That is how a royal house is built, maintained, and continued. Royal visages then appear on money, stamps, coffee cups and tea mugs, even dish rags. We make waxy effigies of them and sell tickets. The Royals will occasionally address Parliament, cut some ribbons, hand out a polo trophy, or make a speech they have partially composed themselves.
Dynasty, the only true check on any monarchy apart from successful revolutions, means a process of dominating elitism that continues through a presumably intact bloodline. Henry VIII was infamous for his psychopathological and murderous pursuit of a male heir. His ultimate female heir, Elizabeth I, was so damaged by her father’s brutality that the Tudor line screetched to a halt with her being unmarried and childless. If there had been strip billiards back in the day, no doubt Henry VIII would have played them with ladies-in-waiting. We think of him as raucous and carousing and enjoying life. We do not think of him as cruelly casting off his wives and children. We do not think of him as infected with chlamydia and syphilis, covered in ulcers oozing smelly pus, and spreading his venereal infections to women he then had killed or banished for miscarriages and stillbirths that surely were the result of his own sexual diseases. And before penicillin, syphilis rarely stayed in a man’s dingle, but raged throughout his body, even to his brain. We do not think of the bloody terror King Henry inspired in hundreds of thousands of common people back then who were simply struggling, in homes of little more than thatch and earth, to survive. We do not think of how crazed and demented he became, ordering the deaths of hundreds of people on charges that would surely constitute human rights violations today.
We do not think.
In chuckling at Prince Harry’s antics, we do not think thoughts like, "What is the future of the British Royal Family if the third heir to the throne becomes HIV positive, or addicted to heroin?" When commentators finally got around to amateurishly assessing the security risks involved in allowing nubile young things to get thisclose to the Royal jewels, not one of them mentioned possible threats of extortion, kidnapping, mayhem or murder. What if the girl turns out to be under the age of consent? What if she cries "Rape!"? What if she turns up dead the next day?
Say what you want about the modern Prince Harry’s mother, the dear, departed Princess Diana, but the current British Royal House is still here today (with tiaras and hats that look like flying saucers have finally landed) in large part because of her. As the teenaged Lady Diana Spencer, she blew, blondish and big-blue-eyed, into the doddering British monarchy like a fresh spring breeze. Within months she married the Heir, and in less than a year, Prince William was born. Prince Harry followed along shortly later, but under less sublime, less romantic circumstances. Whatever one may say about her personal pain (and there is a lot to be said), Princess Diana intuitively understood the concept of dynasty, and she did her part–two children, both males (a cherished and desired sex in British royalty, regardless of how much its two hereditary Elizabeths have been beloved). Both sons have survived to adulthood. They have also survived their mother’s violent and untimely death, their father’s marriage to his adulterous lover, and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that life throws at everyone, royal or not.
One son has married, but no heir is yet apparent. The other lives a life that indicates something important is missing.
And then, there’s that part about the brain power.
British royalty traditionally didn’t need a lot of brain power because they had loyal security personnel to protect them, and devoted courtiers to do their thinking for them. The duty of the protected, frankly, was to marry and get on with it. Popular or not, a dynasty cannot survive without legitimate heirs, and the Windsor dynasty is no different. If the revolution ever comes to the Windsors, it may well come via Facebook.
by Sarah Whalen
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