This caught my eye over at Nancy's place:
Just for the record, I have no particular problem with the idea of a "constitutional monarchy". It seems to me that modern Britons have no fewer "freedoms" as "subjects" than modern Americans have as "citizens" which, for those people in my social milieu and income bracket, are largely the freedom to starve and sleep under bridges once their jobs are offshored or eliminated.
No, the interesting thing to me about this is the degree to which this picture - deliberately, I'm sure - could just as easily be Fildes or Sargent or, for that matter, Gainsborough or Reynolds. Nancy observed that the benefit of Diana Spencer's death prior to the photograph is that the People's Princess lacked the goofiness to fit into this little royal family portrait.
And it is pretty goofy, but I think it's a very peculiar quality of goofy that has nothing to do with Diana's own astrologist-and-aromatherapist-and skeevy-lover sort of goofy.
The goofy here is the Classic Old School British Goofy, composed equally of exaggerated self-worth, lack of introspection, hauteur, and noblesse oblige, the Stuff of Empire Goofy that doesn’t see any humor in pretending that it’s still 1894.
Diana had her own massive Goofy but it was a thoroughly New Age Goofy incomprehensible to the stodgy House of Grammy Windsor. The Goofy on display here is a Goofy of centuries of "breeding", a sort of stud book of Goofy that values humans for their lineage rather than their accomplishments.
Sad when you consider that the clan threw out the perfectly good surname Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, too. Sigh.
The idea of keeping a nice old granny around out of pure nostalgia is hardly worse, say, than the idea of Donnie Trump or Ted Cruz as Chief Executive of a nuclear superpower. But as government it's a very, very peculiarly goofy idea, an idea the presumes that the worth of one person or a small group of people is higher than the worth of many.
(Mind you, our own "system" that purports to exalt the worth of the many over any individual is kind of odd, too...)
But the only real issue I have with the British system is that it really only works if you can pretend that it's still 1894 and the King or Queen actually matters. It's kind of like spending a fairly sizeable chunk of cash to keep a long-running reality show on television and then insisting that everyone pretend that that's really important.
So I used to get a chuckle out of the ridiculous royal pantomime across the Pond, thinking that We the People had, at least, nothing equally ridiculous.
Then, of course, this Republican primary came along.
And now I feel kind of like that stone parrot, the one on the bottom that's clearly getting its psittacene conge' in the form that The Donald plainly intends for his own daughter and God help me how I wish I could scrub that image out of my brain.