Seán Flynn insists that we shouldn’t be that shocked by the sight of a playboy prince.
This was previously published on The Deptford Croppy
Harry Wales…don’t you just love/hate him (delete as appropriate)?
Certainly, it’s been fun watching the mainstream British media trying to gauge public opinion as they trotted out their ‘Glenda Slagg‘-style op-ed pieces on the merry japes of the turd (pardon me, third) in line for the throne.
Self-righteous fulmination was the general mood (at least initially) with even The Guardian demanding that the young prince be stripped of his royal title á la Sarah Ferguson. What utter foolishness.
The British public apparently want to have it both ways. On the one hand, they want their Royals to be less distant and more down-to-earth and yet when they get their wish and the Queen’s grandson behaves like many young of men of twenty on a week in Ayia Napa, the collective dummy is duly spat.
Of course, it’s a little more nuanced than that: the average blue collar response has largely been one of indifference; if the prince wants to play saucy party games ‘in the altogether’, then good luck to him. A loud and sanctimonious middle class however has been less forgiving of these kind of shenanigans. But it’s probably best to just let them carry on spluttering their toast into their Daily Mails and Telegraphs; after all, a butt-nekkid Harry is just another outraged harrumph in their Groundhog day of self-righteous indignation.
Besides, if the great British public insists on selecting its head of state from a small pool of over-bred, under-worked and congenitally feckless aristocrats, solely on the basis of their putative relationship with a thousand-year-dead fat Norman (known to the British as The Conqueror but elsewhere dubbed William the Bastard), then that decision should be respected as the will of a nation, which it undoubtedly is.
And if the younger sons and those of lesser primogeniture within the family prove indiscreet, this — I would have thought — is the rough to be taken with the smooth of pomp and ceremony. Besides, young Royals behaving badly is hardly life-changing news is it? This looks pretty much like business as usual at the top table. The British aristocracy has been carrying on like this at least since the change of management brought on by the Battle of Hastings.
I’m no David Starkey (ie. fawning royal sycophant/historian with suspect racial views) but off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure that the widely reported extracurricular activities of Charles II, the Regent George, Edward VII (when he was Prince of Wales) and more recently, good old Randy Andy — to name but a few –don’t exactly cover the British Royals with glory.
The whole affair took a another turn later in the week. The Sun — at least on the evidence of reportage in other sections of the national media — seems to have sorely misjudged the national mood in its decision to print ‘those pictures’ that had already appeared on TMZ.
The Sun’s reasoning for going back on its agreement to adhere to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC)’s code of conduct in relation to photos taken on private property was that the royal family was trying to “muzzle the world’s most vibrant newspaper”. Furthermore the Sun went on to tell us that there was a “clear public interest” for publication.
Pictures of the idle rich and their naked frolics are not, it would appear, about unseemly and envious voyeurism, they are rather a springboard for a “legitimate public debate about the behaviour of the man who is third in line to the throne”. That’s all right then…Only apparently it wasn’t, because the PCC received in excess of 850 complaints about the Sun’s decision to publish.
The rest of the press is doubtless hoping that this misjudgement opens a new chapter in the decline of News International’s fortunes in Britain and commentators have since been been queuing up to wonder about what Lord Leveson and his ongoing Inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the UK press will make of all this. Is this just further evidence of Fleet Street’s inability to regulate itself?
A bizarre corollary of this Ginger Nut Circus is the topsy-turvy state of affairs it creates where PR éminence grise Max Clifford is able to present himself as a guardian of both the moral high-ground and royal modesty.Clifford told reporters that he had been called by women in the US on Thursday who were looking to sell what they claimed was photos and video footage. “They said they have very interesting material and was I the same person who represented Simon Cowell and would I represent them? I said ‘no’. There was a silence. I said I don’t think it’s right. It’s an invasion of privacy,” Clifford said.
So we’re then left to wonder whether Max knows if there’s strip billiards clip or picture out there of Harry sinking the pink…
AP Photo/Dylan Martinez