Ah now look at that. There’s a picture of the Queen, laughing for a change, and the reason was that her horse, Estimate, had just won the Gold Cup at Ascot. Now I’m not much of an avid royalist as regular readers will know but I can’t be alone in thinking that the media went overboard with its royal adoration at this momentous event.
Yesterday I caught some of Claire Balding’s commentary from the Ascot meeting and you’d have thought the old girl (Her Maj that is, not Claire) had come up with the solution to the problems of the Middle East and had found a cure for cancer (sadly not) given Claire’s description of the waves of deep joy, affection and respect that were wafting down from the stands towards HRH. Easy Baldo; it’s only a horse race. This was how the Daily Torygraph viewed it:
‘The monarch clapped her hands with delight as the four-year-old crossed the line, while Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie jumped up and down with excitement next to her in the royal box. The Queen had been due to present the trophy to the winner of one of flat racing’s most famous races, but instead her son the Duke of York had to step in to hand the cup to her’ … (which is probably the hardest he’s had to work in years).
I do get upset by this kind of fawning coverage. It’s not like a Red Rum/Ginger McCain rags-to-riches thing is it? Ex-scrap dealer from Southport wins Grand National against all the odds not once but 3 times! The Queen’s equine connections are extensive. She has a significant business interest with breeding thoroughbreds (and I mean the 4-legged variety not the nitwit Royal progeny) with her ownership of the Royal Paddocks which just happen to be across the park from us in Hampton Court (and spookily we’ve just viewed a cottage smaller than one of the ponies’ stables overlooking it) with further world-renowned studs at Sandringham and Polhampton. Not only is HRH a significant bloodstock owner in this country but she also keeps between 20-25 thoroughbreds in full training each year. So you might expect a few Royal successes from all that investment (and I’m more than a little intrigued to wonder how much of it is paid for out of the Royal Purse). And her prize for winning the Gold Cup? Just the £350,000. Ah that’s nice and I bet it all gets stuffed in Her Maj’s own little royal purse.
For me the relationship between the media and the monarchy should be one of respectful cynicism not cringing toadyism. Forgive me if you don’t find me crying tears of joy too.