Wait, I Wanted a Queen!

Female monarchs are like male emerald swallowtails — more rare and fun to look at

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Yes, yes, any baby is a blessing and any healthy baby is wonderful and we’re so lucky to have been around for this historic event and congrats and cigars and yay and all, but dammit, I wanted a Queen. I wanted a royal baby girl.

This is not just a feminist impulse. Of course I wanted a female to exercise her right to this politically meaningless but insanely prominent position. It’s also not just a desire for more soap opera, although it would be excellent to watch some poor fool ask the future head of the Church of England on a date. But mostly it’s because female monarchs are like male emerald swallowtails: more rare and fun to look at.

Before you call me shallow, let’s look at the real job description here. The royal family has, over the years, glided from being a powerful empire-building dynasty to the Swiss Army Knife of famous families. Any time an old-people’s home is opened or a ribbon is cut on a municipal park or a ship is launched or someone makes it to 100, they step up. They show up for events that are as worthy as they are unsexy, freeing up those who are famous for doing something to keep on doing it.

(PHOTOS: Oh Baby: 119 Years of Infant Royals on Camera)

Women are much more suited for this particular duty, which is all about visual communication. Queen Elizabeth for example, often wears a loud and off-trend color, so she can be picked out in the distance in a crowd. Even if Prince Charles will occasionally wear a kilt, so royal watchers have something to talk about, he’s not going to be rocking the canary yellow or magenta the way Her Maj regularly does. We now have three generations of dudes in suits to look forward to. Yawn.

The one thing nobody really wants the royals to do is talk. An intelligent sovereign, one who wants to change anything? Nobody needs that. It’s vitally important for modern monarchs to appear impotent. And women are better at that. They know what it’s like to have people want them around while having no real interest in any of their thoughts.

Gender politics aside, let’s face it: there are just some jobs that men are better suited for, like singing bass in the opera, and some that women are better suited for. Being a crowned head of state is a woman’s work.

Read TIME’s previous feature about why the royal baby will be such a figure of global influence

Read TIME’s original 1982 story about the birth of Prince William

14 comments
BrianCurtis
BrianCurtis

Wow... shallow AND sexist. Well done.

aztecian
aztecian

the reptilian has arrived.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

I KNOW people are going to hate this, but take it in the tongue-in-cheek spirit in which it's intended:

Given the possibility of a homosexual orientation, there's still about a 10% or so chance that little baby whats-his-name will be a queen eventually.

PacificSage
PacificSage

Belinda, are you ashamed your headline is the lead for Time?

Should I know who you are and care what you personally want? Is that breaking news?? I mean.......really????? 

Sarasa
Sarasa

I thought this was going to be an article about how important it is for women to be in more positions of power. Instead I read this. Women are better at appearing impotent? We know what it's like for people to want us around just to look pretty, while they have no interest in our opinions? I had hoped this article would support feminism. It looks like I was very, very far off the mark.

AshleyMajic
AshleyMajic

I liked the idea of this article... until I read it

In keeping in tone with your article, obviously writing is a man's work as well

hivemaster
hivemaster

You'd think with all of your whining that there wasn't currently a Queen sitting on the throne of Great Britain.

youseless
youseless

@GroverSage Trust me, I'm never ashamed when my headline is the lead for Time. We do a lot of breaking news, but with a story like this, which isn't going to change the world all that much, it's important to some fun, don't you think? ANd perhaps to point out some of the cultural ironies?

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@Sarasa Given the increasing irrelevancy of the British Royals in UK politics, by the time baby whats-his-name gets to the point where he'd have to assume the throne, the throne may have already been abolished.  Ceremonial figureheads are about all that's left for them - and tourism.  They make great goodwill ambassadors for their country and subjects.

But they are a very high overhead expense for what they do.  The subject of abolishing the throne has come up before in the U.K.  So looking impotent is, in fact, a job requirement since the job of being King or Queen is pretty much merely an inherited title with no real power any longer.

Granted, it would have been nice if the article explained that for those of you not conversant with UK politics and governmental structure, but a little googling shows that what the author said, indelicately, perhaps, was true.  If you're going to have an entirely ceremonial position with a title dominated by males, why not have females doing it?  Three more kings for England - assuming they don't just dump the whole monarchy in the first place - will, indeed, be boring as all hell.

youseless
youseless

@AshleyMajic Oh, that's cold. I stand by my trenchant if not entirely serious analysis of the situation. Women are used to attention without actual power and that's a good description of what being royal is like. People regard aggressive women with suspicion; they'd do the same to a royal.


youseless
youseless

@mhungerman Whining? Whining? The nerve. Yes, there's a queen, whom I mention. And hasn't she been a love? But she wasn't born to be a queen. We didn't get a girl baby queen.

prophetess.noella
prophetess.noella

@youseless @mhungerman  The queen had always been in line to the throne though.  Female monarchs really aren't that rare.  This whole column reads like a silly tantrum..