Forget the family reunion: this jubilee is about keeping the monarchy going

Until now, the overwhelming focus of the media coverage of the queen’s Platinum jubilee has been the human drama of an aged monarch trying to bring her family back together in order to put on a united front one last time. British tabloids have been particularly interested in the roles Harry, Meghan and Andrew will play as part of the jubilee events.  The queen’s attempt to healContinue reading “Forget the family reunion: this jubilee is about keeping the monarchy going”

Expect to see more of Prince Charles. This is a slow-motion abdication

As first published by The Guardian in May 2022 This moment was always going to come. Due to her failing health, Queen Elizabeth II was not present at yesterday’s state opening of parliament – arguably her most important ceremonial performance in the calendar year. Last night’s palace press release explaining that Prince Charles would stand in forContinue reading “Expect to see more of Prince Charles. This is a slow-motion abdication”

Why Elizabeth II’s message on the 70th anniversary of her accession matters

Elizabeth II’s message to her people, published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of her accession, is remarkable for a number of reasons.  First of all, it bears all of the hallmarks of the royal public language carefully crafted by Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Lang and Clive Wigram, private secretary to George V, back in the mid-1930s. With its emphasisContinue reading “Why Elizabeth II’s message on the 70th anniversary of her accession matters”

William, Harry and the myth of Princess Diana

The unveiling of the Diana statue was the most recent ceremonial act in the mythologization of the Princess of Wales. Her sons, Princes William and Harry, are the ‘high priests’ who have given power to her myth since her death in 1997. Simply by being her bereaved children, William and Harry, aged 15 and 12 respectively at the timeContinue reading “William, Harry and the myth of Princess Diana”

What next for the monarchy?

A lot of overheated media commentary at the time of Prince Philip’s death insisted that his passing marked the end of an era. Certainly, he was the last British royal to have meaningful connections to a wider network of royal families – a result of a culture of European dynastic intermarriage that persisted through the firstContinue reading “What next for the monarchy?”

Another annus horribilis? ‘The Family Firm’ one year on…

As first published by Talking Humanities in November 2020. In a speech marking the 40th year since her accession to the throne, Elizabeth II described 1992 as her annus horribilis. In the 12 months prior to this, three of her children’s marriages broke down in full sight of the public and a fire tore through Windsor Castle,Continue reading “Another annus horribilis? ‘The Family Firm’ one year on…”

The family firm falters part 2

As first published by Talking Humanities in February 2020. As the royal commentariat pore over the minutiae of the statement released by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex concerning their transatlantic future, the bigger question now is how does the House of Windsor move on from the Harry-Meghan episode and set a new course of travel inContinue reading “The family firm falters part 2”