I agree with Parapunter that the British are permitted to speak our minds "without let or hindrance" about the Royal Family. This is demonstrated by the examples he quotes, i.e. Private Eye, HIGNFY, Alison Jackson's lookalike imagery, and many TV programmes shown on our screens.
But I doubt very much whether the family enjoy being the butt of the irreverent humour propagated by these sections of the UK's hoi polloi. It seems more likely to me that they simply accept the principle of "better the devil you know" in this respect. At least the perpetrators are a known quantity, British media folk who make their living from making people laugh by any means that our society seems to find acceptable.
Because a sizeable majority of us still look on the Royal Family with favour, particularly the Queen, I believe there would be a very strong public reaction from this majority, if our same media were to badly overstep the mark and to make downright offensive, obscene, scatalogical "jokes" directly aimed at the royals, for example. So the situation within the UK seems to be reasonably contained. Outside the UK however, our inherent respect for reasonable boundaries doesn't amount to a row of beans, and there lies the problem.
As seen on that astonishing wedding day, the outside world seems fascinated by our royal events. Yet it lacks our inbuilt sense of self regulation, there is little or no sense of where to draw the line of reasonable behaviour, that even we have taken a few centuries to acquire. For this reason it seems necessary on occasion to use whatever means are available to restrain unruly commonwealth and foreign organisations from their excesses, including threatening to turn off the direct broadcast link!
Indeed. The spectacle of Huw Edwards taking the rise as the blushing bride walks up the aisle would be unthinkable. Still, as for the rest of them, I imagine no family of benefit scroungers particularly enjoys the media spotlight.
There are those amongst, of course, who regard the so called 'House of Windsor' as merely a bunch of opportunistic sausage siders ( Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) with little real claim on the throne and would welcome back the Tudors who were even more fun.
Parapunter - I agree with the freedom of speech, however, there is a time and place for everything and I like to think that the British still retain a sense of common decency, (hard to believe at times when one sees what the crappy tabloids publish).
I appreciate that you don't approve of the Royal Family but you may as well get used to it, HM Queen probably another five years, Charles about fifteen and William closer to forty years and if William and Catherine do a good job, as I believe they can, then it will be solid monarchy for the next one hundred years!
I like to think that the British still retain a sense of common decency
Have no fear, parabellum, I believe we do. My references above to "our inbuilt sense of self regulation" and "inherent respect for reasonable boundaries", are expressions of what I would call the "Steady, Carruthers" syndrome, and it has not yet deserted us.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, the cliche tells us. However, I most sincerely believe that the British sense of common decency has been an underpinning feature of both home and foreign policy over the past couple of centuries, despite the excoriation aroused at times by some actions, political and military, nationally and on the world stage. We may at times have got it wrong, but have never claimed infallibility, and have generally tried to do what we believe to be the right thing. That is an admirable trait, and is what gives me a quiet sense of pride at being British.
Mocking laughter will now follow from several quarters, but I don't care. Sir Walter Scott's words seem apt to me:
Breathes there a man with soul so dead Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land!