Degrees of rank

So who does get invited to the royal wedding and who doesn\’t?

The royal wedding has suffered its first major controversy after it was confirmed that neither Tony Blair nor Gordon Brown had been invited to Friday’s ceremony.

Why\’s that then?

By contrast, both their Conservative predecessors, Sir John Major and Baroness Thatcher, received invitations. Lady Thatcher declined on health grounds although Sir John will be present when Prince William marries Kate Middleton.

A spokesman for St James’s Palace said Mr Blair and Mr Brown had not received invitations because neither were Knights of the Garter, unlike Sir John and Lady Thatcher.

Well, quite. Politicians are, after all, however grand they may be as politicians, the people we hire to do the scut work of society. Make sure the courts open on time, the bins are collected, that sort of thing.

A Knight of the Garter is far grander, someone who has actually managed to make something of themselves in this life.

OK, delightful snobbery/

The much more fun point is that both of them, as former PM\’s could be KGs if they wished. Yes, yes, it\’s in the Queen\’s gift, and really is in her gift unlike all of the other knighthoods (umm, except Victorian Order and Thistle, the Scots equivalent of Garter….for those not quite up to date with British titles, there are 21 different orders (even more accurately 21 different types, some very much grander than others) of knighthood in the UK with KG firmly at the top). But still, if a former PM indicated that he/she would be graciously willing to accept a KG they\’d get it.

All they\’d have to do would be to wait until there was a slot, as there can only be 24 (non-Royal) Garters at any one time.

And since they each resigned, there have been slots available. The last two went this year to a former Master of the Rolls and a former First Sea Lord. They could have jumped those two (and Blair even more so, he could easily have pushed aside a former Chamberlain, or a Lord Lieutenant, in 2008).

Now I can understand why they might not have wanted to. Sir Tony, Sir Gordon, not sure it quite fits in with their self-image as men of the left (in Blair\’s case, a snigger might be appropriate here) but these things do come in packages you see.

If you\’re going to not take one of the honours, the KG, then you\’re also not going to get the things that go with being a KG… an invite to the Royal Wedding.

Which is all rather convenient, given Blair\’s behaviour at earlier Royal occasions (was it Diana\’s or the Queen Mother\’s funeral he made a right tit of himself at?).

9 thoughts on “Degrees of rank”

  1. XX (was it Diana’s or the Queen Mother’s funeral he made a right tit of himself at?). XX

    He has been a right tit all his life, why should he be any different for a funeral?

  2. He was a right (or left when it suited) tit at all times, but the Queen Mum’s funeral was the occasion of its becoming obvious, even to some of the Nulab faithful.

  3. I believe it was the Queen Mother’s funeral where he thought he wasn’t being given a big enough role.

    A solution to the dilemma for the lefty who wants a gong but not lose credibility with their fans and friends is to aim for admittance to the Order of Merit of a be made a Companion of Honour (or be satisfied with just a CBE, but I suspect an ex-PM may think that beneath them). This way they are not encumbered with a prefix title and can still be Mr So and So, man of the people. Worked for Pinter and Hockney. I’m not sure if a CH is solely within the gift of HM, but I’m pretty sure the OM is. There is a vacancy within the Order of Merit at the moment so maybe the Queen just doesn’t like Tony or Gordon.

  4. He’s still probably hoping to be Pope. Personally, I’d vote for jailing Brown and hanging Blair – pity we don’t do referendums in this country.

  5. Economically, I’d agree.

    But compared with Blair striking at civil liberties and personal freedoms, Broon was a rank amateur. Blair’s damage will never be reversed. Broon’s will just be uncomfortable for some years.

    Actually, hang them both.

  6. It was the Queen Mum’s funeral.

    Tiny Blur contacted the people in charge of it and said he ought to have a more prominent role.

    No matey, said the army officer running the show, actually you have no role at all.

    Soon after that, out of spite, he tried to abolish said army officer’s ceremonial position.

    I’m not sure what happened then; I hope Blair got another bloody nose, but it shows you the measure of the man, does it not. I believe “contemptible” is le mot juste.

  7. If he did try to get rid of the position of Black Rod, then more power to his elbow. A ludicrous example of government waste – it costs something like £100k.

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