interested. He says:

'I didn't know dey was so many un um. I hain't hearn 'bout none un um . . . How much do a king git?'

'Get?' I says; 'why they get a thousand dollars a month if they want it; they can have just as much as they want; everything belongs to them.'

'. . . En what dey got to do, Huck?'

'They don't do nothing] They just set aroun' . . . except maybe when there's a war; then they go to the war. But other times they just lazy around; and other times, when things is dull, they fuss with the parlyment . . . But mostly they hang round the harem.' '

1 December, 1992: Michael Shea, former press secretary to the Queen, considers press treatment of the Royal Family:

'Editors and journalists select their victim kings, garland them, fete them and put them upon their pedestals. Then, after a brief day of glory, they ritually slaughter them.'

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