Thursday, March 10, 2011

The King's Dilemma

I was thinking to write this post ever since I saw ‘The King’s Speech’ last week. Call me a lazy bum for not writing it till now par ki fark padta hai ji, der aaye durust aaye ;-) !! Chalo, to phir kaam ki baat.....matlab movie ki baat kare. The movie is good, in fact awesome, like all the British movies. And Colin Firth has added grace to the character of Prince Albert, Duke of York and later His Majesty King George VI. The part played by Geoffrey Rush (as Lionel Logue) is equally graceful.

There is a scene in the movie where Prince Albert, after ascending to the Royal Throne, comes to his residence where his family, his wife and two daughters, are preparing to shift to the Royal Palace. And then when he reaches near his daughters, instead of coming running to him calling “Papa”, they bow and stand in respect uttering “Your Majesty”. Somehow, I felt the scene to be very touching. It must be very difficult for the king at that moment to accept the sudden change in the behaviour of his loving daughters. All of a sudden, the burden of the royal robe would have become too much. And I think it is again very difficult to handle a lot of responsibility if it comes to you all of a sudden and unannounced.

Also I think that it’s not easy being a King. All of us, especially girls (remember 'I wish to be a princess' dream?), wish that we were born in some Royal Family. After all, who doesn’t want to be treated royally? But being born as a Royal has its own limitations. With the birth of a Royal child, certain Royal duties and obligations are made for him/her curtailing the freedom of the later. Perhaps, that is why some of the Royals prefer to keep a low public profile. And sometimes, minor looking problems create havoc for the Royal personages like stammering was one of the deadliest problem and a matter of shame for King George VI.

This reminds me of the happiness endowed with the middle state, as explained by Daniel Defoe in the classic ‘Robinson Crusoe’:
that mine was the middle state, or what might be called the upper station of the low life, which he had found by long experience was the best state in the world, the most suited to human happiness, the labour and sufferings, of the mechanic part of mankind, and not embarrassed with the pride, luxury, ambition, and envy of the upper part of mankind. He told me I might judge the happiness of this state by this one thing, viz., that this was the state of life which all other people envied; that kings have frequently lamented the miserable consequences of being born to great things, and wished they had been placed in the middle of the two extremes, between the mean and the great; that the wise man gave his testimony to this as the just standard of true felicity, when he prayed to have neither poverty or riches.”

Once again, I feel extremely lucky to be born in a middle class family.


Chalte Chalte: Ever wondered, what is the feminine of ‘King’? Right, it’s ‘Queen’. So, the masculine of ‘Queen’ must be ‘King’? Well not always, the husbands of the queens regnant generally don’t share their wives’ ranks. That is why, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II is called Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and not King Philip.

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