Despite the wealth, status and fame, being a member of the Royal family would be too much of a gilded cage for Jim Duffy.
How cool must it be to be a Royal in the UK?
Big posh houses, big rooms with opulent curtains, rugs and furniture. Grand fireplaces adorned with expensive artworks welcome you with tremendous vistas looking over London, Windsor, Balmoral, Sandringham etc.
Then there are the fancy cars – the works cars are valeted to perfection with large comfy seats, air-conditioning and all mod cons. Your private cars are state of the art Bentleys and Aston Martins. Well, if it’s good enough for James Bond, then it’s good enough for a Royal.
Then there’s the free holidays. Charles is just back from a jaunt down under. Of course, the Royal yacht is decommissioned now, but some multi-millionaire has apparently left £50 million in his will to put towards a new one. Even the transport is crowdfunded eh?
And let’s not forget ‘the help’. Royal household staff who look after the palaces, schedules, dress and a whole lot more. Yes, life as Royal looks pretty damn good. Or does it?
I’m not so sure you know. Yes, there are all the trappings of wealth that ‘the Firm’ can provide, but much of it is all held in trust and although nice to have, must get a bit boring all the time.
It may all look glamorous or the the life of Riley, but when one truly examines what it is like being a Royal, then one would run a mile if the opportunity came along.
First up there’s the media. Quite rightly so, the media scrutinise what the Royals get up to. If they can keep it dignified, then the Royal-following newspapers will generally be sympathetic and pen positive coverage.
But, as soon as they get a sniff or a whiff of wrongdoing, then they pounce. Of course, one current Prince appears to have landed him and the family squarely in the eye of the world media. But, this one aside (and I’m not sure it will ever go away) the Royals do have to be cognisant of the British media and how things can be perceived.
Many mistakes have been made over the decades, even by the monarch, who eventually attended the nation’s grieving for Diana. But, even when it is business as usual, one flippant remark or wrong turn can make for awful headlines over breakfast.
Then we have the security that surrounds them 24 hours a days, 365 days a year.
Imagine how intrusive this must be. Even with your fancy car, you cannot just jump in it to go for a Sunday drive down to Leith. No, your Royal escort will be with you and the family.
Why? Well, if some folks get the chance, they will hurt you, kidnap you or kill you. Not ideal, if you just want to pop down the local newsagent to pick up some milk or the bookies to put a line on.
Over the years, some Royals have been at odds with their security advisors. There are many anecdotes of Prince Philip having a right good go at his protection detail. Whether warranted or not, it must be frustrating all the same to have to run everything past the cops.
If you can live with the media scrutiny and the security restrictions, you will be doing well. But what about the workload and the type of work it is?
Putting on a smile
As a Royal you ain’t getting a duvet day. Forget writing a letter to the head teacher saying you won’t manage that school visit. No sending a note to the factory owner telling him you are feeling a bit low today and you can’t come see his new multi-million investment in new technology. As a Royal you have to jolly well pucker up and get on with it. Even when feeling low and, dare I say it, a little depressed even.
Having to put on the smile, ask questions and appear interested must, at times, be mind-numbing. But, the show must go on.
Then of course there are your private or not so private relationships.
For a kick-off there’s the dating scene as a young Royal. We have seen clear evidence of how awful this can be and how wrong it can go. Mind you, nowadays it seems that one can indeed choose one’s own wife or husband, without the Royal household intervening and putting the blockers on it.
If you marry outside what are considered ‘normal’ circles, then the spotlight is on you. After all, you are bringing a commoner into the fold. The ramifications are plain to see if it all goes awry in the future.
Finally, there’s your children.
Every parent has clear ideas on how they want to bring up their kids. The values, manners and ethics they wish to instil in them, while having fun and allowing them to grow up into young adults. The schools they attend, the friends they have and the university or college they choose is important.
But, the Royals have to school their kids a little differently. It all takes place within tightly defined parameters. After all, we do not yet have a Royal plumber with a City and Guilds from an old style poly.
In no way whatsoever am I defending the current crop of Royals. You reap what you sow as they say. But one thing is for sure. I’m bloody glad I was not born with Royal blood. Having to ‘be’ Royal with all the flummery that goes with it, outstrips any of the perks in my opinion.
Shooting, horses, fast cars and a bit of farming, while not my cup of tea, are not pursuits that would make me wish to be Royal.
In the meantime, I’m off for a walk with no security, having a coffee on the main street with no paparazzi and chatting with my friends online without MI5 listening in.