Britain underwhelmed by Royal Engagement
Much of the reaction I have witnessed online to yesterday’s announcement of the engagement between Prince William and Kate Middleton royal engagement suggests that the nation is in a somewhat chippy mood.
The media reacted almost as if it had taken a narcotic, riding a huge high of frenzied excitement over the fairytale yesterday and then coming back to Earth with a hangover this morning. The BBC took this literally, indeed, scrambling a helicopter to circle aimlessly over Buckingham Palace long before the official phot0-call. Newspapers quickly cleared their home pages and dusted off features covering every conceiveable angle, all probably written months ago in preparation for the event. Iain Martin summarises what no self-respecting royal engagement souvenir supplement should be without.
Almost as soon as the news broke, however, political journalists scurried off to see what news the government was trying to bury and quickly alighted on the announcement that David Cameron’s ‘vanity photographer’ was leaving the public payroll he had only just joined. Janet Daley complained today that blanket coverage by the BBC had crowded out news of the impending Irish economic takeover bail-out by the EU. The TaxPayers Alliance, for its part, has been leading demands for the Royal Family itself to foot much of the bill for the wedding.
This somewhat misanthropic tone perhaps chimes more readily with the wider public mood. Cynicism and hostility towards the Establishment – politicians and royalty alike – is now almost universal and, with public spending cuts shortly to bite Middle England hard, it is easy to understand why calls for restraint in the scale of the event make a popular refrain. The nation wishes them well – they seem a nice couple and all that – but is otherwise underwhelmed.