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William and Kate: the question engaging the nation

This article is over 11 years, 1 months old
Simon Basketter, Socialist Worker’s Chief Royal correspondent, explores the heart-warming story of ordinary super-rich parasites who found love. "Couple hope we will help out with their ‘austerity’ wedding which will have just 2,000 guests
Issue 2229
Celebrate the ‘Austerity Wedding’ with this high quality solid aluminium coin. This soon-to-be collectors’ item has been specially manufactured by child labourers in a Third World sweatshop.<br /Send £3 (Pl
Celebrate the ‘Austerity Wedding’ with this high quality solid aluminium coin. This soon-to-be collectors’ item has been specially manufactured by child labourers in a Third World sweatshop.Send £3 (Pl

The nation was entranced last week and all bad news buried. After an eight-year courtship, a blissfully happy Prince William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor—second in line to the British throne and Britain’s future king—and his university sweetheart Kate Middleton, were finally able to share the joy of their engagement.

Socialist Worker was privileged to witness the couple’s excitement—shared by all—and the relief that their secret is out in the open.

The announcement will bring happiness to the nation in these difficult times. William’s father Charles wanted to be reincarnated as a tampon to be closer to the love of his life, Camilla, the current Duchess of Cornwall.

But William is more of a man of the world: Princess Diana used to send the butler out to buy his pornography.

That hereditary romantic streak has seen William fly his helicopter to drop in on Kate during their courtship—serving his country as always.

Prince William and his brother Harry have £30 million each stashed away in their royal piggy banks.

The money comes mostly from The Duchy of Lancaster—a 700 year old 144,000-acre estate, which sells charming organic biscuits, jams, sausages and plants and is worth £463 million. Handily, it pays no taxes.

Wills romantically gave Kate his mother’s engagement ring, but we have been unable to confirm whether Kate will get Diana’s chauffeur.

A royal courtier for St James’s Palace—representing Will and Kate—told Socialist Worker, “They will have an austere ceremony that will not weigh too heavily on the public”.

After all, the royals are good enough to take more than £180 million a year off our hands. They restrict their holidays to a mere £6.2 million while the upkeep of the castles and palaces costs just £15 million.

Contented subjects

A senior courtier told your correspondent, “Both the Prince of Wales and the Queen will contribute towards the cost of the wedding. It will be a family contribution.

“In particular, if the reception is held at Buckingham Palace, the Queen will pay for that.”

This proves that the late Lord Mountbatten’s private secretary, John Barratt, was clearly wrong to label the royals, “mean as cat’s piss”.

That Charles may spend some of his £1 billion on the happy day is just one more reason for us to be contented subjects. Or as Camilla put it, “wicked.”

Hopefully Charles can do better than his and Camilla’s rather “modest” registry officer wedding—a snip at £5 million.

His and Diana’s recession-lifting ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral cost £4 million in 1981, when £4 million could still buy something.

But gladly, the latest royal wedding is estimated at £40 million.

However, the rumpus over last year’s G20 led to a policing bill of £7.4 million. The world’s elite will be attending the wedding—which may force up costs.

One royal biography notes of the current Queen’s wedding in 1947: “The Archbishop of Canterbury declared the ceremony for Princess Elizabeth was ‘exactly the same as it would be for any cottager who might be married this afternoon in some small country church’ … The differences: the 12 wedding cakes at the royal reception, including one nine feet high that Philip cut with his sword, 2,666 wedding presents, including a thoroughbred horse, a mink coat, a 54-four carat pink diamond said to be one of its kind in the world, and a plantation and a hunting lodge in Kenya.”

Union Jack

We can only hope for similar restraint in the upcoming nuptials. Historically, royal events are essential to calm the fevered brow of the nation.

For instance, the Queen’s third pregnancy in 1959 (Andrew) was timed to assist a Tory election victory, although a second attempt with Edward in 1964 was unsuccessful.

And while the collective singing of God Save the Queen and waving the Union Jack may not drown out the noise of the broken windows, Socialist Worker is confident there will be dancing in the street of one sort or another.

It’s great when you’re Kate

There are some who are worried that Kate is a “commoner”. While the Middleton family are a bit “trade”, they are not as common as all that.

The family firm, in a good aristocratic tradition, doesn’t deign to publish any accounts.

But the profits they receive for decking out parties for the elite have contributed to a lifestyle that includes a £1 million house in Berkshire.

And Mike and Carole Middleton have been able to put their three children, Kate, Pippa and James, through private school. Kate was educated at the rather pleasant Marlborough School—at around a modest £250,000.

Delightfully, Kate’s parents had enough left over to buy her a million pound pad in Chelsea.

At 28, the future Queen of England has an understandably thin CV.

Until recently she was working with dignity and poise for the family firm after a brief post-graduate foray into the outside world as a clothes buyer for retailer Jigsaw.

Working for mum and dad means she has been able to take time out to join the Prince on foreign holidays, support him at polo matches and attend things.

As the poor relations (and frankly who isn’t to the monarchy) the Middletons will be spared having to pay for their daughter’s wedding—that privilege goes to us.

However, they have offered to pay for Kate’s wedding dress—expected to come in at around £100,000.

After all, a spring wedding may mean a bargain in the January sales.

Royal racism? It’s traditional

The royals have a strong tradition of racism and sympathy with fascism. William’s great uncle, King Edward VIII, was a friend of Hitler.

The story of Edward and Wallis Simpson is often sold as a heartwarming romance. But the best man at their wedding was Edward “Fruity” Metcalfe, who had been photographed in fascist regalia at a British Union of Fascists (BUF) dinner.

The bride’s closest friend was Diana Mosley, who married BUF founder Sir Oswald Mosley at Joseph Goebbels’s home, with Adolf Hitler as guest of honour.

The establishment made Edward abdicate because of the couple’s open sympathy for the opposing side in the run up to war—not because his wife was divorced.

What about the others?

In 1986 Prince Philip told a group of British students in China, “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”

In 1999, when touring an electronics factory, he pointed to a fuse box with wires spilling out of it and said, “It looks as though it was put in by an Indian.”

Princess Margaret walked out of a showing of the anti-Nazi film Schindler’s List, describing it as a “tedious film about Jews”.

When visiting Chicago she told the Irish-American mayor that the Irish were “pigs—all pigs”.

The Queen Mother used to describe black people as “nig-nogs” or “blackamoors”.

Prince Harry attended a “colonials and natives” party with Wills dressed in a Nazi uniform. He recently called one army colleague a “Paki” and another a “raghead”.

One cannot pay for own wedding

The Queen is one of the richest people in the world. Her personal, private wealth is at least £1.5 billion—excluding palaces, art collections and the like.

She is the only person in Briton to be allowed to reclaim tax on dividends and interest from investments in British companies—an agreement she reached with then prime minister Winston Churchill, netting her a modest £1 billion plus.

As well as land she owns personally, she also owns the “crown estate” which includes 120,000 hectares of agricultural land and the entire seabed around Britain.

The Queen’s palaces at Balmoral in Scotland and Sandringham in Norfolk are her private property, while she also has at her disposal Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Kensington Palace and Windsor Castle.

And, of course, she doesn’t pay any council tax on any of her 12 homes.

asset value
Property £80 million
Racehorses £4 million
Stamp collection £125 million
Jewels £88 million
Furs £1.25 million
Cars £8.6 million
Wine £4 million

Her husband, Prince Philip, has about £36 ­million of his own cash.

Royal history

The timeless traditions of the monarchy are worth recalling. Things came to a head, so to speak, in the English revolution in 1649 when King Charles I was executed. But the monarchy couldn’t be kept down.

The origins of the modern monarchy are based on a military coup in 1688, rather sweetly called the Glorious Revolution. But William of Orange’s offspring failed to breed enough, so they found a bunch from Germany.

The first George—despite locking his wife up in a castle for 32 years—managed offspring. So came George II, whose contribution to humanity was to die falling off a toilet seat.

He was succeeded by his grandson—predictably named George III—who drove himself mad.

George IV took over with a splendid wedding. Unable to stay with his wife—she was Catholic which is a big “no” for British royals—he found another who he met three days before the ceremony. He pronounced, “One German Frau is a good as another” and got so drunk his courtiers had to hold him up through the wedding vows.

There are Guelphs, Saxe-Coburgs, and Saxe-Meningens in the glorious family tree but no Windsors. The royal family was so keen on Empire and war that they changed their name during the First World War, in case any one thought they were German.


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