I was interested to read a brief article in the press this weekend, about the current state of affairs, regarding the intrusion of the paparazzi in the British Royal Family's everyday life. As a British subject, who is not especially pro the Royal family, I have mixed feelings.
The Royal Family do a wonderful job, or do they?
Royalists will tell you that the main members of the Royal family work hard and that no one in their right minds would want to undergo such work.
It is true that they are under scrutiny constantly and have to attend all and sundry functions and events, no matter how boring they may be. However, the rewards are great. If they tow the line, it is a job for life. No redundancies here or threat of unemployment and financial ruin.
Their children are set up for life, even before they are born. Living a privileged lifestyle means that they will want for nothing financially.
Princes and princesses belong in fairy stories, don't they?
To my mind, the 21st Century does not need ancient Royal families. However, there are many who would disagree. Obviously, the Royal Family, despite "working ever so hard", want to maintain their lifestyle. Can you blame them?
The British Royal Family, the paparazzi and the press.
In recent years, the royals and the press have developed a strange relationship. After the paparazzi, almost hounded Princess Diana to her death a new era began.
Strict rules have been laid down about just what and whom the press can photograph, and when. It appears that this has been particularly the case, with regards to Prince Charles and his two sons, Princes William and Harry. Fair enough.
The current furore has seen the Queen's lawyers contacting newspapers informing them of their privacy obligations under their own code of practice.
However, when it suits the royals press intrusion is positively encouraged. Take the coming out of Camilla, as Charles consort. This event was staged carefully and excessive amounts of press were invited. All of this so that the ordinary public could be shown the two of them together in acceptable circumstances.
When Diana tragically died, there was a backlash in the UK against the Queen and other Royals. This heralded a staged show of respect to Diana by senior members of the Royal Family. It would seem that press intrusion is fine when it works to your advantage.
You cannot have your cake and eat it.
So overall, no disrespect intended, you cannot court publicity when it suits you and then complain when you do not like what may be aired. Diana was guilty of this. Much as the paparazzi hounded that poor woman, she was prone to court the press when necessary.
In this, the 21st Century the Royal Family is a strange phenomenon. Way past its sell by date, it has survived sometimes by the skin of its teeth. I agree that press coverage should be sensitive but that also means that the royals should not be manipulating the press for their own ends when it suits them.
At Christmas-time, the Royals will be unhappy if the paparazzi stalk them, quite rightly so, of course. However, if the press and public lose interest in this family and they are completely ignored by them, the Royal family will be distraught.
The correct balance is essential, as the general public is far less gullible than it once was.