The Madness of Prince William

Dancing war demons  enact the grieving prince’s vengeful sorrow in Solomon Islands. photo: Daily Mail

Wow. Prince William, the boy whose mother was “killed by paparazzi” in a tunnel in Paris 15 years ago, has been building to this moment, when he can revenge himself on the media hell hounds who destroyed his once, and now threaten his future, happiness.

“Eyes off my duchess!” he wants to scream.

I’ve been reading too much Daily Mail, if that’s possible, but maybe even Yanks are aware Kate Middleton bared her nipples at a French chateau visible from a country road and a photographer took aim and the pix wound up on the cover of something called Closer, in France, then in the royalty-baiting Irish Star, and on Monday, Italian tabloid Chi follows suit.


From the tabloid point of view, this is a bit of irresistible late summer fun from a newly married, overly entitled (pun intended) pair doing a victory lap in some of the further flung outposts of “There’ll always be an Empire”.

From the feminist point of view, it’s another in a series of degradations, which even a royal cannot escape. The necessary stripping of a woman to put her in her place as sexual prey.

From the point of view of anyone who still clings to the concept “private life” it’s an insane intrusion into a quiet moment away from the madding crowd. Aren’t there any real news stories out there? Isn’t there enough spectacle already on the internet to feed the eyes of all the morons in the universe?

Apparently not.

So William has decided to take a stand, saying, “If we don’t take a stand now, when will we take a stand?”

He’s suddenly revealed as an incurably hurt little boy. The question is, who exactly is it who hurt him? On whom exactly is he to wreak revenge?

Imagine what it’s like for him. Imagine being raised to maybe think you ought to be able to wield some power and it turns out you’re only good for letting shorter heads of state drape you in leis.

In the photo above, William’s in his customary sloping, submissive posture before a guy with an armful of leis, while Solomon Islands natives perform a war dance of welcome, perhaps putting ideas into his head. Perhaps these so-called primitive peoples have got it right. Maybe this is war.

The question is, who is he at war with?

His latest brainstorm is to “jail” the offending photographer and publisher. As a journalist myself, I find that a bit far-fetched. Isn’t it these young royals’ job to entertain the masses? Since they no longer serve any remotely useful purpose, it’s their job to be photographed.

One would think it’s also their job to not show their tits in public. Yes, a long lens was used but it was used from a public road. Are you going to outlaw long lenses? No doubt it would be a better world if you could.

It’s a bit of a pickle, in this day of spying and being spied upon.

I sympathize with his grief. Diana died August 31, 1997, and on that day this year he surely remembered the whole grisly spectacle, again, with deep sorrow. Her loss is the emblem of his failure to protect her, a melancholy that never leaves his face.

Two weeks after that mournful anniversary, Kate’s nipples hit the world wide web. Doesn’t a man defend his woman? As a boy he couldn’t save his beloved Mum. The wound runs so deep.

Was it the paparazzi who killed Diana? Or the drunken chauffeur? Or the life in exile after a bitter breakup with William’s father? Or the fact that Buckingham Palace declined to protect Diana’s life once she was no longer queen-to-be?

William is in the queasy position of having to forgive his father for having betrayed his Mum in such a public, sleazy, and finally fatal way. William is forced to get along with the stepmother who colluding in that long secret betrayal. As heir to the throne, he’s supposed to behave himself. Who or what is an acceptable target for his fathomless rage at the loss of his sublime mother too young?

Was it old statesman John Major, his guardian and privy counsellor, who gave him the notion to sue the “peeping tom”? What a weak move.

When royalty takes someone to court, don’t they thereby cease to be royalty? Isn’t the whole point of being royal to embody the law? How tawdry to stoop to the level of a poor hack with a long lens in order to slap his wrist. What’s the discrepancy in income between plaintiff and accused?

On another note, when Buckingham Palace accuses the Irish Star of “greed” — after centuries of English greed has drained the Irish people of their wealth — the unwitting irony is so thick it defies parody.

In the long run, maybe Wills would be happier off the throne. Maybe he and Kate — if they’re indeed a love match and not merely a power couple — could re-purpose themselves as champions of fair and decent treatment for all, and set an example by throwing off false emblems of dignity like crowns, cloaks and castles.

If he wants a private life, it’s his to take. There’s a second son to fill his shoes, as there was for his great-uncle Edward VIII. Maybe then he could begin to relieve his mind of the horrid internal conflicts of his sordid ancestry.


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