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174. After completion (V)

What is the deal with the British Royal Family? Since the Civil War, the monarchy has been in decline and, by the late 19th century, it had long lost any real powers: the monarch was a figurehead, a rubber stamp for Parliament. At the time, it was widely recognised that the monarchy’s position was precarious: anarchists roved European boulevards, keen to off aristos and assorted bourgeois pigs; the socialists were in the ascendency; Marxism had become a popular cult among intellectuals; and the liberals had teamed up with the nationalists to attack the aristocrats—internationalism was supposed to be the fruit of nationalism, nation speaking unto nation instead of blue-blooded cousin unto blue-blooded cousin. In the midst of this, the Royal Family reinvented itself for the mass media age, for the penny press and cheap novel; hence the British monarchy became involved in pageantry and celebrity. Oh yes, the monarchy has played the celeb game for over a century now—so whether it is Di and Charles or Megs and Harry, it is all part of a long-standing tradition.

In a time when mass entertainment was more sparse, the monarchy could make itself, as we say today, “relevant” by putting on a good show. Even today, this works to an extent: a big royal wedding is an event. The monarchy’s power and influence has depended, for the most part, on a symbiotic relationship with the mass media; and this evolved from ostentatious displays of the monarch’s soldiers to voluntary work in the Second World War to Charles and Di in the 1980s. In this sense, Harry’s marriage to an actress is not so unrelated to his royal status as it might at first seem: Hollywood is natural royal territory, a place of beautiful people—another aristocracy of blood, after a fashion. It is also the site of considerable Jewish influence. It is well known that Megs is partially Jewish, but it is less well known that Wills and Kate were brought together by a mutual Jewish friend. The Jews, as Otto Weininger observed, are great matchmakers—the ends to which these matches are made is opaque to me.

The monarchy does retain some real power, in two respects: first, the Queen has enormous land holdings; and land is the most durable and influential form of wealth; secondly, the armed forces swear allegiance to the monarch—this is nominal, doubtless the officers are told that legally this oath is to Parliament, not the monarch as an individual; nonetheless, these oaths carry a certain unacknowledged weight. But Parliament remains sovereign; and the monarchy’s survival depends on how far it can be seen to be useful to the actual sovereign.

The marriage of Wills and Kate is for the solid middle of the country; she is a middle-class girl, not an aristocrat—it is a marriage to serve as a model and entertainment for the mid-level corporate executive’s wife, very relatable. It also represents a dissolution of aristocratic power, a step down to the mere commercial level. Harry and Megs exist to cater to the lower and lumpen elements; their marriage is mixed race for two reasons: first, the managerial state expects and desires increased migration, particularly from Africa—it expects that the highest level of mixing will take place at the working class and lumpen level; Megs and Harry demonstrate the expected conduct for these groups and a reorientation of the national story; secondly, the managerial state knows that the royal family is a macrocosm of Britain, it wants to reconceptualise Britain as mixed race; aristocrats are about pure blood by definition, by breaking down the national family the managerial state wants to set the direction for complete dissolution of all family and tribal ties—it understands that the national symbolic family must be corrupted to achieve this goal. The royals, just as they promote “mental health” and other managerial state issues, go along with this to survive—though there is obvious unease, it is against their nature.


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