Showing off pictures of one’s offspring is the new black
Once upon a time a crumpled image of a smiling child was tucked away in a purse or wallet and usually only publicly displayed when the maudlin owner had taken a drink or six.
But the 21st century way is to flaunt myriad shots, regardless of how tediously similar each image may be. Since the dawn of the digital age, those of us who could be bothered to do so have changed computer screensavers to a photograph of our kids. As the technology has improved so has the ability of consumers – myself very much included – to bore their friends with scores of dull mobile phone snaps of their ‘little darlings’.
What I don’t get, however, is why anybody would want a snap of a stranger’s kid, namely Prince George. As inoffensive as the little lad is, I for one find it totally baffling why anybody would want to have a commemorative newspaper or magazine full of pictures of somebody else’s child.
Yes, he is a future king, but we don’t live in 1932 when flag waving and cap doffing was mandatory, we are supposed to live in an enlightened age. Yet, wherever you look, there are glossy pullouts and special editions to mark the tot’s first official tour – a trip with his parents to New Zealand and Australia during which you could not switch on the telly without being inundated with bulletins with the latest on Prince George.
Then there were the presents: 2,000 from the visit Down Under alone, including a personalised surfboard, which is as much use to a nine-month-old baby as a speedboat was to a Bullseye contestant from a Nottingham council estate.
Far from being a rabid republican, I am one of the 69 per cent of Britons who believe we would be worse off without the royal family, but I had hoped the deference being directed toward the young prince and his parents had been consigned to the 1980s.
They are good to have about but they are not deities, although the danger is that after years of keeping a low profile following a devastating sequence of divorces, fires and tragedy, many on this island are getting daft about the royals again. Some would argue that has always been the case, but when a child who has yet to taste his own birthday cake is coffee table reading for millions then we really do need to take a long hard look at ourselves.