FOR THE life of me I can't think why, but Tom's class is studying the forthcoming royal wedding. I didn't realise this was going on until I spotted a drawing in his news book: two stick insects, one of whom wore a crown and the other a long white dress with what looked like Thomas the Tank Engine attached to it. "Princess Sophie's train," Tom explained. Well, at least one part of this picture made sense to my son.
Why, one is tempted to ask, should British schools be remotely interested in the private life of a TV producer, so distant from our constitutional throne that even the most thorough of anarchists wouldn't bother blowing him up? And what is so special about his wedding for heaven's sake? We all know marriage is a phase the Windsors pass through. Does the national curriculum have to be disturbed in order to mark the fact that another relative of the sovereign is trying it out for size?
I speak from a severely jaundiced point of view. Many years ago Princess Margaret's car drove past my father's school. The Princess was not visiting us, just zooming by, but a message came through that my Dad should get everyone lining the route with simulated delight. The Princess arrived very late and at such speed that in my eagerness to get a full wave in, I let go of my toy mouse. We found it later, crushed flat by the royal passage.
Maybe it was at that moment that I became a republican. Or maybe it was later when I realised that Princess Margaret was one of the last people to deserve cheers and that even her sister, a much more admirable person, actually exercises no discernible function other than to wave back at crowds and stop the likes of Mrs Thatcher or Tony Blair becoming dictator.
We are a multicultural society I am often told and our children are being brought up to appreciate heterodoxy. Teachers please note therefore that there are parents out here who feel genuine regret that as Britain enters the Third Millennium we are still pretending to be ruled in feudal fashion by a family of diminutive Hanoverians.
I have no dislike of the royals as people but I didn't vote for them and I don't like my children being encouraged to believe they serve a purpose.