The Krown

You can always tell when the ruling class are committing a crime: They build an institution around it. The military, the banking system, the Monarchy, even Hollywood all have their hierarchies, costumes and rituals intended to inspire awe and insulate criminal class from the common rabble. Consigned to the wrong side of the velvet ropes, we gawp enviably at murderers, thieves, rapists, grifters and pedos as they strut by in their regalia and couture. Enter Prince Harry, sixth in line to the throne, and Meghan Markle, the next in line to plant an explosive device under it (as Americans tend to do while attempting to “democratize” a country on their hit list). Having realized there’s less dosh among the toffs, they have announced their decision to abandon ‘Frogwarts’ and cross class lines.

The Duke and Duchess are trading in one institution for another, specifically the aristocracy for the bourgeoisie. Crowdfunding over Crown funding. The couples’ announcement that they are stepping down as ‘Senior Royals’ to become ‘Global Ambassadors’ simply means that they are replacing one social set of titled, vainglorious bores for their entitled, bougie private sector counterparts. Since neither show any intention of giving up their titles or properties, the Sussexes are not leaving the Firm, but merely attempting to monetize their role within it.

“Dear Granny,

We hereby declare ourselves liberated from the fusty institution that gave us our titles, allowances and present real estate holdings. Just so you know, we intend to keep all of those. However, we will be returning the Corgi tea towels, and donating the asparagus tongs you kindly gave us to the still un-housed victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. That is, if Elton John hasn’t already purchased them from our just opened online shop. Do check it out! Meghan says she’s got a great idea for a scented candle that will go a long way towards tackling drought and genocide. You’ll never believe what it smells like! Anyway, not to worry. We are calling our new enterprise ‘The Krown’ so that no one will confuse it with the TV series . . . or that thing on your head”.

You can hardly blame Meghan Markle for wanting to exchange Royalty for royalties. As a Duchess, you have to cut ribbons and smile at disadvantaged children. As a globetrotting celebrity ambassador, you get to cut big cheques and purchase orphans. H&M have simply chosen a more lucrative neoliberal course, opting to forego welfare for what they believe are the greater rewards of the gig economy. Good luck with that! Here are a few things the Runaway Royals should consider before getting off the dole and trying their luck in the job market:

If you are going to run a scam, at least pretend you are “bound by duty” not to enjoy the perks of unearned privilege too openly. Laugh at the “duty” part while you are listening in on Granny berating one son for shagging underage girls, and the other one for not shagging the sacrificial virgin she acquired for him in a previous century. The public will happily fund your indolent lifestyles as long as they think you are doing your part for austerity by wearing a Tiara from Top Shop while hosting a flower show for the Bollockshire Trust. Worthless endeavoring in exchange for free rent requires sacrifices on your part. You have to convince the rabble that beneath the glossy hair and oversized veneers is a dead inside Albanian nun. This is clearly advice you ignored from day one, so never mind.

The public is more likely to shell out for Charlie Sheen’s revived ’Violent Torpedo of Truth Tour’ than attend a wellness seminar at a hundred times the price of tiger blood. It’s not as if there is a shortage of wealthy people charging thousands of dollars to give peppy, motivational speeches about ‘basic’ shit that everyone has heard before: YOU should give THEM money so that they can launder it through a fancy foundation where a minuscule percentage of it will go to its intended recipients, and the rest to pay for the marble columns and Olympic-sized Koi pond in its foyer.

Never mind how these intended recipients ended up as sex workers in a war zone. Just remember, poor people make bad choices all the the time, and that’s why we need global ambassadors to direct them into sweatshops. Keep telling yourself this as you prepare to launch a line of organic cotton onesies sewn inside a ‘sweat lodge’ somewhere near the border of Pakistan. Don’t be surprised when the orders don’t start rolling in.

Empowerment and Pumpkin Spice are what all the other preening one-percenters peddle to increasingly empty auditoriums. You will have to get in line behind the Clintons, The Gates’, The Clooneys, and countless other ‘humanitarians’ all hoping to make the world a better place by maintaining a hedge fund’s massive overhead. You couldn’t have chosen a worse time to attempt capitalism. Its approval ratings, like yours, are at an all time low.

As jet-setting neoliberal ambassadors to “progressive” causes like global warming, you will also end up on the wrong side of Greta Thunberg. If you intend to steal a climate activist’s thunder, best not to do it from Elton John’s private jet. It’s doubtful that you will sleep easy from now on with the knowledge that Granny had another one of his friends whacked inside a Paris tunnel when she went ‘rogue’ on the Firm, and tried to blow it up with her glamour. Your husband, in the meantime, is probably already rueing the day that he gave up lager and racism for kombucha smoothies and baby yoga classes. At this point, you are probably performing a yoga move that puts your head so far up your ass that no one can hear you scream about the injustices you’ve endured since signing a pact with Satan in exchange for her grandson.

Somewhere a recently crowned Japanese Empress, while performing her 16th Shinto rite of the day in a lead-weighted kimono is saying “Bitch, please”, which sounds like a polite haiku lament to a swan dying at twilight. If you are going to join a secretive, right wing cult devoted to maintaining feudal practices and upholding racist hierarchies, best not to cry foul when it turns out to be just that. As they say in Japanese Imperial circles: Lie down with dogs and endure the fleas until such a time comes that you can ritually disembowel them with the cunning little scabbard you keep under your pillow”. The best advice always comes too late.

Jennifer Matsui is a writer living in Tokyo and a columnist for the print edition of CounterPunch magazine.