the adulation of the monarchy is a fairly recent phenomenon. In 1830, at the death of George IV The Times wrote; “There never was an individual less regretted by his fellow creatures”. Queen Victoria was never as unpopular as that, but as the powers of the monarchy declined so the popular attention devoted to it also declined. Until the 1870’s. Then the great change began. With the rise of imperialism and the growth of a democratic instead of an aristocratic system of government the crown was lifted out of all controversy: it became an object of veneration instead of argument, the symbol of a rising tide of nationalist emotions which needed an outlet in pomp and pageantry. Hence the Jubilee celebrations of 1887 and 1897, which were the first expressions of the modern popular monarchy.

Since Queen Victoria, the monarchy has become still more popular. It has become less aloof, less formal, and less closely associated with the aristocracy. At the same time its daily doings and family life are now regularly conveyed to the audience of the press, TV and radio.

Part of the new popularisation of the monarchy is an insistence that the Royal Family is really just like any other family.

“What they have done is to show that the family in Buckingham Palace shares the same human problems and feelings with the family in any home in the kingdom”. (Daily Mail.)

“The heady pleasures of love and marriage common to every fluttering typist who ever flashed a five pound engagement ring around the office are hers at last.” (Sunday Dispatch.)

And so on, and so on. But of course they are just that little bit better than us.

“He will be wonderful with the Royal children. They have a great new friend in Uncle Tony”, and “Tomorrow you can read . . . why he will make such a wonderful family man.” (Daily Sketch.)