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Opinion

Royal wedding: The snobbery of Will'n'Kate-haters

Not everyone loves Prince William and Kate Middleton. The Will’n’Kate-haters view the British public as a moronic mass brainwashed into bowing to a constitutional monarchy. But these snobs miss the mark: Real republicanism trusts, not disdains, the will of the people.

By Brendan O'Neill / April 28, 2011



London

When it comes to snobbery in Britain – one of our favorite pastimes – you might imagine that at the very top of the pile would be the Royal Family.

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Born into palatial wealth and privilege, convinced that they have been handpicked by God to lead Britain, possessed of scores of tiaras, orbs, and various other glittering things, surely no one can out-snob a member of the House of Windsor?

Actually, they can. The fast-approaching wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, which takes place this Friday, has revealed the existence of a new kind of British snob, a cynical, sneering snob, who looks down his nose at both the Royal Family and the peculiar little people who wave flags and cheer at royal events.

Meet the Windsor-weary Will’n’Kate-haters, who view the Royal Family as a bunch of vulgar over-spenders and the British public as a moronic mass that has been brainwashed into bowing before the Queen and Co.

In the run-up to the big day, there has, of course, been much excitement, especially amongst the more traditionalist, royal-watching sections of society.

Staunchly monarchist newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and the Sun have been publishing daily articles about the preparations for the wedding. (The Sun even printed cut-out-and-keep Will and Kate masks, in case anyone fancies dressing up as the couple.)

And street parties have been organized in towns and villages across Britain, where revellers plan to knock back lemonade and tuck into ham sandwiches as they celebrate this fairly historic union between an heir to the throne and a commoner whose grandfather was a coal miner and whose cousin works in a chip shop.

The deep cynics

Yet alongside these well-wishers, there are deep cynics, too, who have taken to advertising as publicly as possible their lack of interest in the wedding – and damning as “dumb” anyone who shows even an inkling of enthusiasm for what one writer disdainfully describes as “wedding frenzy.”

Among what we might call the smart set – generally liberal, well-educated opinion-formers – it is now fashionable to affect a haughty feeling of “meh” toward the whole shebang. Will Self, an influential London-based novelist, joyfully told the Guardian that a friend of his has invited him to a party profanely mocking the royal wedding, so “I might mosey along to that,” he said.

Mr. Self and his well-connected media mates, who will no doubt be clinking their champagne glasses in an orgy of anti-wedding self-congratulation, are clearly far more intelligent than the average British pleb.

Because apparently the reason ordinary Brits are excited about the wedding is that they have been “brainwash[ed] on an Orwellian scale,” said Self in a recent article for Prospect magazine. We have been “conditioned from birth to accept there’s only one form of government for us: constitutional monarchy.” In short, we thoughtless creatures have been sucked in by the allure of the Windsor tribe.

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