The Prince of Wales, Prince William, and the younger royals all deliberately snubbed President Donald J. Trump on his visit to the UK, the Sunday Times reports. I blame the Meghan effect.
Of course we can’t hold the arrival into the Royal household of a pretty actress who used to be in Suits wholly responsible for this outbreak of crass, thick, petulant behaviour: as we know, the Prince of Wales is more than capable of that without much prompting; and in Will’s case, the acorn doesn’t look as if it has fallen too far from the tree.
Still, I’m blaming Meghan Markle mainly.
The appearance on the scene of a fully-fledged Hollywood Social Justice Warrior with almost the glamour of Princess Diana and definitely the pushiness of Wallace Simpson seems to have deluded the younger royals into thinking that their job is to be sexy and modern and on trend with all the modish ‘woke’ attitudes.
And it really, really isn’t.
Their job is to do what the Queen does so well – as she demonstrated again over the weekend with Donald Trump.
This job is to be dignified, uncontroversial, slightly old-fashioned – and, above all, dutiful.
Donald Trump loved meeting the Queen – inspecting the Coldstream Guards at Windsor Castle, and so on – and I’ve a suspicion that the feeling was mutual. This is only a guess because the Queen, being unfailingly discreet, almost never lets on what she really thinks. But when you look at the various disreputable characters the Queen has had to entertain over the years on behalf of her government – Communist dictator Ceausescu, Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, Zairean dictator Mobutu, for example – I would imagine that an engaging, funny, eager president like Trump, who so evidently loves both the Queen and Britain, must have felt like a breath of fresh air.
Here’s what the Sunday Times‘s source says about the younger royals’ snub:
“This business of Prince Charles and Prince William not being there for the Trump visit was a snub. They simply refused to attend. It’s a very, very unusual thing for the Queen to be there on her own. Usually she is accompanied by somebody. Prince Charles has been substituting for Philip a lot recently.”
If this is correct, and we have no reason to doubt it, then it augurs very ill for the future of Britain’s constitutional monarchy.
A key element of this arrangement – negotiated over the years in the aftermath of the execution of Charles I – is that the monarch is above petty politics. For obvious reasons, the monarch must be a figure of national unity – which makes it exceedingly unwise for them to take political positions that might alienate half their subjects.
Many people in Britain are rather warming to Donald Trump. They are beginning to appreciate that the monster they hear about on the BBC and read about in Britain’s uniformly anti-Trump print media is actually a rather entertaining figure who tells it like it is and appears to be doing some good in the world.
How exactly does it help if Prince Charles, Prince William and co take it upon themselves to ride roughshod over this public mood and decide, instead, to go along with the narrow, anti-Trump viewpoint which I’m sure is incredibly fashionable in the circles that Meghan moves in but which may not be representative of where ordinary, decent people are?
Prince Charles and Prince William may be embarrassed by Donald Trump. But they’re not nearly as embarrassed as many of us are by their frivolous, unwise, ill-advised rudeness towards the world’s greatest statesman as he seeks to build bridges with the nation it’s their job – their very, very well-paid job, damn it – to represent.