Saturday, September 15, 2012

Off with their clothes!

In the middle-class suburbs of London, where I grew up, people had a name for girls with a penchant for getting their kit off in the open air. And believe me, it wasn’t princess.

Amid all the debate about privacy and the hullabaloo about the recent antics of Harry and Kate, we shouldn’t lose sight of the reality. In the real world, respectable blokes don’t cavort around naked in $5,000 Vegas suites with hen parties, much as they might secretly like to. And respectable young women keep a lid on their exhibitionist tendencies, confining striptease to the bedroom.

Yes, I’m afraid I take the old-fashioned, clearly outdated, liberal view of people’s personal lives. I’m generally pretty tolerant of what people choose to do in private. But the overlooked grounds of some French chateau are not private, if you’re a figure known on the world stage. And your luxury hotel room is no longer private when you open the doors to your minders and a bunch of starstruck party girls with mobile phones. What is it about the members of the Royal elite which means they still believe they’re exempt from the rules which apply to the rest of us?

The spin doctors want us to believe that Kate is some kind of ‘victim’ like Princess Diana. I suppose this reflects the ascendancy of her sons in the Royal hierarchy, as it still seems very strange to hear the outcast’s memory evoked in official press statements. But was Diana really a victim? I see her as a pretty accomplished self-publicist who revelled in media interest. And even if you view her as someone who was hounded by the paparazzi, surely this is something which had a cumulative impact over a number of years? To claim that Kate’s one run-in with the media is remotely comparable is disingenuous in the extreme.

I’m sure that Wills and Kate will win their court case in France. On past precedent, however, the damages are only likely to cover a week’s partying for Harry when he next needs a break from Helmand. The Leveson Inquiry may well recommend more statutory control for the press. But I suspect what we actually need is more statutory control of our pampered royalty.

1 comment:

  1. While your views on people's personal lives may be liberal, I wouldn't describe your views on women sunbathing topless as such! Thought they're certainly outdated.

    When I was in my 20s and early 30s most of my friends and myself sunbathed topless when on holiday. Some of the luckier among us still do. When I was a little kid, my mum sunbathed topless on family holidays too.

    I don't think the royal couple should be sueing Le Closer and I don't think they should be incandescent with anger, either, as mentioned in their personal statement.

    But I don't think sunbathing topless shows a 'penchant for getting your kit off in public' or that people who do it get a name for themselves, or did when you were growing up when topless sunbathing abroad was probably even more de rigueur than it is today.

    Good headline though!