Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Dirty Harry

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So said Leo Tolstoy in the opening sentence of Anna Karenina, that Russian tragedy and tale of woe.

As one of the world’s most famous brands, the British royal family has a strong, tailored narrative of patronages, pageantry and people. The monarchy has long demonstrated its value in contemporary consumer culture, and kept its buyers engaged. The pomp, the fanfare and the pageantry nobody could do it better than the British. Even the change of guards at Buckingham palace is a well-coordinated media event, which the tourists love to lap up. Without doubt, the British monarchy would be amongst the top ten leading brands of the world. Every opportunity Birthdays, Births, Marriages, Anniversaries and Deaths are exploited to the hilt. The death of Queen Elizabeth was probably the most watched event on World Television. The palace also licenses a large range of merchandise. Every usable product is sold through souvenir shops around England. Crockery, artifacts, Caps, T Shirts, Sports goods, Jewelry, Clocks, furnishings like Cushion covers, Kitchen napkins, every possible product that their dignity allows them to do, they would create a product and sell it. The British are truly a nation of shopkeepers.

As kids, we all grow up on fairy tales of RAJA RANI RAJKUMAR and RAJKUMARI stories that are told to us again and again. And in India we have loads of royalty and all the other paraphernalia of ‘hangers on’. However, when I grew older and realised the absurdity of so-called blue blood and genuflecting towards someone because of an accident of their birth, my view of royalty changed, not to hostility, mind you, just indifference.

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