50 Years Ago: Expensive Royalty

Many tongues were clucked at the news that the Royal Family is to have some more money spent on them.

It must cost around £400 a year in fees to send the Prince of Wales to Gordonstoun School. The fees, says the school vary with the parents’ financial circumstances; which does not mean, of course, that the school is full of clever, deserving boys whose parents pay no fees because they cannot afford them.

It will cost about £85,000 to renovate the wing of Kensington Palace where Princess Margaret and her husband are living – £15,000 more than the original estimate.

Some critics say that Prince Charles should be sent to a comprehensive school, like a sizeable part of his subjects. Others think that the Princess should be content to live in a council semi-detached, which to them seems roomy enough for a couple with only one child.

These views are way off the mark. The Royal Family stand for the possessions, rights and privileges of the British ruling class. It is, therefore, only appropriate that they themselves should live in lavish privilege.

And nobody has yet explained how sending a prince to a council school, or sticking a princess in a small house, would help the working class parents who struggle to keep their children at school past the age of fifteen and who have to renovate their house during their summer holiday.

These problems are typical of what faces workers all over the world, under monarchies and in republics.

While the tongue-cluckers do their measly, pointless sums, Capitalism grinds merrily on, providing a fat living for a few of its people and condemning the rest to dull poverty.

(From “The News in Review”, Socialist Standard, March 1962)

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