Some 111 years ago, Queen Victoria made this now famous quote. There is almost no one that is sure exactly what she was talking about when she said it. One story goes that she was not amused after viewing a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore (a little schizophrenic maybe?) Another suggests it may have been in reference to a naughty joke that was told, and the “We” refered to the ladies of the court. Maybe she just had no sense of humor. Maybe she was just really old and grumpy. Maybe she was just never amused.
Perhaps her great-great granddaughter Elizabeth II or her great-great grandson, Phillip (Elizabeth’s’ husband) know the full story about where this quote came from. Maybe it’s a little private joke between them, that they whisper under their breath to each other at Royal functions.
Now clearly Victoria was not the happiest looking Queen. In all the recorded images of her, there seems to be only one where it seems she might be trying to crack a little smile. The truth is though, that it looks more like she has a case of colic. Of course England in the Victorian age probably wasn’t all that fun anyway, and the court jesters didn’t exactly do stand-up comedy, did they?
But the grim, unsanitary and humorless conditions of 1900 have long since left most of Britain (except for maybe in Yorkshire) so I was more than a little surprised (and not amused) when I heard that a list of restrictions have been imposed on broadcasters stipulating that footage, clips or screen grabs of the Westminster Abbey Royal Wedding taking place on Friday cannot be used to amuse the masses. I am not sure how wide-ranging this decree can go. It must cover all the Commonwealth, but try telling the Americans they can’t do it. They have already annoyed the old colony in a row over Lighting up Buckingham palace the night of the wedding. (See Here)
What is the Queen going to do anyway? What exactly WOULD the Palace do if someone did use the footage to take the piss? A lawsuit? No more visits from future Royals? Maybe invade with a small-scale covert SAS operation?
In Britain, the public are paying for this wedding (and for the honeymoon, the house in Windsor, the London pad and just about every other royal folly) so they should be allowed to use footage of it as they please. Whether for a giggle or to watch over and over and dream one day of their own royal wedding. (Which in itself is a comedy.)
It’s also hard to say, exactly, if what they would broadcast was intended to be amusing anyway. Who is the judge of what is funny? Is there a Right Royal Funny Team which will screen shows and look for possible laugh infractions? If a serious newscaster makes a joke, then is it ok? If a comedian reads the news, is THAT ok? If Williams hand accidentally (or purposefully) touches her lingerie model ass, are we not allowed to have a laugh? (She first caught his eye while modeling lingerie in a student fashion show.) Anyone can find anything funny (no matter if it’s in good taste, bad taste or none at all) so imposing a no gag rule is silliness in itself.
There certainly are funny aspects to it all; Kate is the first ever royal to have a belly button piercing and that in itself is enough to base half a dozen skits on. Prince William and Kate have moved out of the home they have been sharing together and are staying in separate quarters until their Royal Wedding (like it will make some difference), again, fodder for even the most average of comedians.
I say, let them have a laugh. Everyone can benefit from a bit of laughter. Besides, it will take some of the airtime that was meant for jokes about Prince Charles ears and Harrys’ party lifestyle.
Help keep us writing. You don’t need all that money anyway
This man had his giggle AFTER the wedding was finished
For a fairly dull and rambling look at what the wedding day is estimated to have cost the UK economy See here
And here is a very amusing (but not covered under the don’t laugh order) at the obsession that Britain has with Kate