10 April 2021
It jumped into my mind again today, when reading the outpouring of emotions and opinions – not necessarily the same thing – about the death of a member of the British Royal family.
The legal right to a certain level of privacy is wonderful, it sets the boundaries for what you can expect in regard to your personal information and gives firm guidelines to others who think they have rights to your information.
Unless you’re famous.
It’s one of those conundrums we struggle with on a regular basis, watching famous people complain about their lack of privacy, while also being paid to showcase their homes, or their marriages, births, or bottoms.
Being born into a famous family would come with issues, but being born into a royal family must be one of the most difficult family scenarios. Sure, there’s some impressive homes you can live in, and some nifty cars to get driven around in. You could jump to the front of any queue, and people are forever giving you flowers.
But the fact that you can’t do anything regular people can in public – make bad jokes, zip up to the shops in your gardening clothes, look sweaty or bloated or whatever – without it becoming media fodder across the world… I don’t think it’s worth it, really.
But to marry into a royal family, well quite frankly you’d need to have your head read, in my opinion. Marrying a lesser royal where you can possibly live a normalish life, that might work. You’d get to go visit the fancy homes, be on first name basis with the corgis, and still be towards the front of most queues. But you still couldn’t get away with the gardening gear at the shops, and heaven forbid if someone took a photo of you falling asleep at a concert or wearing mismatching socks.
So the royal who died, while admittedly being in the royal system himself, married someone who ended up being a very big player in the royal network. His life would be forever delegated to playing second fiddle, and then even third or fourth or fifth fiddle, once children and grandchildren arrived in the scene. His life would be intensely scrutinised, every lame dad joke he ever made would be held up to be ‘typical gaffes’, and every move he made was considered to be fair game for the media. And he endured this for over 70 years.
I don’t really count myself as a royalist – I’m interested, of course, and if one of them were to visit my city then I may well just make the effort to go have a sticky beak.
I express my opinions on the actions of the ‘lesser royals’ far more than I do in the senior royals, strangely enough. Surely by my own definition, they should have more right to privacy?
Rest In Peace to the old royal. May your loved ones be given space to grieve your passing and celebrate your life.