Stephen Kessler | Breaking news: The royals have no clothes – Santa Cruz Sentinel

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The defection of England’s Prince Harry and his American bride, the duke and duchess of something-or-other, is a refreshing break from more serious news and the best celebrity-gossip story of the new year. Like real people with minds of their own fed up with the royal masquerade, the young couple is trying to make a getaway from the stifling fraud of monarchy in the postmodern world and attempting to have real lives beyond the reach of the paparazzi that stalked the prince’s mother to her death.

A free press at its worst, as in the British tabloids, has no sense of decency and is content to destroy lives for a bloody good story. Diana Spencer, as the cutest royal of her time, was an irresistible target even after divorcing her way out of the family. Now the grown-up Harry, hip to the horror and baked-in phoniness of his official role, is opting out. Unfortunately for both him and his wife, Meghan, their best shot at financial independence is to become professional anti-celebrities, the disillusioned famous-for-no-good-reason who go around explaining to the masses what a drag it is to be famous.

If you don’t count the Kennedys, whose ersatz royalty has long since expired, we here in the USA have no royals to venerate, to spy on, to expose and ruin. Some music and movie stars are victimized by the system, but it’s a system they enter voluntarily, knowing there’s no business like show business and that if they make it big they will be turned into monstrous simulacra of themselves for the starved lives of their fans to feed on. That’s why it’s so impressive when they manage to preserve their dignity and humanity and somehow manage not to be consumed by the fantasies of their own images. The royal renegades can see this coming and are wise enough to say no thanks. Not every descendant is destined to enter the family business, and the accident of birth should not necessarily doom them to do so.

For other heirs and heiresses, a lifetime of smiling and waving and raising money, or snarling and cheating and tweeting—whether for charity or to gamble on business deals or denounce the facts of the news—doesn’t sound so bad. In fact, for some, it is a dream come true to be born into an empire of their own and all they have to do is collect rent and attend parties and advise their father, if he happens to be president-for-life, on how to run the country for the family’s benefit.

American oligarchs are more often made than born, but once the fathers and grandfathers have built their business it can be handed down to willing sons and daughters. And so, as Britain’s royal family disintegrates, here in America, born in revolution against a king, we are witnessing the dawn of a new monarchy, a trumped-up kingdom of Godfatherly familial power which strives not only for world domination but domestic dictatorship.

When the head of state is aging into his dotage, there must be a mechanism for succession, so that government can be handed seamlessly from one generation to the next, and if there must be elections to give an impression of democracy, fine, as long as elections are fixed to reinforce the family’s grip on power. Would Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric or Barron Trump ever go rogue and renounce their inheritance? It seems unlikely.

The way things are going, it appears that the November election may well mark the making of a mere president into the king he aspires to be, and the nation into his kingdom, and his children into small-time royalty eager to inherit everything. Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan should be invited into the witness protection program, where they could assume new identities as anonymous nonentities, commoners, and resist the emoluments of monarchy and aspire to normalcy.

Or is there no longer any such thing as normalcy?

Stephen Kessler is the author of “Garage Elegies” and other books.

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