Sunday, 9 September 2012

Is Prince Harry Boring with his clothes on?

The British have, it would seem from media commentary, a bizarre relationship with Prince Harry, the son with a more proletarian cast of mind than his rather square older brother and his very square wife.
They love him - but are also embarrassed by him.
Well, he is almost a perfect reflection of an aspect of our society which we love and are embarrassed by at the same time - the hedonistic, let it all rip, stay up all night dancing and drinking side. Harry might be an officer in the army, but that doesn't stop him falling out of Chelsea nightclubs at 4 am surrounded by vomiting and urinating revelers, incontinent with money and privilege.
This is the sort of thing that goes on in every town in Britain, indulged in by ordinary working young men and women, and it has a long  tradition behind it,evidenced by Chaucer through Shakespeare's Falstaff and The Hell Fire Club of the 18th Century aristocrats and the Bullingdon Club that Cameron and Osborne belonged to at Oxford. Yes, excess is in the blood of a lot of Brits, just as restraint, modesty and stiff upper lips are in the blood of many others.
It's not a class thing. The Toffs have their wild bunch and so do the Chavs.
It's an attitudinal divide. Perhaps every society has the same one, but class and the Monarchy make an interesting and confusing cross - hatch in Britain.
The proportions are unknown, but each camp seems fascinated with the other.
Prince William probably wonders why his younger brother Harry took all his clothes off in Las Vegas, whereas to Harry the answer is obvious - it was a laugh, a blast, why not, we've all got one haven't we?
Besides, he can't remember a thing about it, so where's the harm?
The Toffs, of course, can afford it easier, but being hard up doesn't stop the rest of us - it just gets done in cheaper bars during happy hour.
As long as your're sober enough to get to work the next day, nobody really minds, is the general attitude.

Of course, Harry doesn't usually have to go to work the next day. ( or at least he seems to have a lot of time off from the army. How does his helicopter get anywhere without him? )
Harry is the kind of Toff that the happy section of the rest of Britain really like - by happy, I mean those able to enjoy themselves by getting plastered every now and then - precisely because he knows how to let his trousers, sorry, hair, down.
He is a bit boring with his clothes on, but with Harry, you can never be sure whether he will take them off, and that's what keeps us watching and reading.
This erratic streak would make me a nervous passenger in his helicopter.
But like many others, I look forward to his official visit to China.
Keep the Ming vases out of the way is my advice!

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