Did anyone else think it odd to see Charles and Camilla welcomed and glad-handed in Donegal by the resident republicans living there ? I have no real problem with the royal couple, per se, but isn’t it very strange for a republican of any stripe to hero-worship someone who has been born into a system so alien to the republican mindset? There were filmed sequences of mothers and school-children ecstatic to see a “real” prince and princess strolling through their town on a sunny Spring day; their rapt smiles and and excited faces glowing with excitement. Those interviewed seemed doubly delighted and I began to wonder why , abstractly.I accept that many Irish republicans see Prince Charles as something of an anti-Christ in that he’ll be Commander in Chief of perfidious Albion at some stage and they have fought the idea of “monarchy” and all its outworkings for centuries.That is one perspective.
I actually have no personal axe to grind with Charles or Camilla. Prince Charles has always seemed a personable enough man , albeit a man with a certain awkwardness to him. I grew up seeing him grow up as the public face of the King To Be. He appeared on television seemingly on a weekly basis, every bit a news item as the ongoing Vietnam War, Civil Rights or the terrors in Norneverland. He was never what you’d call a handsome man, for example and yet women threw themselves at him .He would be hugged by bikini-clad beauties on beaches in faraway Australia and generally glommed over as though he was Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt. There was still that gawkiness. His ears stuck out like Bing Crosby and he sported a comb-over hairstyle , like Jackie Charlton, the footballer. He was the kind of man who needed a stylist to bring him into the modern world. A stylist never appeared and no advisor sidled up to recommend a better barber .
He always loved Camilla , even before he was steered and positioned into marrying the wonderful, lissome ,unsulllied and fecund Lady Di ,who later went on to become a latter-day saint. Nobody really thought they were suited at all, of course, and so that relationship eventually broke down. He finally was allowed to marry Camilla and they began to live in the Happy -Ever -After land of the fairytale.During the years ,exposes filtered out about life lived behind the palace gates.There were telephone intimacies revealed which none of us need to know about anyone, even though our natural curiousity revels in these kinds of secrets .It was discovered for example that the King In Waiting had a man-servant specifically to squeeze toothpaste onto the Royal Toothbrush in readyness for Charles to polish the Royal Molars.Many snickered at this new revelation but I thought that this was actually control-freakery on a massive scale. Was he allowed to choose his own toothpaste , I questioned. What kind of man aould allow this kind of intimate intrusion in his everyday life? Would something like this not drive a sane man mad? Did he have a Royal Bottom Wiper like Henry V111, too? I asked myself.If that was the case he was as much a prisoner in his life than the two princes of yore in their tower. So I reasoned that no-one would actually choose to live like this .You’d literally have to be trained for it from birth.Where was the freedom? You’d have to spend your life much as a zoo-animal lives in captivity.
So I turn back to the mothers and their children of Donegal and ask myself what exactly they are cheering about ? Is it that they know they are free, living in a republic instead of a monarchy and are actually congratulating Charles and Camilla for being able to live like trained dolphins, in the public -eye, forever, always unfree?
You have to wonder where the “glamour” is in all of this.

20 Responses to CHARLES IN CHAINS

  1. ben madigan May 26, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

    totally agree about the “gilded cage” aspect of monarchy,Harry.

    There are lots of questions as to whether a monarchy is fit for the purpose of governing a modern 21st century UK.

    • Jude Collins May 26, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

      As far as I’m concerned, Ben, there are no questions: it ain’t. Not so sure I agree with Harry on the gilded cage. Charles moves in a world of extraordinary luxury. He has lots of equally well-cushioned chums. When he writes to a newspaper they print his letter. He owns thousands of acres. He’s married to Camilla. What’s not to like…Oh right, hold on then…

      • paddykool May 26, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

        …exactly , Jude ! Mind you, it ‘s possible he’d never be able to look after himself if he was allowed out of the cage on his own , for example …I sure wouldn’t want to swap places with him and I doubt any readers would either….but it’s just another way of looking at his situation and how life conspires for each individual.He was basically born into a situation with very little wriggle- room when you think about it.

    • paddykool May 26, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

      I don’t agree with monarchies at all ben. They’re all based on theft and murder in the past , anyway. In the 21st century they’re certainly an anacronism based on privilege ,as they are.That said, they are slowly trying to evolve. It’sa bit like the irish situation …it could yet take hundreds of years before people get the confidence to finally really govern themselves.

    • giordanobruno May 26, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

      It’s a good job they don’t govern it then eh?

      • ben madigan May 27, 2016 at 7:37 am #

        perhaps I should have said the Monarchy as head of State.

        It’s a moot point about whether the monarch governs or not – do you really think the weekly chats with the PM are just him chattering and her listening without ever expressing an opinion beyond “Sorry to hear Samantha has a cold?

        And were Charlie’s “black spider” letters not an attempt to influence government ministers?

        What about their exemption from the FOI Act, so nobody can find out what the Royal family actually does?

        • giordanobruno May 27, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

          Of course they may have some influence, but that is hardly governing the place now is it?

          • ben madigan May 27, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

            since we can’t find out what exactly they do, due to their exemption from the FOI, I will not presume their meddling is limited to “exerting influence” (and why is that OK?) rather than “governing”. Or vice versa.

            I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody does.

            You OK with not knowing what exactly your Head of State (and extended family) is up to?

  2. Sherdy May 26, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

    You seem unsure about C&C’s visit to the Irish Republic. Maybe I could set your mind at rest:
    As you no doubt are aware, thousands of English people have been queuing up to get Irish passports just in case the Brexit campaign is successful. They new if they just sent a postal application in the names of C&C Windsor, the Dublin officials would reject it as a wind-up.
    Charlie’s gawkishness is something many people have wondered about, and no doubt it is to do with his upbringing. I’m old enough to remember him, aged about seven or eight, standing in a line at a London railway station where his mother was arriving home from a holiday and he was one of the welcoming party.
    The welcome he got after a few weeks’ of her absence was a very formal handshake. Some motherly instinct – it was bound to drive a wee lad wacky.
    You were impressed by Diana’s saintliness – presumably that would have been after her sexploits with Major James Hewitt – as an army man he really believed in serving his country!
    I noticed the welcome C&C got from the culchies – you have to realise they’re easily impressed in the back-arse of beyond.

    • paddykool May 27, 2016 at 8:53 am #

      I trust you know that the written piece was dripping in irony , Sherdy….as you no doubt know already ,”saints” don’t hold much weght with me anyway….

    • Joe Canning May 29, 2016 at 10:42 am #

      Ahhh! Sherdy, CULCHIES EH? Maybe to some that think themselves better but nonetheless, culchies living in a Republic and not a northern slave under the British boot. Do you fall into that category?

  3. Ciarán May 26, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

    Ben they don’t even govern they are puppets and uphold the sectarian nature of the English monarchy. Can a catholic be monarch? They are a drain on the public purse, live in luxury while the public are subjected to tory cuts. Alice in wonderland has more reality in it than the monarchy’s lives. As for those in Donegal, well……….

  4. John T May 26, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

    People are attracted to fame and infamy and anyone who ever had their face on TV. I don’t think there is any great rationale behind people being excited about this visit to Donegal, it is just a sad reflection on the lack of depth in a huge amount of the population.

  5. giordanobruno May 26, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    In the BBC/RTE poll there was something like 65% (in the south) voted yes for reunification in their lifetime. That leaves 35% either saying no or agnostic.
    So that would provide a fair old crowd right away.
    But the explanation is simpler I feel.
    Most people do not live their lives as republicans or nationalists or unionists. They just get on with the day to day stuff, family jobs culture etc.
    The royals are celebrities and people are curious to come out and gawk at celebrities.
    No hero worship required.

    • paddykool May 27, 2016 at 8:59 am #

      Yes gio ..but those people cheering are literally “republicans” living in a “republic”….unlike ourselves living in the magical kingdom of Norneverland, who are still “subjects” of a monarchy whether we want to be in one or or not.Some might call themselves republicans and that is what they truly want to be but the fact is that they are not yet republicans until they are a living part of a viable republic .

  6. truthrevisionist May 26, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

    Note to the people of Donegal Town who turned out for an obsequious display of true serfdom.

    Shame on all of you,

    – for you have what you have – because of the blood and tears of generations of Irish families, who unlike you, felt the honour of maintaining dignity,- far surpassed the humiliation you just heaped upon our country.

  7. Perkin Warbeck May 27, 2016 at 9:16 am #

    All in all, yesterday, Harry, was a red letter day of days down here in the Free Southern Stateen. Even a red-deer day, indeed.

    For all of us who are proud (inordinately so ) to be numbered among the bellowing slaves and genteel dastards who make up the Brave New Mature Ireland. From Grangegorman all the way up to Glenveagh it was a neverending yet curiously quirky blend of solemnity and levity.

    It fell to Charlie ‘Je suis Charles’ Flanagan, arguably the most uproarious Irish standup comedian of his generation, to lend a note of levity to the solemnity at the wreath-laying ceremony to the gallant and selfless khaki clad squaddies who were iced during Easter 16, at Grangegorman : this he achieved by uttering (in the classic comic book known as The Unionist Times) the ultimate knee-slapping go-to one-liner from the rollicking works of B. Friel:

    -Confusion is not (splutter) an ignoble (sputter) condition.

    Honest !

    While it fell to the lot of the splendiferously attired Lady Camilla, on her visit to Glenveagh Castle, to remind us all in the manner salutary, that beauty does also have an often sadly overlooked, but very real inner dimension.

    Previous female visitors to Glenveagh –from Greta Garbo to Marilyn Monroe – might have over emphasized the exterior facet of pulchritude. In this regard they were typical Skinners – shallow and skin deep only.

    These latter superficials were guests during the occupancy of Henry McInhenny. Apart from inheriting a mountain range of moola from the Tabasco Sauce empire this lord of the manor was a Bachelor of Fine Arts (confirmed) and a Socialite (glittering). Andy Warhol once described him as the ‘only man in Philadedelphia with glamour’.

    Charlie Chaplin was also amongst the guests to enjoy the hospitality of McIlhenny in Glenveagh. Whether this was down solely to a bottle of Tabasco making a stand alone appearance in ‘Modern Times’ (1936) – an early example of product placement ?- is a moot point.

    Empty bottles of the same sauce may well have played a role of, erm, a different kind in the more frequent visits (nocturnal, mainly) by Batters aka Lord Mountbatten. During the latter’s frequent sojourns in Classiebawn Castle, Sligo he became intimately acquainted with ever twist and turn of the long and winding road between the two castles. Or, at least, his liveried chauffeur did.

    For the Bachelor of Fine Arts and the Rear Admiral shared many delightful interests in common, not least to do with antique centerpieces, that sorta thingy. The neo-gothic walls of Glenveagh Caslte – originally designed to out-Balmoral itself – during the nocturnal visits of Thereuponny Prince Charlie’s fav granduncle, used to ring with the sound of empty Tabasco bottles being clinked to the joint chorus of:

    -Bottoms up !

    Followed (invariably) by a distinctive swishing sound of uncertain provenance.

    There were the nocturnal sessions which lent an extra layer of double meaning to the original Leprechaun, Gleann Bheithe.

    Which, as the world-acclaimed linguists, Gregory Crooked-Mouth will attest , means:

    -Valley of the, erm, Birches.

  8. paddykool May 27, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    Good of you to add the frisson of the smouldering Sacher-Masoch to the party, Mighty Perk , doubtless inspired by my choice of title. …the “chains” of course being wholly metaphorical….but taking the story for a long walk it was opportune of you to invoke Charles’ Mounted Uncle, ” Old Batty” and some of the quaint sadomasochistic practices he possibly favoured ,mostly known and indulged by past residents and the inhabitants of the Isle Of Man and their justice system….On another note…i wonder if Gregory has ever read “Venus in Furs”/…..the very thought of it….!!!!

  9. ANOTHER JUDE May 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    Every royal visit on any part of the island causes the natives to behave like extras from The Quiet Man. It is a sad fact of life that lots of Irish mothers and sisters go weak at the sight of any member of the `Windsor` clan,I remember arguing (in vain of course) with the females in my house during the royal wedding of 1981. `How can you watch that imperialist, colonialist, militaristic clap trap when young Irish men are starving themselves to death in a British concentration camp? `Sssh, we can`t hear the commentator, oh isn`t the Duchess of Kent`s hat beautiful?` A losing battle unfortunately. Now if and when the royals appear on the tv I usually get up and make a cup of tea, saves a lot of hot air. I do not support the idea of privilege simply because of who your parents are, I wish the whole lot of them would pack up and get out of Ireland but they are not going any time soon because a lot of my fellow Irish men and women love them. Sssh…….

    • paddykool May 27, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

      There you go AJ. That’s mostly everyone’s experience.You get to a stage where you don’t fight it any more because you know it is pointless and not quite rational at all.I’ve said it before , and unfortunately it gives the sexists a lot of ammunition, but women are more inclined towards the glimmer of glamour than men .Now that is in itself an awful sexist thing to think or even say, but having had four sisters and a wife and three daughters I can speak from some degree of experience ,that when it comes to fashion, makeup , pretty hats and the “right shoes”, that logic and common-sense are bucked out the window. It also goes to explain how even the smallest town can sustain twenty hair-dressing salons and thirty -odd nail bars , tanning salons and fashion shops….even when the population are living in supposed poverty and why shiploads of magazines can readily be sold to women in supermarkets. They really do love all that stuff and the Royal Family are part of show -business for them. Look across the pond to America and you will find a republic of states that fought to rid themselves of kings and queens and yet they will still simper and bow to them when they come to visit.