A crown that weighs a lot

Many have claimed the phrase that “if your mother tells you she loves you, it is better to check it with a second source,” but everything indicates that the first person to say it was the director of the venerable Chicago Tribune in 1970.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 10:22
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A crown that weighs a lot

Many have claimed the phrase that “if your mother tells you she loves you, it is better to check it with a second source,” but everything indicates that the first person to say it was the director of the venerable Chicago Tribune in 1970. Half a century later, The pressures of immediacy in the digital age and of 24-hour information mean that old maxim is too often ignored in the race to be the first, although not necessarily the best. In any case, Catalina would do well not to trust everyone who now says they adore her, and yesterday she was criticized for not explaining what her illness was and for having manipulated a photo of her.

Since announcing last week that she suffers from an unspecified cancer and whose prognosis she does not want to share with the people, the Princess of Wales has gone from criticism to compassion and from skepticism to the most absolute love without going through the exit box, white or black, without half measures. But neither that much nor that bald. Her personal and family drama deserves all the love and sympathy, her right to relative privacy (she is a celebrity financed by British taxpayers) is respectable, but this does not prevent Catherine herself, Kensington Palace and the Windsors from committing monumental crimes. mistakes.

The British press and the majority of the country's public opinion have come out in force in defense of the wife of the heir to the throne, with a considerable feeling of guilt and shame for having pressured her to come to the fore, censuring her manipulation of the famous Mother's Day photo and echoing the conspiracy theories spread on social networks and even in the general press in many countries (such as Spain). They have put a halo on her as if she were Saint Catherine.

In reality, the vast majority of conspiracy theories about whether she was dead or in a coma and being replaced by a double created through artificial intelligence, or that she had been abducted by extraterrestrials, were the fruit of feverish minds. The one that she had had some kind of cosmetic surgery operation, less crazy. And the rumors about a marital crisis and an affair with Guillermo date back to 2019, and whether they are true or false has nothing to do with whether or not she has cancer.

The British media have closed ranks around Catherine in such a way and with such passion that it is necessary to put a certain distance to be objective. And, just as the foreign press was the one that made a mountain of his absence for three months and the mysteries surrounding his health and private life, now it is also the foreign media that can offer a better perspective, and do not leave that the trees prevent you from seeing the forest.

In the United Kingdom, newspapers and the Windsors have a relationship of mutual dependence, they feed off each other, they are part of the same ecosystem. Some need to be relevant, and others need to sell copies. That symbiosis turned malignant after Diana's death and the role that the paparazzi played (or not) in the high-speed chase through the streets of Paris in 1997. William and Harry do not hide their hatred from the press (they have filed several lawsuits , especially the little brother), and now the media treats the titular royalty (Charles, Camilla, William and Catherine) with white gloves, leaving the blows for Andrés, and especially for the alternative court in California of Enrique and Meghan, whom they consider little less than traitors. Around two-thirds of Britons are monarchists, but judging by what the newspapers say, it would seem that everyone is, and with a football fanaticism.

One thing is the worry and drama that cancer always means, and another is the mistakes made by Catalina and her entourage (the silence that was too long, the insistence that it was not cancer, the manipulated photo, the lack of explanations) in a context in which the press and communications secretaries of kings and princes, the directors of the tabloids and the royal correspondents of the most serious media no longer dictate the agenda. People do it on X (formerly Twitter) and publications like the American TMZ, dedicated to gossip about the future of celebrities.

A week after Catalina's video announcing that she has cancer, the Kategate soufflé has already dropped, as was inevitable. Not only to leave the injured princess alone, that too, but above all because the matter is no longer worth it and all the milk has been drained from the cow. No matter how badly things have been done, with a total lack of transparency and authenticity, as if royalty did not have to deign to explain anything (“don't justify yourself and don't complain” was Elizabeth II's motto), the facts are the facts, and hoaxes and rumors have nothing to do with them, or very little. Not even if, as the new conspiracy theories suggest, they are disseminated by China, Russia or Iran with a desire to destabilize.

With Catalina gone (at least until more things happen) from the front pages of newspapers, radio chats, pub conversations and friends' dinners, the country has abandoned the state of suspension and returned to the harsh reality of an indebted economy. and non-productive, with little investment, precarious salaries (more similar to those of Puerto Rico than to those of Switzerland) and abysmal dependence on the service sector; of the doctors on strike, who do not receive patients in person, and the eight million waiting for operations in public health; the record number of asylum seekers who have crossed the English Channel so far this year; of food banks for those who do not make it to the end or the beginning of the month; of infrastructures that are collapsing and bankrupt town councils; of the cultural wars over identity and gender politics; of territorial fragmentation; of the death rattles of a conservative government that has been in power for fourteen consecutive years, with five prime ministers without elections; of a timorous Labor party that always feels provisionally free, even if it is going to win; the increase in crime, corruption, the obstruction of justice, the growing obstacles to freedom of expression and demonstration, and the right to vote; of chronic homelessness and skyrocketing rental prices; of the nine million people of working age who are not looking for work and almost three million with permanent disabilities (mainly for mental health reasons); of university graduates in debt up to their eyebrows and without money to buy an apartment and start a family; of the debate over whether environmental measures are too lax or absurdly radical; of the highest taxes in seventy years and the weakest welfare state in memory; of a questioned multiculturalism; of a country with brand weaknesses, harassed by the centrifugal forces of social fracture, the decline of the nation state, democratic recession, geopolitical vertigo, authoritarianism, populism, the demographic bomb and oat milk globalism ... That Great Britain that after World War II, according to former North American Secretary of State Dean Acheson, did not find its place in the world, after Brexit does not find it either in Europe or at home. He doesn't know what he is or where he wants to go.

In the midst of such an identity crisis and social and economic model, Kategate has distracted attention for a few weeks with its fairy tales, its stories of princes, princesses, palaces and witches, objects of fascination and curiosity thousands of kilometers away. round (in the United States 33 million people followed Diana's funeral on television at the time, and 29 million watched the wedding between Enrique and Meghan). But what was given ended.

The country is in trouble, and so are the Windsors. Already a short staff with the weight loss and the reduction of expenses imposed by Carlos, the losses of its captain and Catalina, missing from the stage, with Guillermo at half throttle, means an enormous burden for Camila (76 years old) and for the alternates (Princess Anne and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh). But the show has to go on, like on Broadway, here it is not worth canceling and returning the price of the tickets.

The crown that Charles III has inherited, made of solid gold and more than four hundred precious stones, weighs almost two and a half kilos, but these days it would seem much more, on his head, on Catherine's, and on all of Great Britain. Perhaps if Elizabeth II had passed the baton to her son in 2012, at the height of the Olympic Games and William's wedding, when Henry was still a hero for having served in Afghanistan, things would be different now, but At the entrance to all the Windsor palaces there is an invisible sign that says “no one abdicates here.”

The good news is that Kategate shows that the adventures of royalty are interesting; The bad news is that the disease does not spare young people either, and that Carlos III is only two years younger than Trump, and six years younger than Biden. The British appreciate their kings, William and Catherine. But if your mother tells you that she loves you...