You often hear self-proclaimed royalists wax eloquent about the institution, its customs, the image of the monarchy etc. The media regularly claims to be doing due diligence on their behalf. If they are so concerned with the image of a family that is wont for scandal, why don’t we hear the alarm bells about the long-standing and recently revived allegations of sexual crimes against a prominent member or the optics of his patronage of children’s charities? Image only seems to be a problem when a certain duchess is involved. Then there is all this talk about tax payer funded royals (a favorite line of the media) and what they view as the royals’ duty to the people who fund them. Sigh.
- The Sovereign grant, which pays for maintenance of the royal residences and the working staff is not from income taxes paid by the British people. It is a percentage of the profits generated from the crown estates, a suite of land and property held by the monarch for the state. The profits are turned over to the treasury, which in turn returns a percentage to the monarch to pay for staff and residential upkeep. The royals don’t own the residences, cannot sell them or will it to their children. It is an important distinction to make because, the taxpayer misnomer, gives the impression that the Sovereign grant comes from Brits’ paychecks via taxes.
The royals’ personal expenses viz. food, clothing, entertainment, unofficial travel etc. is privately funded by them. The Prince of Wales generates income from the duchy of Cornwall to support himself, Duchess Camilla, Princes William and Harry and their respective families. Likewise, the Queen’s privately owned duchy of Lancaster supports her and the other working royals. So no, taxpayers do not fund their lifestyle, as the media would have us believe. It serves their purpose to misinform. Oh and by the way, Prince Charles and the Queen do pay income tax on the millions of pounds of duchy profits generated. See here for more on royal finances.
- How is parading one’s baby and publicizing the goings and comings of guests the most valuable return on the “taxpayers” £1.24/annum royal investment? Doesn’t this voyeuristic approach to their lives approximate the royals to “celebrities”? The ones which they claim royals shouldn’t be like? The notion that royals have no right to privacy is just ludicrous. They are neither props nor property. The work they do is far more valuable than who they had dinner with or exactly how they pushed their baby out. And if indeed the gossipy bits are what the taxpayers value more, then its available for free on the social media feeds of celebrities and regular folk who willingly share various aspects of their life.
There is no need to fund a monarchy for that. Also, on one hand there’s clanging about money spent on renovating the Sussexes residence yet, when the occupants work hard, they are doing too much and should know their place. Wouldn’t that be a welcome return on investment? Ironically, these concerned taxpayers and their media advocates are content with other royals whose residences cost much more but have little to show for it, and will point to every excuse in the book to defend it. That’s such a contradiction. Smoke and mirrors, very convenient when the reservations are selective.
For any serious media organization or journalist, one would expect credibility to be sacrosanct. Instead what has become pervasive across the British Media(BM), tabloid, mainstream, print, television and digital, is the brazen and so utterly disturbing display of bias and unprofessionalism that is now the despicable spectacle of royal coverage, particularly of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It begs the question, what would drive any entity or person to such lengths? Much has been written and postulated about the underlying factors, key among them xenophobia, sexism, classism and racism. Some “reporters” may even have personal gripes. Let me go a step further and suggest that, the real motivator is MONEY… profit. This is not to say that the aforementioned factors are not relevant or at play, simply that those sentiments are weaponized for the ultimate aim of generating profit. It makes it easy for said “reporters” to sacrifice their professional ethics for hit pieces.
It is the double edged sword with which editors and producers are clearing their path to the bank. There is a guaranteed reaction from a) the tiny sliver of the audience whose prejudiced view or opinion of the Duchess of Sussex, and by extension her husband, is informed by one or any combination of racism, sexism etc. and b) the other cohort of audiences who will not stand for and will condemn what is viewed in many corridors as the over-the-top vilification of the duchess. Our engagement whether it be viewing a panel discussion or responding to tweets translates to money. It has become profitable to outrage, rather than inform, which is the prime aim of news. So long as this racket remains profitable, we will get more of the same.
What we now know for sure is that over and over again, the royal “reporters” have gotten so much wrong about the Sussexes; yoga studios with floating floors, fictitious baby showers to non-existent doulas and homebirths, fake neighborhood rules, to name a few. They did not know about the Together cookbook and all the behind-the-scenes visits to the Hubb community kitchen and numerous other organizations. We still don’t know where the Sussexes honeymooned(great!) or their second dog’s name. What credible information we have has mainly come from source, and occasionally a handful of journalists who still stand tall for their integrity in this increasingly unethical field.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS 1: Royalists, the royals they support and the people who cover them
SMOKE AND MIRRORS 3: Royalists, the royals they support and the people who cover them