Whew! Don’t you feel safer already?
So now that the paparazzi has been identified and we can all rest more easily in our beds at night, what we all want to know is, when will the trial start? And when will Kate and Prince William come to testify?
What will Kate wear to the trial? Will she have to show the judge her breasts and nether regions to prove that the photographs are really of her, and not one of those “Kate Middleton look-alikes” who occasionally cause riots in shopping centers because people see them and think that the real Duchess of Cambridge is there to buy some new clothing to cover her breasts and bottom with?
That might be a good defense: “Hey, I thought I was just taking a photograph of one of those famous, brunette Kate Middleton lookalikes. Who knew?”
Because that is usually what happens in a criminal trial. Often, the person making the complaint (sometimes, but not always, the “victim”) has to come forward and testify, under oath, that x, y and z all happened in a particular way, so that it was actually a crime, and someone was harmed, etcetera. And you have to cover a good portion of your body with clothing, or they won’t let you come into the courthouse.
I mean, if you, or your wife or girlfriend, were walking around naked, in public, and someone walking on a public road had the audacity to take a photograph of that, well, wouldn’t you feel like calling the police and getting the snapper arrested? Right then and there? And if you couldn’t arrange for that to happen because you didn’t learn about the photos until you were on your way to a private island in Micronesia, you’d still want to be able to mobilize Scotland Yard and the French Surete and Interpol, and hunt those camera clickers down. Right?
Right! Because that is what we pay taxes for!
And then, you realize that, even if there were such a “privacy” law that protected your right to walk or lie around in public view completely naked and punish anyone who photographed you with fine and imprisonment, once you returned from your trip to the private island in Micronesia (tanned and rested), you’d still have to testify in court, right? Because, in the Western World, we have a system of justice that allows people accused of crimes to confront their accusers (safely and in open court, where there are armed guards and metal detectors in place). This same system is the one we keep trying to impose on places like Iraq and Libya–a free and open court system that releases us from the bondage of unfair class systems, cults of dictatorial personalissmo, and unfair privilege.
Justice holds a set of scales, but her eyes are often covered with a blind fold. Justice is supposed to be blind–in the best possible way.
If we are very rich and royal, and we show to the courthouse wearing a tiara or at least the very latest Alice Temperley outfit or Stell McCartney’s most fabulous power suit (with nude-colored high-high heeled pumps, a clutch that we keep strategically placed over our tummies, to make people think that we might be pregnant, and a little feathery thingy on an elastic strap atop our heads), our testimony still should not be worth any more or less than another person’s, just based on our last name (or, in the case of Prince William, that fact that he has no legal last name except Saxe-Coburg-Gotha or Shishman, apart from the one his German great-grandfather invented on the eve of World War I, “”Windsor”), or the amount of fashionable clap-trap with which we adorn our person. Right?
In a democracy, at least one that has not completely lost its vitality, even William and Kate Shishman should have to come to court and swear out an oath, and testify.
Will Mr. and Mrs. Shishman, also known as Prince William and his duchess wife, Kate Middleton, be asked to come to court in France and confront their supposed foe?
That is the question. And the answer, in the 21st century legal system, might surprise you.
Usually, the Royals don’t come to court. Certainly not in England, where the law generally provides that “the sovereign cannot be tried in her own courts.” The British Royals can easily have you arrested, and they can also then take away your right to confront them. It is extremely difficult to make them come to court. Even places like France, a nation that decapitated most of its own royalty in a bloody revolution that started its long road to modern democracy, are very accommodating. Maybe they are sorry about Marie Antoinette. Duzzee Kween want us to arrest zee photographeur who took zee naked photoz of Madame Middleton? Bien sur!
Interestingly, when Prince William’s mother Princess Diana was tragically and mysteriously killed in the Paris Alma Tunnel in 1997, her lover Dodi Al Fayed’s father accused Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Phillip, and others within the inner Royal circle and plotting Diana’s murder (and making it look like a car accident). The testimony was interesting and showed that the paparazzi, accused of causing the accident, were miles away from it when it happened. Mohammed Al Fayed, Dodi’s father, believed that Prince Phillip had decided to do away with Diana, and polls showed that quite a few of the Queen’s subjects suspected the same. But when it came time for the Inquest to call Prince Phillip, and perhaps even the Queen herself, to testify, everything came to a stop.
Including the Inquest.
Although testimony showed that Prince Philip had threatened Diana more than once between her separation from Charles and her death, that Diana feared she would be killed, and Philip then produced a packet of letters he’d exchanged with Diana (and each letter was heavily redacted so it could not be read), the Inquest decided that neither Philip nor the Queen would have to testify.
“In my judgment it is not expedient to call the Duke of Edinburgh to give evidence, nor do I think the Queen should be asked to answer the questions by Michael Mansfield," the coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, said, referring to Mohamed al-Fayed’s lawyer.
“Neither step will, in my judgment, further the inquest process.”
When Al Fayed appeared before the Inquest, he was asked if Prince Philip was at the heart of a conspiracy that killed Diana, Dodi, and their driver.
“That's right,” he said.
The inquest earlier heard from Philip’s personal secretary, however, that Prince Philip and Diana had enjoyed a warm relationship, with the two exchanging letters as far back as 1992 and Diana referring to him as “Dearest Pa.” But this contradicted information from others that Philip had been brutally abusive and sent Diana threatening and insulting letters, which she kept in a private box. And the derogatory racist statements attributed to Phillip, along with claims that he did not want Princes William and Harry to have a Muslim stepfather with brown skin and that Dodi was “an oily bedhopper,” were similar to other racist remarks Philip is known to have made.
So where’s the harm in asking? Unless the real harm comes from answering.
The British Royal Family has always had a love-hate relationship with the press, but in England, they control the press, so there is usually less confrontation. Sometimes, though, royalty is inventive in its dealings. When William’s mother first started dating Charles, it was said that photos of her sunbathing nude at a pool in Switzerland had been taken by a school friend. Indeed, those photos did reappear in 1993 when a German magazine offered them for sale, but were withdrawn and given to her. But before then, in 1980, while Diana was still just dating Charles, her family decided to derail the topless photographs’ possible impact by having her uncle, Lord Fermoy, publicly proclaim her virginity: “Diana, I can assure you, has never had a lover,” Fermoy told a reporter.
But if Lord Fermoy’s aim was to lessen the press’s interest in his nubile (but virtuous) niece, it boomeranged. The press did not reply, “Oh, thank you so much for confirming Lady Diana’s virginity,” and then move on. No! The novelty of a prince marrying a 19 year-old virgin bride created a tidal wave of press attention unlike any other recently known (virginity alone being considered a rare state). And this press frenzy was before Charles had even proposed. Scores of photographers and reporters besieged the Queen’s estate at Sandringham, where, in another royal “first,” the Queen herself supposedly galloped up to the encamped photographers, looked directly into the whites of their eyes, and hissed, ordered them to get away and dropped a bomb of the type that would cause flushed faces a royal blush if in good company.
Yes! Can you believe the Queen of England used language like that? But that is what the witnesses say she said.
Of course, those photographers were more respectful of British royalty than the photographer who took the photos of the most recent British royal bride in France. Those photographers at Sandringham decided to run off, rather than snap the Queen, fully clothed and on her mount, but cussing like someone in a decidedly less-elevated station. Although the reporter (even as he ran away) ordered the photographers to stay and take their photos, one took his language directly from the Queen’s own English, with a bomb here and there, if you know what I mean.
Other photographers on the Lady Diana love-watch at Sandringham were cussed out by Prince Philip, who was later accused by a reporter of peppering her car with shotgun pellets (while she was, thankfully, not in it). Prince Charles’s younger brother Edward, then a mere sixteen years old, walked over to a public road to tell photographers, “I wouldn’t stand there. You could get shot.”
So, this is the relationship between British royalty and the press today. They can tell us all to “get away,” they can throw all the cuss bombs they want, they can threaten to shoot us, they can shoot our cars, and they can then order the police of other countries to hunt us down to the ends of the earth because we dared to photograph the royals when they were in public (let alone naked in public).
But Royalty needs to get real.
Kate Middleton is no blushing virgin bride. She is a thirty year-old woman with an education who is obviously sexually experienced and college-educated, so presumably she knows when she is naked. If she doesn’t want to be photographed naked, she should keep her clothes on. Her husband, similarly middle aged, college-educated, and also very experienced with the continuing public interest in his life as a royal, should either tell his wife to keep her clothes on, or bow out and enter private life. And he may need more than a degree in “international geography” to get a real job, although he could always work at his in-laws in their “Party Pieces” business.
Meanwhile, French courts might remember that they fly a tricolor flag (standing for at least three equal classes of persons) and hold to a tripartite national motto that stands for the three democratic values of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Of these three, the most important is the first: “Liberty consists of being able to do anything that does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every man or woman has no bounds other than those that guarantee other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights.”
Without it, you could get shot.
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