Prince George - the perfect king for the swinging 2060s?
Baby Cambridge gave what looked to expert eyes like a royal wave. Photograph: John Stillwell/Reuters
Taken from the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital to face the camera lenses of the world’s media, Baby Cambridge gave what looked to expert eyes like a royal wave.
As those tiny fingers curled precociously on demand, the infant heir to Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and the rest of the Commonwealth was proclaimed a bundle of monarchist joy. Here was crumple-faced proof of the House of Windsor’s reproductive talents; 8lb 6oz that said Wills and Kate had done what was required of them by British tourist authorities and tea-towel manufacturers. They had continued the line.
Prince George Alexander Louis may indeed become the perfect king for the swinging 2060s, but conversely his smooth entry into this nonsensical world could spell eventual doom for the monarchy.
The next big problem facing the royal family is that it has no problems. It has become too neat, too wrapped up, for too many decades into the future. Look at all those generations of crown-botherers stacking up: Charles, William, George. Fancy being the British head of state? Come back sometime in the 22nd century, we’ve got this baby who can wave.
There was a time when the royal family was amusingly rubbish. Diana had gone offshore, the words “Prince of Wales” were often followed by the phrase “let’s skip a generation” and even Great Granny herself looked fallible. And yet British republicanism went nowhere. Reluctant subjects harrumphed inconsequentially, turning down OBEs, but keeping a close eye on that Middleton girl all the same.
Dysfunction and absurdity
Republicans take note: dysfunction and absurdity will never foster sustained public rage quite like the suspicion that the powerful are far too accomplished at the game.
There’s the queen, once regarded as remote, reinvented as deadpan. There’s Camilla, the woman no one can remember hating. There’s Kate, mixing high street with designer. There’s the baby, named after lovely Colin Firth’s character in The King’s Speech. And there’s the permanently self-deprecating Prince William, showing up dads everywhere by attaching a baby car seat in a nanosecond.
Make no mistake, the British royal family is in the grip of a terrible smugness that can only be a prelude to revolution.
To mitigate the risk of a sudden turn in public sentiment, the Windsors should now play fast and loose. Keep life interesting by not producing the spare to go with the heir and let Prince Harry babysit. The royalist elites will fret, but he’ll be the people’s prince.