Friday, 29 April 2011

Not on the bus

Now I know why my mum suggested a day trip to France in the summer of 1981! It was (in those days at least) a remarkably successful way of avoiding a royal wedding. The parallels with 1981 are hard to miss - here we are in the depths of a grim economic time with cuts aplenty and anger on the streets. So up they pop, "Look at the pretty dress! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain/ bunch of old-school Eton bastards doing over the poorest and most vulnerable again..."

But leaving aside the anger at the ridiculous pomp and forelock tugging, yesterday I found myself pondering the royal life as I sat on the bus to work. I was content, a bit melancholy for one reason and another, but basically content on the bus. Outside there were some late teens/early twenties larking about on the play equipment in the park - at ease with each other. Students on the bus were listening to music and reading their notes. A couple were discussing some complicated arrangement of bank accounts and overdrafts that might see them through to the end of the year. An old woman was pushing a trolley along the pavement with cat food poking out the top. No one wanted me for anything. I was in my home town feeling safe, feeling I belonged, feeling free. And I wondered then if any person born into the royal family can ever have that feeling? I tried to imagine a life where you have never known what it is to be just another person - to never have that invisibility. I wondered how it would be to never get on the bus, pay your fair, sit there and watch the world go by.

I know there are a lot of other things that being royal takes away - like worrying how you might pay the gas bill or wondering if the landlord might decide to sell your flat. No material suffering in such a life. But emotionally? What does it do to a child to be born into such a bizarre life? It's a curse, I reckon. The life of a caged animal. The life of a symbol, a stuffed suit or a face under a hat. No choice and no voice. No opportunity to be a part of society beyond the tiny elite. No chance to get on the bus.

5 comments:

Gill said...

Agreed. I would not swap my life for their's for any money. (Not even for their money!) There's also the unwashed millions and their propensity for bloody rebellions to worry about. I'd rather be me too. :)

lizardyoga said...

I agree too. I have always thought that the royals suffer more than anyone else from this bizarre system. I avoided the wedding by writing a radio play

Allie said...

Indeed, Gill. All those restrictions and a nasty nagging fear that someone, somewhere wants to chop your head off...

Writing a radio play? That sounds like it was an excellent idea.

Maire said...

Totally agree, have always felt sorry for them while wishing to set them free! Still do though with trepidation at what parasitical psychopaths will take their place!

Heidi Ahrens said...

I love being anonymous in big cities. I miss that now that I live in a small town. No royalty envy for me. Heidi Ahrens homeschool moms for moms.com