No Respect For British Royals

T-shirts and masks for sale in Windsor High Street, England, Monday April 4, 2005 for the marriage of Britain's Prince Charles and his long time companion Camilla Parker Bowles. AP

This story was written by CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips
There's a little shop that sells tourist tsatskes in Windsor right next to the Guildhall where the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was originally scheduled to take place on Friday, April 8, before it was delayed to Saturday.

In the shop window, the usual range of royal souvenirs scramble for position like so many pet shop puppies. But it's no contest.

Among the mugs, spoons, dish-towels and plates sporting royal images, there is a T-shirt showing Charles in full hunting gear riding a horse with Camilla's head where the normal horse head would be. It's not very kind. It's not very respectful. And it's walking off the shelves.

Now, nobody has ever accused Charles of being a cover boy and not even Camilla's best friends have suggested she has a future as a super model, but the display of blatant disrespect for the royals, in the very shadow of Windsor Castle, speaks volumes for the challenge the British monarchy has before it.

Power is long gone. Obedience went out the window years ago. Deference quickly followed. But this kind of brazen impertinence is new. And it's trouble.

Only one member of the family, famously known as "The Firm," retains any measure of universal respect – the queen. All the others have become either sources of humor, ridicule, derision or indifference. Prince William is something of an exception and I'll get back to him in a moment.

Prince Philip, Charles' father, is widely regarded as a grumpy, anachronistic, nasty man who has managed to insult entire national groups and whose strict formality and coolness toward his children is blamed by pop-psychologists for the family's apparent dysfunction.

Charles' brothers, Andrew and Edward, are dismissed as ineffectual or irrelevant. His sister, Ann, is acknowledged to be involved with some good causes, but is otherwise occupied with the horsey set.

Of Charles' children, Harry is still trying to live down his unfortunate Nazi uniform choice for a costume party.

William is the great hope. Where his father – despite some admirable charity work of his own - seems to be getting increasingly detached and irritable, (note his mumbled dissing of the assembled press on the recent ski holiday photo op), William has become the voice of reason, maturity and responsibility.
  • Brian Dakss

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