Saturday, 26 September 2009
Windsors have the last laugh.
Europe on the eve of the First World War was on the one hand a continent on the brink of socialist revolution and at the same time, to a large extent, the private estate of one very powerful extended family. The British Monarchy and their close relatives the Hapsburgs, Romanovs and Hohenzollerns were about to have a family falling out that would result in millions dead on the battlefields, human misery on an unprecedented scale and the unravelling of a social order. Almost a century later and in many ways Europe is unrecognizable.We might be no closer to a socialist utopia but at least that ludicrous Gilbert and Sullivan cast of Kings and Queens, Archdukes and Emperors has finally been consigned to the great historical waste disposal unit. Apart that is from our very own House of Windsor who seem determined to hang around like a bad smell on the landing. It is easy to laugh off the Royals as nothing more than inbred buffoons who, if they do no good, are capable of doing little harm and at least provide amusement for American tourists. It's just that with the civil list standing at 14 million quid annually it's probably a joke that we can ill afford. No matter how much we snigger at Mad Charlie and the rest, I can't help thinking that they are having the last laugh.