Kenyans have a special interest in the Royal Family despite 50 years of its freedom. After all, the Queen became the Queen in Kenya! Prince Charles visited Kenya umpteen times on safari and remembers that William proposed to Katie on a farm near Nanyuki, Kenya. Kul Bhushan had an eclectic exchange of mails with his Kenyan friends as soon as the big Katie wait was over.
The Royal Baby is here… at last!
A friend, originally from Nairobi, writes from Chicago: My mother, were she alive, would have been delighted. Somewhere, I have a photo of her meeting the Queen Mother and another with the Queen at a Garden Party (has to be capitalized, I am told when Queenie is traipsing around on the lawn).
Aside from the fact that Mother seemed to have a “bond” with Queenie because she remembered well the parade – well, actually a drive-by in a Rolls with the top down – along Nairobi’s Government Road festooned with flags and banners in 1952 – when Princess Elizabeth visited Kenya and a day or two later, when she was at Tree Tops, the game lodge, news came that her father Giorgio Sixtus had died. Of course, in typical Brit fashion, they didn’t simply take the flags down to half-mast or all the way, but they actually cut the flag poles. It’s a mess when the king dies. She became the queen in Kenya!
Normally, I don’t get off on this sort of stuff, but when I looked at the front pages of Brit newspapers, I stopped because The Sun which is, I believe, a Rupert Mudrock publication has the best. Hats off to the so-called pigs of journalism! They did it good this time. A crowning achievement for such a lousy outfit. You’ll see The Sun’s contribution at top right. The Sun changing its banner to The Son was very clever.
Second place goes to the Daily Mail which managed to find the dorkiest photo of Charles of whom dorky pictures are legion
The Royals cost the Brits one pound a year per capita – 65 million pounds. They are like a rock concert, professional sporting event or Olympics on a daily basis. It is a business worth billions every year.
If you lose sight of that, you’ve missed the point. Same thing with organized religion — it is a business proposition to extract money from subscribers.
To which I responded: Yes, they have estimated the lolly in millions as the Yanks gawk in front of Bucky Palace… the Queen’s Jubilee, the Olympics and now the baby… that’s what is keeping their economy on its final lap.
The Brit way of life and environment is so dull, boring and depressing that they need to break loose with these events — far and few.
Due to their media hype, and colonial past, they get the rest of the world involved.
I wrote back, “Here in India, they don’t bother with the Royals despite the 150 years of misrule! An Indian astrologer has forecast that when the young baby turns 29, there will be no monarchy, said the BBC India correspondent dampening the bubbly for the Brit royal faithful’s.”
In the same mode, I remember when Princess Meg as a young filly visited Kenya, she was greeted by Sir Evelyn Baring, the Gov. Before she boarded the train for Mombasa, she bid the plumed Guv, “See you later, alligator!”
An Indian journalist from New York chipped in, “OK, I get it. People’s lives are so boring and there is nothing else happening in the world, so reporters have to live outside the hospital for nearly a week just so that they can report about the birth of “royalty”. Congratulations to the proud parents, but what has that to do with the rest of the world. Yes, it is news, but is it more important than an earthquake in China and people dying there? Or, is it more important than all the chaos in the Middle East? Do we really have to go overboard to report the mundane!!!?”
Kul Bhushan was a newspaper editor in Nairobi and a media consultant to a UN agency
* Published in print edition on 27 July 2013