Phil the Greek in the deep by Rowan Tallant

MMR #7: The Royal Family in the 21st century, online and on the loose

Podcast: Phil’s in the doghouse but the #RoyalFamily have embraced the modern media. Robin Gibson and Sean Gollogly search their website to find out what exactly they’re up to. Contains deference and forelock-tugging.


Royal.uk The Royal Family

amber traffic lightGo easy: hereditary sloth

The Royal Family have dragged themselves into the 21st century. Just in time, eh? We’re nearly a fifth of the way through it – closer to 2065 than 1965, though you wouldn’t know by the number of mags in WH Smith all about the Beatles.

But anyway, yes! The UK’s top owner-breeder team, who’ve lasted a lot longer than the Beatles, and attracted a lot more hangers-on, have realised they can’t just go along like they were, owning and breeding with abandon and impunity. Or more likely someone’s told them they can’t, like when Blair nudged the Queen into the empathy mask that time Diana died.

Modern-shaped subjects aren’t satisfied by a flaccid wave from a glittery carriage – the subjects who want any of it at all – and the Balmoral bunch have reacted by trying to inform the public about just what it is they’re actually up to.

They’ve cranked up a website, a Twitter account, and some other social media you’d have to be be pretty desperate to bother with. It’s virtual reality, but that’s a sight closer to the R-word than most of the clan get.

Problem is, if you’re visiting to find out how hard they’re working for us, the evidence is a bit hidden. A year ago, the site was publishing Future Engagements with a flourish, right at the top of the home page, but now you have to dig it out. If you can’t be arsed digging – and let’s face it, that’s like working for them when they’re meant to be working for us – it’s here.

Once you get there, it’s quite user-friendly. You can just drop down the menu and find your favourite royal worker – or the Queen. Not a lot going on, though, with everyone bar the work-crazed Princess Royal resting their regal plates after Christmas.

The scheduled future king has a pretty light book – but he has got his own subsidiary website, interestingly with a gov.uk suffix. But he’ll be busy practising telling people what to do. Do this, do that. Jump to it. He’ll be a top king.

The young ones are even less occupied than the oldies. You’d think the Dukes and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex would be putting themselves about a bit. They need to make a mark. They’re closer to the throne than they think. But no. They’re doing nothing! Literally piss all. Still it’s that time of year. Who wants to go out? Especially to work.

Anne, Princess Royal and Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, is in touch with some people, if not the people. Relatively speaking. Going by the site, Annie is the daddy of patronising, presenting and paw-pressing.

She’s at it nearly all the time. What’s she atoning for? Or is she just covering a few shifts for the others? She has pages of gigs, all over the country. She’s carrying the whole operation.

You can get a job with the firm. Maybe they’d like you to go and fulfil some of their obligations. But there’s nothing about that on there, just stuff like sous chef and housekeeping assistant. The vacancies list is in a section entitled ‘Working For Us’. It’s the royal ‘we’. We’re working for them.


Illustration: The Duke in deep by Rowan Tallant


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