Is the monarchy mystique really reviving in Canada .. or was Ricky Gervais just right about Kate and Kim?Apr 30th, 2012 | By Counterweights Editors | Category: In Brief
This past Friday Canada’s self-confessed national newspaper revealed that “Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine will be celebrating their first wedding anniversary on Sunday … Intolerable media intrusion was cited by many sources as the reason the couple broke up in 2007, but they soon got back together and married in a global ceremony on April 29, 2011.”
The anniversary has now come and gone. And we want to take this opportunity to just reflect briefly on what it means for the so-called “Commonwealth Realm” of Canada. (While of course wishing the happy couple in their privacy our very best.)
There are those who would say the anniversary means quite a lot up here in the northern wilderness, especially since the couple’s Canadian visit early last summer. And one of them — somewhat surprisingly to us — is the usually more iconoclastic and socially critical Heather Mallick, at the Toronto Star.
So Ms. Mallick wrote in her column this past Saturday: “Even those who do not love the royals, as is their right, would perhaps agree that the young couple — touring Canada to a roaring welcome, touching down in Hollywood, living quietly in Wales, building a private life and working hard — have done their duty … Their Canadian tour proved that this country, modern and perhaps cynical, will turn out for two great royals … many people quietly wish a long life for Queen Elizabeth II, that the current heir to the throne might wish for a quiet one, and that this Duke and Duchess might show up on the Canadian currency.”
We of course are among those who “do not love the royals, as is their right.” And just in case Ms. Mallick really doesn’t understand, we do not agree with any of her assertions about the young couple. (Although we do agree that she too has every right to make them. Canada today is above all a “free and democratic society,” as in the Constitution Act, 1982. And everyone has a right to believe whatever they like about the British royal family.)
We are also among the great majority of Canadians who did not in fact “turn out for two great royals” last summer. And we cannot for the life of us understand why people who do “love the royals” think it is somehow “cynical” not to — like saying it is cynical not to believe in Santa Claus, especially after you’ve had too much to drink on Christmas Eve.
We believe that democracy is what’s best in our Canadian society today — and that this is what should be celebrated in the higher symbolism of the Canadian state. Continuing to pretend that the British monarch (who also happens to live in another country) is somehow our official head of state — and hoping that one day “this Duke and Duchess might show up on the Canadian currency” — just contradicts our beliefs in “democracy not monarchy” as the ultimate value.
We also think, we probably should confess, that, on a more practical plane of being, continuing to pretend that the British monarch (who also happens to live in another country) is somehow our official head of state in the independent, free and democratic, officially bilingual country of Canada today is delusional at best. (And perhaps it is this perception that finally makes those who love the royals as much as Heather Mallick see people who think as we do “cynical”?)
We do agree with yesterday’s Reuter’s report: “Even if, as naysayers argue, the duke and duchess are merely celebrities whose wealth and style are out of reach of all but a few, their popularity reaches far beyond Britain … Media outlets in Britain, the United States, Canada and beyond remain enamored with Catherine and second-in-line-to-the-throne Prince William.”
We remain, however, “naysayers” ourselves. And we don’t think that “Media outlets” have quite the same democratic force as the late great Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” [and nowadays Woman too of course].
As a sign that we still value our British political culture and “Westminster parliamentary democracy” in Canada (which does not require any kind of monarch to function, as such places as India and Ireland today show quite nicely), we also agree with what the great Ricky Gervais said in Hollywood earlier this year: “The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton … A bit louder. A bit trashier. A bit drunker and more easily bought — allegedly!”
And, as undeniably cute and charming as both ladies are, we democratically look forward to a day when neither Kim Kardashian nor Kate Middleton (nor her husband, nor any other member of the British royal family) appears on our Canadian currency!