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21 February 2005updated 24 Sep 2015 11:46am

The Republican’s Royal Wedding Quiz

By Charles Nevin

You are a New Statesman reader. Most people would thus imagine that you are also, as surely Brumaire follows Vendemiaire, a republican. But are you? Really? Absolutely positive? The recent announcement concerning the matrimonial intentions of an elderly couple from Tetbury, Glos, provides an excellent opportunity for one of our justly celebrated, ground-breaking, agenda-setting and psyche-probing questionnaires, designed to deliver a definitive response to the question: “So, how much of a republican are you really then, eh?” Choose the answers which most closely correspond to your views. Ready? Good luck.

1 Who, exactly, are this elderly couple from Tetbury?

a Search me.
b Sorry, I can’t stop: urgent appointment.
c Hmm, anything to do with teabags?
d I’ve got an aunt who lives in Stroud.
e Charles Windsor, unemployed and divorced father-of-two, selected by accident of birth to live in undeserved and unearned splendour while waiting to inherit the further trappings and privileges of a moribund, parasitical and fundamentally unjust institution; and Camilla Parker Bowles, unemployed and divorced mother-of-two, selected by accident of attraction to live in ditto.

2 What is the significance of the forthcoming royal marriage?

a Do we get the day off?
b Sorry, I can’t stop, car’s on a meter.
c New tea towels.
d The traffic will be hell for my uncle, who lives in Slough.
e This transparent and dishonest attempt to conform to the institution’s outdated orthodoxy spells its end.

3 Don’t royalty confer any benefits on the country?

a Do we get the day off?
b Sorry, I can’t stop. The guinea pig’s died.
c Tea towels.
d My nephew, who also lives in Slough, flies Prince Andrew’s helicopter.
e Yes, if you favour life being subject to a paternalistic Ruritanian fantasy.

4 What about the checks that royalty bring to the constitution?

a Eh? I thought we paid them.
b Sorry, I can’t stop. The cat went into shock when it saw the guinea pig.
c No, for a tea towel, you can’t beat a nice picture of the couple on a plain background.
d Prince Andrew’s an excellent golfer, apparently.
e You don’t honestly believe any of that guff, do you? It’s a myth fostered by fig-leaf-seeking politicians.

5 But surely, they are excellent PRs for Britain, commanding respect, exerting influence and winning valuable trade?

a So that’s it.
b Sorry, I can’t stop. The vet’s been run over.
c Export of tea towels.
d Yes, she was marvellous down the East End, you know.
e Two words. Duke and Edinburgh.

6 What about the stability that comes from continuity?

a Er, on balance, I suppose.
b Sorry, I can’t stop. The undertaker closes at one.
c You do need to know where your next tea towel is coming from, I find.
d Prince Andrew is an excellent golfer.
e The continuity of repression? Or of most of their marriages?

7 But there have been some tremendous royal role models.

a Yes, I remember It’s a Royal Knockout.
b Sorry, I can’t stop. I’ve cold meats to arrange.
c Did Henry VIII do tea towels? Must have been a busy old time in the trade.
d Prince Harry likes dressing up.
e Including Charles Stuart’s head. Role. Roll. All right, suit yourself.

8 What about their incalculable value to Britain’s tourism industry?

a I’ve never been to Alton Towers.
b Sorry, I can’t stop. The au pair’s quite distraught.
c Tea towels.
d Lady Di was very fond of Thorpe Park.
e Is that we want? The World’s Quaint Theme Park? Please!

9 Who would be your first president of a British republic?

a Do we get the day off?
b Sorry, I can’t stop. There’s a fire at the crematorium.
c Becks would look nice on a tea towel.
d Prince Andrew’s got the time.
e Any member of the Benn family.

10 How long do you give it?

a I generally look at the instructions on the packet.
b Longer than the guinea pig.
c Tea towels last in our house, on average, about six years.
d Well, it’ll take a good two hours if you’re in Slough.
e I promise you this: those two will never succeed.

So, how much of a republican are you really, then? Look at your answers.

Mostly “a”: Well, leave aside Charles and Camilla; you’re not engaged, are you? Let’s hope you never have to take one of those new Labour citizenship tests.

Mostly “b”: Be careful not to lose sight of the big picture even when beset by problems that might loom large at the time but are as naught when compared with the nation’s constitutional future.

Mostly “c”: Have you ever thought of buying a dishwasher?

Mostly “d”: Give this magazine back to its rightful owner now.

Mostly “e”: Congratulations! You are the republican’s republican. Keep those tumbril axles oiled. Allons, enfants de la patrie! Not long now.

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