Royals break wind in public

The royal family can’t be bothered sending anyone to Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral. Never mind that he was a Knight of the Garter, never mind that he was one of the greatest New Zealanders of the 20th century, never mind that New Zealanders care deeply about him, and have chosen to mark his death with a state funeral. They’re just not going to be there.

To be fair, no one could expect the Queen to travel to this funeral. She’s in her eighties, and her travelling days are over, especially at short notice. But there are plenty of royals who are perfectly capable of flying to New Zealand, if they cared to do so.

But they don’t. Courtesy of The Holden Republic, here are the other terribly important things the royals have to do on the day of Edmund Hillary’s funeral.

The Queen will visit the King’s Lynn Preservation Trust Limited to mark its Fiftieth Anniversary. Her Majesty will also open the new CT Scanners/Radiology Suite at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn.

The Duke of York United Kingdom Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The Earl of Wessex will attend the Annual Banquet of the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers at Mansion House, London EC4.

The Princess Royal Patron, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, will hold a Dinner at Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The Princess Royal will Launch the Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme at Malta House, 1 Malta Terrace, Edinburgh.

The Princess Royal Patron, Silver of the Stars, will open an Exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.

The Duke of Gloucester Colonel-in-Chief, The Royal Army Medical Corps will receive Colonel David Morris upon relinquishing his appointment of Representative Colonel Commandant and Colonel Peter Roberts on assuming the appointment at Kensington Palace.”

I have blogged before about the rudeness of the royals. But this snub is much, much, worse. I am an avowed republican, and I would be delighted to shake off the last vestiges of bowing our heads to people just because they happened to have been born into the ruling family. But the Queen is New Zealand’s head of state, and she or a member of her family should be at this funeral, as a mark of respect to Ed Hillary, to New Zealand, and to the genuine sadness of New Zealanders everywhere. The only charitable construction I can put on this is that they are trying to send us a signal that they are irrelevant, and that New Zealand should become a republic. But who are they to tell us what our constitutional arrangements should be?

Time to toss these irrelevant, rude, snobs.

18 responses to “Royals break wind in public

  1. Yes, yes
    Just ran a check to see what else the Royals are doing next week and dear old prinny is doing this:

    The Prince of Wales Patron, Mutton Renaissance Campaign, will meet farmers, chefs and business leaders to celebrate the success of the Mutton Renaissance Campaign at Grange Farm, Levisham, Pickering, North Yorkshire.”

    Obviously much more important, really.

  2. Thanks for the linkage. Have you seen the Monarchists’ response?

  3. You mean that happy little piece where they point out that it is a signal honour for the Queen to have written a letter to Lady Hillary? And then claim that we are using Ed Hillary’s death to attack the royal family. We are not. It is their ill-bred behaviour that we are criticising.

  4. We are not. It is their ill-bred behaviour that we are criticising.

    Indeed, Deborah. It’s dreadfully well-bred getting into a political pissing match over someone’s coffin.

    I’m a republican, but opportunistically jumping on a lame populist beat-up makes me wonder (yet again) why I bother taking seriously people who can’t be arsed being serious about their own cause.

    My take on the Dorkland O’Herald’s ‘snub’ stories at:

    http://craigmranapia.blogspot.com/2008/01/royal-wee-at-oherald.html

    http://craigmranapia.blogspot.com/2008/01/royal-wee-at-oherald-golden-shower-age.html

    As for Lewis’ sniffy and rather patronising ‘diary’ post. Well, I imagine I would find a good chunk of Helen Clark’s diary since becoming leader of the opposition fifteen years ago full of ‘trivia’. The people involved might have begged to differ.

    Sorry to say this folks, but I don’t think its the Windsors who come across as self-important, crass and insensitive snobs here.

  5. Obviously much more important, really.

    Yes, rayinnz. I can see why you think so coming from a country where meat and dairy products (and out reputation for high quality disease-free exports) are a trivially small part of our economy.

    You might also want to stop being such a fucking snob, and run a check on why the Mutton Renaissance Campaign was started in the first place. Then go ask a Kiwi farmer what impact internationally-covered outbreak of foot and mouth would have on their livelihoods. Might not be so keen to get your sneer then.

  6. It is their ill-bred behaviour that we are criticising.

    You got the reference there, Craig? It’s a little obscure, but not desperately so, and the work it comes from is definitely not obscure.

  7. No, I don’t – but I wonder if you’d recognise the source of this dialogue. (Hint: the author was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.)

    “Queer, those fellows who are always
    wanting to set things right. The people who have the worst cooks are always telling you they’re poisoned when they dine out.”

    You might want to take a look at it, because a major plot point is a real ‘snub’, handed down by people who have it down to a fine art.

    Sorry, Deborah, but I can get about as outraged by this as I was by the horrible ‘snub’ of Helen Clark wearing a pants-suit and neglecting to say grace before the state dinner last time the Queen was in town.

    But if we really want to get Miss Manners about it, I’m quite happy to talk about the rather insulting tone some folks have taken towards Anand Satyanand, who apparently is insufficiently ‘important’, despite being Governor General. (You know, Deborah, the personal representative of the current Head of State of New Zealand.) Even if you have no respect for the position – and there’s no reason why republicans should – why be insulting to the individual?

    Also might be worth asking whether this contrived outrage is just a wee bit presumptuous.
    As Helen Clark has said repeatedly, this may be a state funeral but throughout the process of drawing up the arrangements, the wishes of the Lady June and the Hillary family have been paramount. If they have no issues with the Windsors – or Satyanand being issued an invitation in his role as Governor General – , perhaps the rest of us could just chill out?

    Finally, I don’t make a habit of going to funerals or memorial services and bitching about the arrangements or who is (or isn’t) in attendance. Don’t need to consult Emily Post to figure out that that kind of b.s. isn’t only vulgar and offensive, but has potential to be deeply hurtful.

  8. The reference is to Pride and Prejudice. Lady Catherine has been telling Elizabeth that she needs to practice the piano constantly, and because there is no piano in the house where she is staying, she may come to Rosings, Lady Catherine’s house, everyday and practice on the piano in the housekeeper’s room.

    Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt’s ill-breeding…

    By definition, Lady Catherine cannot be ill-bred, but her manners are, well, ill-bred.

    That’s what we are seeing here – a group of people who can’t even be polite.

    It’s not being disrespectful to the GG or the PM to suggest that one of the royals ought to have made the effort to be polite and come. Ed Hillary was a great man, and whatever you may think about how the funeral should be held, it seems that most of the nation reveres him, wants to celebrate his life, and show him respect in death. The royal family’s non-attendance shows no respect for him, or for New Zealand.

    I’m not outraged – I save for things that are really worth getting outraged about. But I am quite sure that this is a snub. Not an outrage – just a snub.

    We don’t know that the Hillary family think about the royal family not being there. Maybe they’re not concerned, or maybe they are just politely not commenting. It’s very hard to read anything into their silence on the matter.

    And it seems that even the British press think that it’s a snub.

  9. Craig
    I am a sheep farmer I doubt if there is anything you can teach me on that subject……always ready to learn though
    I did accidently cut off the last line of my comment when I said mutton etc was dear to my heart
    Hope that removes some of the sting
    I just found it amusing that the English have a society for Mutton Renaissance when they can buy my fine “clean green product” and of course prinny found that a better use of his time

  10. And it seems that even the British press think that it’s a snub.

    First, I’ve seen the resports — and in fine organs that, in my view, routinely bear out the truth of George Bernard Shaw’s observation that most English newspapers can’t tell the difference between a lady falling off a bicycle and the end of civilization. With all due disrespect, I’d be asking Amy Winehouse to be my sponsor before consulting the ‘Daily Mail’ as a guide to manners and morals.

    But I digress.

    Blush… I expect a thorough snubbing at the next Janeite cell meeting for not catching the allusion.
    But here’s a notion: Lady Catherine is so ill-mannered in raising her preferences to general principles, and keeping up a quite impertinent running monologue on matters that do not concern her. One of the great scenes of the novel is when Elizabeth firmly, but without falling into impertinence or ill-bred bad manners herself, makes it clear that Lady Catherine’s interest in whatever connection may be formed between herself and Darcy is none of her damn business and will not be indulged.

    And what I love about the whole novel is that Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett — who are in so many ways admirable people — have to learn to temper their own considerable reserves of (ill-founded) pride and (too easily excited) prejudice. If they’d both done so a little earlier, Lydia might not have disgraced herself with Wickham — and almost taken her whole family with her. But that would have made a much shorter, and much less fine, novel.

  11. Yes, it’s a wonderful novel – one of my favourites. I love Jane Austen. My book group always used to talk about whichever book we had agreed to read (a classic, loosely defined as anything published before WW1), then somehow the conversation would segue around to Jane Austen’s books.

    I didn’t recognise your reference at all, but my husband googled it for me. The Age of Innocence. I have never read any Edith Wharton, which I suspect is very much my loss.

    I’m not sure that we can use literature to find our way through this argument – I’m sure we could both find plenty of cases which go to either side of the discussion. I think we have very much reached the ‘agree to disagree’ point.

    Peace?

  12. Peace?

    Unlike Catherine De Bourgh, the considerable frankness of your nature is always welcome. :)

  13. A pleasure doing battle, Craig. Until the next time, then.

  14. hmmm interesting to see your and Craig’s conversation veer off like that. Normal internet behaviour dictates that you should be insulting eachother not discussing pride and prejudice! A refereshing break!

  15. I’ve done that once, Stef, and it was no fun for anyone.

  16. Stef:

    Well, I’m afraid honesty forces me to admit my toll of on-line slanging matches is higher than Deborah’s. But with apologies for using three of the lamest sports-based cliches around, she does keep her blows above the belt, and plays the ball not the man — which does motivate one to lift one’s own game.

  17. Yes. Hence why I really enjoy stopping by this blog rather than bothering with some of the trolls on other nz-pols blogs. Where else could a discussion about the royals attending sir edmund hillary’s funeral descend into a discussion about Pride and Prejudice? Not many places and the internet is the poorer for it.

  18. But my drawing room cred with the Jane Austen Crew is never going to recover… :)