Schieffer: Not Joining in the Royal Celebrations

Queen Elizabeth II stands with (L-R) Princess Eugenie, Prince William, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the Trooping the Colour ceremony on June 16, 2007 in London. Each year the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II is commemorated with a military parade and march-past of fully trained, operational troops from the Household Division.
GETTY IMAGES/Peter Macdiarmid
I met the Queen of England once and I have to admit it was fun. We were invited to a garden party at the British Embassy and my wife wore a hat that measured about two feet across as did the other women.

It was a bright, sunlit afternoon, but the whole thing was sort of a cross between a costume party ("Look at that hat! Wow! Where do you think she got that one?") and the Kentucky Derby, where big-hat watching is also a featured attraction.

The Queen shook hands as Prince Philip trailed along after her, his hands clasped behind him.

Did you ever see anyone but Prince Philip or Prince Charles walk with their hands clasped behind them?

It must be part of the training.

It was a nice afternoon, but I remember thinking later, aren't we lucky that the people who founded this country saved us from all that?

I mean, what if we had to pay for a royal family on top of our other financial problems?

So excuse me for not joining in all the celebrating when Prince William got engaged to his long-time girlfriend. I'm happy for the boy and the girl - they seem nice - but on my list of things that matter, the love life of British Royals falls somewhere between other people's golf scores and the recipe for airline food.

I love the British people, but for the life of me I'll never understand why they keep these people on the payroll.

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.