This summer I wrote to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to congratulate them on the christening of their daughter Princess Charlotte, and also to say how much I'd enjoyed my recent trip to the United Kingdom in which I saw them in person. Today I was delighted to receive an official response, photos of which I posted on Facebook.
Reflecting on all the positive reactions to my post about my card from Their Royal Highnesses, many from American friends who don't necessarily identify as monarchists, contrasted with not-so-positive reactions to my comments defending the Prince of Wales and the Australian Crown at an Australian news page, forces me to confront (not for the first time) that it might be just as well that I live in the United States. Since I don't participate in American politics, I really don't care whether Americans are Democrats or Republicans, so can easily be friends with Americans from across the political spectrum, perhaps more so than many Americans in these politically polarized times. (While Americans strongly opposed to the British Monarchy certainly exist, I don't really encounter them in my daily life.) But my Facebook Friends in Britain and Australia, at least those I regularly interact with, are pretty much all monarchists, mostly right of centre--and I like it that way.
If I actually lived in Britain or Australia, I bet my Facebook page would be a war zone, and my Blocked list considerably longer than it is. My brother, who due to all his travels and musical projects knows many more non-American musicians than I do, tells me that all the young British or Australian classical musicians he's met are republicans. This breaks my heart, and is not acceptable, and I have no desire to be friends with people like that. I can't imagine having to regularly work with the sort of people who are lucky enough to live in a constitutional monarchy and don't appreciate it. What is wrong with them? How can they not love William & Kate and George and Charlotte? And after all Prince Charles has done for the arts? I just don't understand, and I never will. While there's something to be said for living in a country to whose constitution one can give one's wholehearted loyalty, I wonder if in my case it would really be worth the stress.