Prince George's Birth: A Smiling Hatefest

The birth of the royal child was not the outpouring of goodwill and joy those on the frontline made it out to be. Rather it was a corporate moment for the press and the royal family, whose mutual hatred is superseded by their fear of public opinion.
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The birth of the royal child was not the outpouring of goodwill and joy those on the frontline made it out to be. Rather it was a corporate moment for the press and the royal family, whose mutual hatred is superseded by their fear of public opinion.

It must take some time to get up to speed, from a standing start, with a hatred that has been cultivated over generations. A foreigner, for example, could not turn up in Gaza and expect to experience immediately the ingrained enmity – passed down from parents to children, marinated in an entire culture – a Palestinian feels for an Israeli, no matter how many books he’d read.

I suspect for Kate Windsor, nee Middleton, her first (astonishingly visceral) experience of what the royal family’s loathing for the Press actually feels like came on September 13, 2012.

Those photos of her tits, served up to be drooled over by the masses – and there was no other purpose, whatever the weasel words of the editors – would have made her understand, so very clearly, that an industry employing thousands of educated adults across Europe regards her only as quarry - a moneymaker to be shaken at will.

She cannot yet hate the Press with anything like the vigour of her husband or her father-in-law. It has not, after all, been directly responsible for the death of her mother, nor has it published transcripts of secretly and illegally recorded telephone conversations in which she has professed a desire to be her lover’s tampon.

But she must by now get the gist. She must be able to join in in family conversations when the subject comes up. She must be able to empathise with Windsor family complaints about the neverending source of irritation, humiliation and fear that the media represents for them.

So how lovely and not at all creepy it must have been for both Kate and her husband to see that The Sun changed its name to The Son to mark the occasion of their firstborn (oddly, no strap: “We killed Grandma”). As if this bullying, misogynistic tabloid was somehow part of the miracle of the child’s creation. A father figure, no less.

And what an incredible feat of forbearance it therefore was to come down those steps outside the Lindo Wing hospital - smiling not fist shaking - to present the baby (24 hours old) to the massed phalanx of jackals with their cameras and idiot questions, knowing these same people would hound the child from that moment hence.

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All nature wishes to protect offspring from predators, but here were the poor parents forced by modern convention to fill their child’s first sight of the outside world with the worst and most dangerous predator he will ever know.

It was all done, this frightful charade, of course, for the benefit of the stupidest people in Britain: the credulous masses who believe in royalty and all the fairytale nonsense that goes with it.

The royal family needs the approval of these people the way the rest of us needs air.

And it is these same people - the bovine proletariat who love see to royal tits, love to read of royal humiliation but will stage a white hot riot of condolence when a member of the royal family actually dies – that are the reason the media, too, pretends from time to time (days like this one particularly) not to loathe royalty and all the intellectually indefensible privilege and snobbery that goes with it. Because these people buy newspapers.

All of the smiles were ersatz. The birth of the royal child was not the outpouring of goodwill and joy those on the frontline made it out to be. It was not an intimate human moment we all shared. Rather it was a corporate moment, two industries whose mutual hatred is superseded by their fear of public opinion.

The royal family has made much show this last decade or so of striking out for normalcy, of being like everybody else. But we are all of us, all of the time, confronted by opposites. That is what normal is. Outside the Lindo Wing, this confrontation was tangible: innocence/cynicism, privilege/plaything of the public, nature/commerce and so on.

It is fortunate, for both palace and Press, that William and Kate are good-looking. Were they not, it just wouldn’t work.

It wouldn’t work at all.