Thursday 18 January 2018

Love it or loathe it, the royal soap opera is rolling into town once again

Prince Charles
Prince Charles

One might say it's a curious thing. This relationship we have with the British royal family, that is.

Some Irish people have a sort of a secret crush on the monarchy. They loved Diana and followed the tragedy of her life like a soap opera. Others can't wait to find out if Kate's having a girl (a Twitter map released after George was born showed we tweeted #royalbaby almost as much as they did in Britain).

Others want an apology for '800 years of oppression' and were sickened by the sight of the Queen laying a wreath in the Garden of Remembrance during her visit here.

For many more, it's something of a love/hate relationship. They used to dislike the Queen but now think she's got great stamina, loved the craic she clearly had when she was in Cork and have warmed to Camilla even though they once thought she ruined a marriage.


While their parents might have viewed England as the oppressor and Ireland as the victim, they're not too bothered either way about the visit of Charles and Camilla to Sligo next month.

For his part, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has said it will be a further expression of the warm and friendly relations which now exist between Ireland and the UK.

Sligo historian Joe McGowan said that while the visit is to be welcomed, he would personally prefer if it was private. He thinks the publicity surrounding it will resurrect the notoriety of Mullaghmore because of Louis Mountbatten's assassination.

The Royals are, of course, a soap opera. Sex scandals, tragic deaths, secrets, lies, affairs and adultery. They're as dysfunctional, if not more, than the rest of us but with tons of cash, glamour and security in tow.

The fact that they're even coming, whether you want them here or not, shows how far we've come in a couple of generations.

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