And a Scottish Spider
The roots of the royal we in England go back over 800-years. King Henry II in 1169 was the first king to use term, we. The we referenced the issue of divine right of kings. The we means that the king and God rule together. Over nearly a millennia of use, the term now is referred to as the royal we.
Queen Victoria was said to have used the royal we when commenting upon someone with whom she disagreed. She was said to have stated: "We are not amused."
The former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, seemed to be morphing the royal we into her life as a commoner. She announced to the world that her son and his wife had a child, which obviously made her a grandmother. However, Thatcher announced this to the world on March 4, 1989 by stating: "We have become a grandmother." I have never been clear about whom the other party was in the we. Was it the Queen and she or God and she?
Nevertheless, not all people are amused by the use of the royal we. Most of the displeasure comes from this side of the Atlantic. Mark Twain said, "Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial we." Henry David Thoreau was to have said something very similar: "We is used by royalty, editors, pregnant women and people who eat worms." Among some literary scholars, there is a debate about whether Twain or Thoreau paraphrased the other writer's words. Either way, the thought still remains; the royal we is an erroneous belief and filled with hubris.
Another American writer, Theodore Rockwell, said of the use of the royal we that few should use that term with the exception of three groups of people: "The head of a sovereign state, a schizophrenic and a pregnant woman."
Now, I don't want to get into a long diatribe about the haughtiness of the royal we...especially today, June 2, 2013 on the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's beginning to say the royal we as she became Queen. Nonetheless, what does trouble me is that many commoners in Britain have adopted this notion of the royal we at two levels.
At the first level, many Brits believe that the Queen is by birth a superior personage in their world. She enters the world as gifted and a holier than thou human being. She is born into royalty; it is a birthright. The Queen's and the royal family's preeminence and elevated notion really raises the issue of royal racism.
At the second level, many Brits not only accept that the Queen is a superior entity, they buy the flip-side that they are inferior to the royal family and called commoners. What rattles me is that they, the commoners, view themselves as inherently inferior to the Queen's superiority.
Interestingly, George IV's name was George Augustus Frederick. He was ethnically not British but German...he was a Hanoverians. He was a descendant not of the English but that of the Germans.
Now, I want my readers, especially those in Scotland, to read about this royal we conundrum in which you find yourselves. The royal family, Prime Minster Cameron, and the English are not in favor of the Scottish referendum in September 2014. On that day, Scotland will vote on their independence from the UK. Some Scots have bought into the notion that they aren't capable of running their own country. They view the Queen and country as a means to survive in this world.
As I have already noted, the Queen has no legislative power over the British Parliament. And besides, the royal family is of Hanoverian descendants...they weren't Brits in the first place. They were Germans. What would you think that the Queen, a Hanoverians descendant, is thinking about the Scots wanting independence? While I have not interviewed the Queen regarding this issue, and I haven't read any material about her feelings on this topic, I will assure you that she is not pleased with it.
If the fall of 2014 finds Scotland seceding from the UK, the Queen will be the ruler of 6-counties in Northern Ireland, Wales, England, Gibraltar, and a dozen small island groups scattered around the world like Pitcairn Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, and Anguilla, which contains the Prickly Pear Cays and Sombrero.
The Scots are capable of voting on independence and running Scotland as an independent country. Fear isn't something that flows in the blood of Scots for very long. There is a story about Robert the Bruce and the spider that he saw in a cave. He was fleeing from the English after they defeated him and his army. He hid in a cave in Scotland to avoid being captured. While hiding out there, he noticed a Scottish spider attempting to weave a web...unsuccessfully. The spider tried and failed. The spider tried again...and failed again. Each time the Scottish spider got back on its eight feet or rather legs and tried again. Finally, the spider wove his web...successfully.
The story about Robert the Bruce and the Scottish spider concludes by him learning a critical lesson of life...and he did. He then left the cave and went off again fighting the English...this time at the Battle of Bannockburn - which he won decisively.
There is some debate about the origins of this legend. However, it was Sir Walter Scott who wrote about it in Tales of a Grandfather in 1828.
We will have to wait until September 18, 2014 to see whether the Scots learn an important lesson of life taught to them by Robert the Bruce and the Scottish spider. I'll tell you in advance that the Scots are capable of being free...if they follow a lesson first learned by Robert the Bruce in a cave in Scotland. And the lesson was taught by a spider.
Visit the Scottish Independence page to read more about this topic.