Wednesday, 7 March 2007

A right royal coup

There has been a typically muted reaction in Wales to the news that the Duke of Cornwall has asserted his rights over the Three Feather’s symbol and that the Lord Chamberlain, on his behalf, has instructed a handful of companies producing tacky crap for tourists to stop using it.

There have been no demonstrations in the streets and virtually no comment from politicians. Maybe nobody cares? Or maybe we’re so used to losing what we once thought of as rights that we simply don’t react any more. The Three Feathers emblem belongs not to the people of Wales but to the Duchy of Cornwall, so what? A few tat merchants bleat a little in the media and the Duchy pretends to back down having tested the temperature of the obviously tepid water. It’s possible Charles' marketing people were valuing unexploited assets, exploring ways of monetarising a well-known piece of his intellectual property. If this is so, you can be sure they’ll find a way to do it, eventually.

Like just about everything in life nowadays, the monarchy is more than anything a business, and The Duchy of Cornwall branch is Charles’ private firm. He is its sole beneficiary, meaning that he pockets all of its profits. What he can no longer milk from our taxes through the civil list, he extracts from us in exchange for biscuits.

Unlike my business or your business or even BP Amoco’s, The Duchy has some very powerful players on its side to lean on little people, like the Lord Chamberlain, for instance.

This begs the question: Can anyone tell me why we need these people? Please don’t suggest they benefit Welsh tourism because they obviously don’t. I can see how it might be argued that they’re of benefit to London but I suspect people would still visit Buckingham Palace whether the Royals were there or not. Don’t tell me they do a lot for charity either, unless you can quantify it. I suppose they might be good for opening things or visiting cheese factories but you’d probably get more people along if you asked Charlotte Church to do it instead.

The Duchy of Cornwell obviously cares nothing for the people of Wales. It’s just a money making machine. But it has inadvertently given us a golden opportunity to be rid of an ancient symbol of oppression. Let’s get together and hand it back, eh?

Then, why don’t we begin creating new emblems for the 21st Century, emblems that represent Wales while belonging to all the Welsh people?

Click here to see the Red Dragonhood Three Feathers T-shirt
Click here to see the full Three Feathers, Two Fingers article

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