‘Such duty as the subject owes the prince,
Even such a woman oweth to her husband.’
-The Taming of the Shrew, 5. 2

There’s small choice in rotten apples.
The Taming of the Shrew, 1. 1


The last time I wrote about the royal family was in 1997. I had an article published in a Birmingham radical Afro-Carribean community magazine, about the death of Princess Diana. I commented, not a little pretentiously, on the way Diana’s body was brought back to British shores, draped in the flag featuring the Prince of Wales’ coat of arms. She escaped, all too briefly, the tyranny of the Windsor clan, only to be engulfed and wrapped up by them, by the Crown, by the Empire, finally, in her death.

Now Diana’s first born son and heir to the thrown is about to be married. And once again, I am struck by how the royal family marries its subjects to it, traps us in a bond we seem unable to escape. Kate Middleton appears on the face of it to be a willing ‘victim’. Unlike Charles and Diana’s, William and Kate’s relationship seems to be one based not on duty, but on love. They met at university. They lived together. They are the same age. Just as Diana and Charles seemed awkward, out of step, uncomfortable, so these two seem compatible, in tune, happy. But I think their union represents, as Diana and Charles’ did, a symbolic reinforcement of, not only the monarchy, but also of the institution of heterosexual marriage itself.


Kate Middleton  couldn’t be more different from the ‘shrewish’ Kate in Shakespeare’s Taming of The Shrew. She may have the dark hair and strong figure, and Diana may have been more like Kate’s sister in the play, Bianca: blonde, demure, ‘angelic’ and dutiful. But as we now know, Diana actually demonstrated she was the fiery rebel, and  the Windsors treated her as the ‘shrew’ that brought shame and trouble on their family. Kate Middleton it seems, has arrived at The House of Windsor ready-tamed. She has already placed her hand under Prince William’s  foot, and will probably serve and honour him for the rest of her days.

There has been a lot of hoo-ha in the press (from the little coverage I have read) about the class differences between the two. How shocking that a ‘middle class’ woman would dare to marry the  prince. I don’t have a window on The Queen’s mind, but I think that actually she may be quite relieved at her grandson’s choice of bride.  Elizabeth has not had an ‘annus horribilis’ since ‘that woman’ shifted off this mortal coil. But she knows that the monarchy is never entirely safe from the republican threat. The culture of empire, inheritance and entitlement is being challenged in the UK, as symbolised by devolution, the peace process in Ireland, the reform of the House of Lords, and, in a small way, that paint-splattered car carrying Charles and Camilla amidst the student riots.  Having a middle class woman marry into the monarchy is probably a good PR move for the Windsors. It shows them to be less ‘stuffy’ and ‘old-money’ and ‘aristocratic’ than they in fact are. It suggests ‘modernity’ and even ‘inclusivity’. And it means the people, though they may have been totally in love with the original ‘people’s princess’, have a chance to identify once more with the heir (to the heir) to the throne and his bride.

Because a royal wedding is not just a showcase for the royal family ( a family that needs some positive media coverage, as it still includes nefarious characters such as Prince Andrew and his dodgy dealings, and his hilariously dodgy dealing ex-wife). It is also a showcase for the institution of marriage itself. Marriage is on a steady decline in the UK. There is probably nothing anyone can do to stop this. And, if I were The Queen, or probably more significantly her heirs, I may be a little concerned. Because, as Shakespeare knew, the whole concept of being a ‘subject’, of serving your King or Queen and Country, is bound up with the concept of being a wife, or even a husband. If people can’t be bothered to show their allegiance to  each other in a formal declaration endorsed by the state, what hope that they will give a toss about serving an old lady in a crown and a big house?

Enter the Gays, sashaying and swishing in their wedding gowns and tiaras. ‘Gay Marriage’ ironic as it may sound (to those of us who remember when ‘gay’ meant something vaguely radical) could actually be the thing that boosts the marriage stats. And all those queens who will I am sure, before too long, get their chance to be princesses for the day, may also actually bolster our respect and loyalty to the actual Queen and princes and princesses of this land. Remember Diana? Remember how popular she was with the gays? Yes it was because she showed compassion to people suffering from HIV/AIDS, yes it was because she was a diva in the gay melodrama sense. But also I think some gay people like the idea of being truly embraced by the establishment. Of being ‘subjects’. And Diana held out her dainty princesses hand and they took it. Kate Middleton is no Diana. But if Gay Marriage becomes legal anytime soon, I expect her marriage to William will be up there in the gay diary of great gay moments in history, along with Diana’s funeral (because lets face it the gays loved that more than her wedding), with Cabaret, with oh you know all the big gay moments by now.

Peter Tatchell,  that well-known campaigner against the privileges of the few, and for the rights of many, has thrown his tiara into the ring. He has organised protests, not against the monarchy, or against the heteronormative oppressive institution of marriage, but to call for gays to be able to marry like Kate and William are. Tatchell’s statement, as part of the Equal Love campaign, demanding marriage and civil partnership rights for all couples (cross-sex and same sex) says:

“We wish William and Kate every happiness. May they have a joyful marriage and a wonderful married life together.

“The royal couple are lucky. They have the option to get married. Gay couples don’t have this option. They are barred by law from marriage.

“We urge Kate and William to support marriage equality: the right of same-sex couples to get married. Their support would mean a lot. They take for granted the right to marry. Marriage is something that many lesbian and gay couples want but cannot have.”

This is a clever move by Tatchell I think. If his goal is to achieve gay marriage rights, and the ‘heterosexualisation’ of homosexuality once and for all, how better to do it than to tie the rights of gay and queer people to the mast of the monarchy, the ultimate symbol of (heteronormative) power in Great Britain? Also it is a way of extending the ‘struggle’, so that, no matter how much ‘equality’ gay and LGBQT people achieve, if they can’t enjoy the same rights and privileges as the most privileged couple in the country, have they achieved true ‘equality’?

I write this when I am still feeling sickened by the news of a trans woman who was assaulted in McDonald’s in America, for entering the women’s WC. This assault was filmed by cheering onlookers and then uploaded onto youtube. I won’t link to the story as all the links include the video and I find that chilling in itself. Equally or even more chilling is the story of the Long Island sex workers who have been murdered recently, probably all by the same person. If Tatchell is looking for continued oppression of ‘sexual’ minorities, he might consider those women, rather than the wedding of Kate Middleton.

So I think Peter Tatchell has got his priorities all wrong. Foucault, a gay man who did not enjoy the ‘right’ to get married to the man he loved (if he had have wanted to – I do hope not) nor the ‘right’ to not die from complications arising from the HIV virus he contracted, said that it is the ‘fascist inside’ us that we need to be aware of and to fight, if we want to achieve some kind of liberated society. I think Kate Middleton represents quite well that fascist inside us. Mild-mannered, aspirational, insipid, respectable, that is how I imagine the fascist inside me.

And all I want to do with fascism is to kill it.

Comments
  1. Clarence says:

    So:

    You support gay marriage but hate heterosexual marriage?

    Just making sure I get this correct.

  2. mcduff says:

    Firstly, I think it’s a shame that Kate is so far outside the gene pool. I was looking forward to seeing the next generation of Royals emerge with more elbows than teeth, as a cautionary tale for others.

    Secondly, I agree with pretty much every republican and anti-marriage sentiment expressed here on a personal level.

    Thirdly, though, even though I can’t see why marriage is necessary in the modern day and age, I don’t think it’s up to me to tell people what part of the repressive norm they choose to be a part of. Life is hard all over, fitting in with society is a coping mechanism, not everyone is a bomb throwing rebel out to fuck the world. If you *want* to join in with that song and dance, and it certainly seems as if a lot of shallow motherfuckers do, why *should* we let some tediously outmoded quasi-religious prudery get in the way of people who want to sanctify their immoral hellbound behaviour in front of God and Country? I mean, it doesn’t make any *sense* but we let a lot of people do things that don’t make sense.

    It’s like the Burka ban. Yes, it’s a symbol of a horrible repressive system. But it’s also more than that to individual women and I don’t think we gain more as a society by saying “you can’t wear that” than by saying “you can, but also here is an environment where we strive to make it genuinely your choice.”

    So with gay marriage. Yes it’s a rubbish institution that’s tied into all manner of social control. But that doesn’t mean it’s of any benefit to us to say “only people of type X get to take part in it.”

    • ‘So with gay marriage. Yes it’s a rubbish institution that’s tied into all manner of social control. But that doesn’t mean it’s of any benefit to us to say “only people of type X get to take part in it.”’

      That is not what I am saying. Also I am not saying people who get married are stupid or lacking in rationality. Far from it. Marriage is a very rational thing to do.
      I am not calling for the banning of anything or the exclusion from marriage of gay people.

      I think my message is clear.

  3. Hans says:

    You’re so misunderstood ;-) BTW, I only came here because you don’t follow my Tweets tsk tsk so I couldn’t direct message and say this:

    A) “Ejaculating into a water bottle makes you a rapist? Shit, I just ejaculated into my shower, contaminated the city’s water supply, and virtually raped the entirety of Miami, then!”
    B) “Who doesn’t apologize for sexual assault every now and then? It toughens chicks up.”
    C) Kidding, kidding.
    D) But yeah, don’t worry about the humorless dicks of the world.

  4. Hans says:

    I think it’s HallucinaBlog. I already follow you, so you’ll probably find me.

  5. Hans says:

    ALSO- being from the other side of the pond- to me the idea of kings and queens and PRINCESSES for Petessakes seems so bizarre… You guys might as well have unicorns and dragons roaming around.
    ALSO ALSO- I never understood why all those bitching and bemoaning the end of marriage don’t just give up and let gay people get married, which would mean millions of new marriages practically overnight? And it’s clearly against the interest of their bullshit to have a large part of the population living sexually and perfectly content out of wedlock- it gives the straights ideas, doesn’t it?
    ALSO ALSO ALSO I love weddings and how expensive they are :-) It makes being single seem like the solid financial decision.

  6. Mr. Divine says:

    Great Gay Moments in History

    1. Princesses Di’ wedding
    2. Princesses Di’s funeral
    3. Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’
    4. Kylie’s ” The Locomotion yea”
    5. Monroe’s Squeal of Delight

  7. Mr. Divine says:

    My wife has a bit of ‘a taming of the shrew in her’. She really has, but also a very soft side. She’s also a good cook. Tell us a bit about you. This is when I got the boot from Cath Elliot’s blog… asking ‘personal details’. Like where approx do you live? I give out my ‘approx’ living details, Riverina NSW then why can’t they? OK they may choose not to but can I not ask? And that is my reason for being banned from Elliot’s blog. I asked where do you live approx? A ‘personal’ detail .. a banning offence! Can we not just give approx questions and answers? Are you more open minded Quiet Riot Girl?

    • Youve already asked the most personal question ever as youve asked about my gender identity which I answered.

      I live in the UK. Mainly London. Hence being bombarded by the royal wedding!

  8. Billy says:

    This is one of my favourites of your writings. and I love the “inner fascist” bit. Now I have a name for it.

  9. maggie says:

    “I write this when I am still feeling sickened by the news of a trans woman who was assaulted in McDonald’s in America, for entering the women’s WC. This assault was filmed by cheering onlookers and then uploaded onto youtube. I won’t link to the story as all the links include the video and I find that chilling in itself. Equally or even more chilling is the story of the Long Island sex workers who have been murdered recently, probably all by the same person.”

    She was not excluded from the toilet because she was trans but because she didn’t buy anything.

    Long Island murders were now recognised to be the work of several people.

    ” Foucault, a gay man who did not enjoy the ‘right’ to get married to the man he loved (if he had have wanted to – I do hope not) nor the ‘right’ to not die from complications arising from the HIV virus he contracted,”

    You don’t like marriage.

    Are you really, seriously suggesting that Foucalt had Aids? You are one sick individual and I’ve waited to write this for quite some time…

    • ‘You are one sick individual and I’ve waited to write this for quite some time…’

      Well now’s your chance, Maggie. Thanks for your comment. And for reminding me why I wrote this.

    • 1) she was *assaulted and filmed being assaulted because she was a trans woman. Is a trans woman.

      2) They have not to my knowledge caught the long island murderer(s) so we don’t know that.

      3) Foucault had AIDS before AIDS was recognised so it wasn’t widely publicised as AIDS but his partner has since acknowledged it was.

      If you have any evidence to challenge these statements do share it.

  10. Mark says:

    Foucault was wrong. I think it’s pretty clear that what we needed to be most vigilant against was the little princess inside. The one that demands a Big Day. Especially if you’re gay – because otherwise it is DISCRIMINATION and SEXUAL APARTHEID! (No matter that marriage discriminates in all sorts of ways against single people.)

    That’s part of the calculated appeal of commoner Kate marrying Prince William: the princess becomes a Princess. We can all buy shares in monarchy – and marriage – through aspiration. It’s a marriage of celebrity culture with royal populism.

    Though of course Kate has won this reality TV show prize of prizes by being as dull as possible and never saying anything of any consequence in all the years she’s been courting Prince William.

    • ‘Though of course Kate has won this reality TV show prize of prizes by being as dull as possible and never saying anything of any consequence in all the years she’s been courting Prince William.’

      I read that, Mark, as ‘never wearing anything of any consequence’…

      which is why they keep going on and on about THAT see-through dress. It’s the only thing she has either said or worn of any ‘consequence’.

      But that sounds like I care.

  11. fennerpearson says:

    @maggie
    I’m not sure I understand a couple of your points.

    Regarding the trans women, are you seriously suggesting she was assaulted simply because she didn’t buy anything and that it was nothing to do with her being trans?

    Regarding the murders, QRG says it was “probably” one person. That aside, doesn’t the fact it was more than one person make it worse?

    As far as QRG being a sick individual, I’ve not seen any evidence of that, having followed her for some time. Although, if you’ve been waiting for “quite some time” to be pointlessly rude to her, maybe you know her better.

    @QRG Enjoyable writing, as ever. Not sure I agree 100% but very interested in what you have to say.

  12. here’s the wedding card from Tatchell and co to the happy couple:

    http://equallove.org.uk/2011/04/giant-royal-wedding-card/

  13. 2020 says:

    Don’t know what else to say other than you are hardcore for writing this. \m/

  14. Hans says:

    I wish I got called a “sick individual” more often. It beats “retard who doesn’t know what he’s talking about” which I get a lot. As in this: http://hallucina.blogspot.com/2011/04/right-back-at-you-toots-or-venture-this.html

  15. Mr. Divine says:

    Thanks for that Quiet Riot Girl. I appreciate you telling me your most personal detail. I like knowing where the person is. What I have noticed about you is your online energy. You knock the stuff out like there was no tomorrow.

    I got married for a visa in Japan one afternoon and no one was invited. We got strangers in a Japanese registry office to witness the union. I never thought it (being married) would matter, and now I’m not so sure. No one is immune to society’s pressures.

    The honeymoon was 25 minutes in a locally packed swimming pool full of kids.

  16. Mr. Divine says:

    I just read through the section of Cath’s Elliot’s blog that got you banned. Fab Libber also called for my banning. In fact it is very funny that the article was about blog abuse. And here was you in the middle of a cauldron of PC fanatics getting abused. Finally the bullies got you banned! I get the troll label quite a bit too.
    Anyway now I know you’re 40. Have you been married or anything?

  17. elflojo84 says:

    What I wouldn’t give to be called “one sick individual” from time to time. Preferably in a breathy voice from a sweaty, naked girl, but from a self-righteous feminist would do too I suppose. I guess I don’t inspire that same combination of fear, disgust and incomprehension that you do because a) I don’t self-identify as a particular non-mainstream (!!!!!) sexual label which they can safely mock; and b) I’m male so to be (as they see it) weird, depraved and sexually fucked-up isn’t “sick”, it’s “normal”.

  18. elissa says:

    I’m hoping they’ll kiss on the balcony, just like his parents did – though hopefully showing a bit more television passion then that walking corpse of a father showed to Diana. God was she ever young.

    They really should have an Italian style wedding. If Silvio Berlusconi was involved somehow, I’d certainly watch the spectacle…from work.

  19. Latte Labour says:

    You sick individual – how dare you cite widely recognised medical facts about dead philosophers? Is nothing sacred? Why don’t you just go back to Russia?

    Other than that, very thought-provoking post. Thanks for your participation.

  20. Mr. Divine says:

    I suspect you haven’t been married but I can’t tell from the article. How does a married or ex-married person write? Is it any different to someone who hasn’t been? And just because you’re ‘against the royal wedding doesn’t mean you’re against all marriage and states of living together. So I suspect you have not been married but have lived with someone in a marriage like state. Am I right?

  21. Mr. Divine says:

    I was wondering if you would like to host A Royal Family Wedding Blog Cannabis party. Someone at New Statesman wants to talk about smoking cannabis openly (see Blanchflower’s recent Housing article). Perhaps you could knock up a quick article about celebrating the wedding by smoking dope, and lets if you can get some guests.

  22. Mr. Divine says:

    Here let me do the article. A guest writer? The Royal Wedding has stirred the pot of many cannabis smokers. A day off to get totally ripped off your head all day has lighted the ignition of stone heads around the UK. Shiploads of hashish have arrived on these shores in anticipation of The Pow Wow, the very same day of the Royal Wedding. Tens of thousands of stone heads will be watching the Royal Wedding having had or consuming da weed. Many would have mixed da weed with the red wine. Some have been known to have partied since Christmas in anticipation of the wedding.
    In honur of these stone heads this blog would like to welcome a blog ‘rave’ on the day of the wedding. How many stoneheads can you get to this article on Royal wedding Day.

    How’s that for an article. Call It’ Royal Wedding Cannabis Party’

    If you hit national news because of this you could be famous. You don’t need to say who it is. And I’ll try to invite lots of people there for a ‘rave’! Your blog could take off.

  23. Mr. Divine says:

    You can use your ‘connections’ to make it big.

  24. Mr. Divine says:

    I’m just writing this so I make your comment all blue with me! Come on strong I say!

  25. Mr. Divine says:

    THE ROYAL WEDDING CANNABIS PARTY

  26. Mr. Divine says:

    The day of the Wedding has finally arrived and Quiet riot Girl is throwing a

    ROYAL WEDDING CANNABIS PARTY

  27. elissa says:

    Only users lose drugs Divine

    I think the royal horse buggy is going to lose a wheel tomorrow, and Kate will tumble out in her white dress, and give the world her middle finger as she climbs back in.

  28. Mr. Divine says:

    Actually it is today that such an event should happen. Or do you mean that Kate on her honeymoon will lose her white dress in the spokes of a carriage wheel?

  29. Mr. Divine says:

    elissa: you’re in to the party with welcoming arms. The Royal Wedding Cannabis party has it’s first guest!

  30. Mr Divine- you seem to be spamming this thread with your cannabis party. we got the idea the first time. I am not publishing any more cannabis related comments here. Thanks.

  31. Mr. Divine says:

    Does that mean that the party has been called off? You’re not as open minded as I thought you would be.

  32. Mr. Divine says:

    Or are you just the second guest? Who will be the third?

  33. OH. Now I have seen ‘Cathy Elliott’ I am wondering if this is the real Stephen Baxter. For a moment I thought it was but now I am not so sure.

  34. I don’t think that’s the real Cath Elliott but whoever you are, hi.

  35. Yes both ‘cathy elliott’ and ‘stephen baxter’ spell their names differently from the originals.
    weird.

  36. laurie penny says:

    Not only did the two princes look as if they’ve come to a circus performance both of them were stoned off their faces.

    Prince Harry had been bonging it away just before the car trip.

    A lot of sober people think that these people are nice when in fact they were nice because they’re stoned out of their minds .. Prince William and Prince Harry were suppressing their stone headed giggles throughout the ceremony.

    The Queen too is on a form anti-psychotic that enables her to get a good night’s rest.

    Prince Charles takes ‘lifters’, organic concoctions of herbal medicines designed to give your body a speed like high with a opiumatic backdrop.

    Look at the eyes of Princess Breatice, big black eyes of a heroin addict .. addicted since she was 14. Notice how pissed off Andrew was with his daughters, urging them to get their arses into gear? Andrew, the man who likes his sexual partners young.. what’s he on? Whiskey By the Ton.

    Need I go with this circus performance? A women who in her twenties spends all the time in the mirror preening her wave and smile. That same wave and smile that all little girls do. Except this woman has had ten years practice. Was she good or was she good? I suppose you would be if that’s all you’ve been doing it for 10 years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s