Next in Line A second #RoyalBaby will soon be joining the Windsors in England. Given the choice, would you rather be heir to the throne, or the (probably) off-the-hook sibling?
– You know what I think royalty is? It’s the same thing now as Kim Kardasshian and what’s his brooding hypocritical face? What’s his name? Her husband! It’s a lot of people looking up at some rich fu-er-folks and conjecturing about how they breed. In the US it is really all about sex appeal and money (we have no royal family). In Britain, it’s still about sex appeal and money but it has a bit of polish to it, you know what I mean? Back in the day it might have been interesting to be royalty.
– What day?
– The day when being a king meant something, you know? Like Hrothgar. Back when kings had names such as, well, Hrothgar. Then if you were a second son or some such, at least you got a cool name such as Heorogar. You might, if you were a younger sibling, get your allies together (you always had political allies and flatterers who were looking for lucrative court appointments and such after the coup) and do what you can to overthrow your older brother, or half brother, you know. And back in the day, kings were just little guys who had a big pike-encircled fortress on a hill. It was really a game of king of the mountain when it comes down to it. NOW, it’s just a media show. We look at Kate Middleton’s well and conservatively dressed body and conjecture about her procreation abilities and oo-and-ah over her figure, much as we do with Kim Kardasshian. We get all excited about their weddings and their gowns and all this “stuff” as if it mattered — and we seldom admit that it’s a rather morbid, apelike fascination with their mating practice. Everyone wants to see their wedding gowns. Magazines sell quickly with either Kim or Kate on the cover just as they used to sell with poor Princess Diana on the cover. I say “we” but I’m not very interested. I am amused when the royals are lauded for acting like “ordinary people.” I always do that but I’m never in the news.
– OK then, so would you rather be the king or some unlikely-to-inherit younger sibling?
– Back in the day it was pretty sucky being anyone. If you’re the king, you need to wield absolute power or you’re screwed. If you’re the younger brother, what are you going to do? Go to teas with second-rate world leaders or distant relations? Well, yeah. You’d do that, because you had ONE hope and that was deposing your brother. You needed friends. Those teas could be important down the road. Otherwise, if you’re NOT a king, you’re screwed because the king and his enemies could come at any time, take your food and your spouse and your son, send them to war, and there you’d be, waiting to see what happened, and then they’d lob a torch at your thatched roof and that’s all she wrote. I would want to be a Goliard.
– A WHAT????
– A Goliard. I’d like to write ribald and irreverent verses in German or Latin and wander around the countryside looking for work and hanging out in taverns, singing about the privations of winter and the joys of spring, you know, the beauty of painted whores and horny virgins, usually nuns. It strikes me that in times like those, one of the best lives would be that of a wandering poet. Sure, I’d be put in jail and few times, possibly tortured, maybe hung, but I’d be a free man. I’d have had a good education in a monastery and maybe nobles would pay me to educate their son, you know, the Crown Prince.