“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”
-Sam Ewing, Professional Baseball Player
In December, the UK experienced record-breaking rainfall making it the wettest month in the over hundred years since weather data has been kept. The amount of precipitation has had devastating effects on areas throughout the UK. In December, more than 16,000 homes in England were flooded, roads collapsed and bridges were obliterated, with Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire the hardest hit.
During the severe weather that besieged the UK, while elected officials played dodgeball with blame and tried to convince citizens that amongst the looming storm clouds, silver linings were somewhere nestled, the response from the unelected royals was for the most part underwhelming.
On December 8th, in the aftermath of Storm Desmond, the Queen stated, “Please convey my sympathy to all those whose homes or livelihoods have been affected by the recent flooding. My thanks got to members of the emergency services, local authorities, military personnel and volunteers who are providing assistance in these difficult conditions.” Her Majesty is 89 and the Head of State so it’s not like she was going to slip on a pair of Wellies and help residents drag their soaked moldy couches to the curb, but she’s worth about $500 million, maybe she could have sent a few hampers full of snacks so business owners picking through the wreckage of their livelihoods could have a little something to nibble on or perhaps had some bottles of whisky sent over from Balmoral, people who have had everything they own destroyed often appreciate a nip.
One thing I could never understand about members of the British Royal Family is why they always get gifts at engagements, even when visiting areas that have suffered total devastation. People who have been through horrible tragedies and are trying to scrape the pieces of their lives back together give the unbelievably privileged royals presents as a thank you for their presence. It’s bizarre. I’d make for a terrible royal, I would be up all night baking cookies as a little pick-me-up for those who have been through hell, putting together care packages for people whose lives have been ripped apart because I was taught that as a guest, you should never arrive empty-handed. Shouldn’t the royals be the ones bearing gifts?
Prince Charles is really the only royal who stepped up to help those whose homes and businesses were hit by the flooding. He responded to the destruction by Storm Desmond in Cumbria by making a personal donation of an undisclosed sum and allocating £40,000 from the Prince’s Countryside Fund to help with the recovery while the Business Emergency Resilience Group set up by Prince Charles provided aid to impacted businesses. On December 21st, Prince Charles visited afflicted areas of Cumbria. On New Year’s Eve Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, became the second working royal to visit the affected regions when she accompanied her husband on a surprise visit to Ballater in Aberdeenshire which had been battered by Storm Frank which caused River Dee to burst its banks. Prince Charles walked around, expressing his concern to flood victims, but according to resident Dawn Rennie, “drew the line at helping with the mopping up!”
Not that anyone expected Prince Charles to be pushing around a pole with a fibered head around, that’s totally his son’s thing. Prince Charles did something pretty royally amazing, though, he had the cooks at his Birkhall estate prepare meals for some local residents who had to be evacuated from their homes. Okay, so he directed people who worked for him to cook for flood victims, but in Royal World these days, that’s practically the equivalent of giving a stranger a kidney.
So where were the rest of the royals? Well, Prince William was spotted pheasant hunting on New Year’s Day in Norfolk. Prince Edward, Sophie, and their two children were photographed out on a pheasant hunt a couple of days later. Apparently the Windsors just didn’t get in enough bloodsport in at the traditional Boxing Day Pheasant Hunt. If you ever feel in need of being super-bummed out about the cruel realities of these pheasant hunts complete with a story of nearby children being psychologically scarred by one of Prince Philip’s shooting parties, here’s a grim glimpse into the royal bloodsport: http://animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_shooting/ALL/811//
The worst of the floods hit Yorkshire on Boxing Day when Prince Andrew would have been busy killing pheasant and probably unbuttoning his pants after a large meal or just because he’s gross. But somewhere along the way someone remembered that Prince Andrew was the Duke of York so a statement was released on December 28th, “I am sorry to hear about the severe flooding across Yorkshire and the devastating impact it is having on so many homes and businesses. My thoughts are with everyone in Yorkshire that is affected at this time.” By that time, biker clubs were in Yorkshire guarding evacuated homes and businesses which were being targeted by looters but I’m sure Prince Andrew’s message super-helped out, too.
On January 6th, the 82-year-old Duchess of Kent who is retired from royal duty save for the very rare event and prefers to go by Katharine Kent while she does her charity work quietly and without fuss made a private visit to York. Before the Duke of York. But the widely criticized Prince Andrew made his way up there yesterday, talked to some flood victims, did some pointing, and had his umbrella held for him. As the Daily Mail pointed out, the picture of Andrew having his umbrella held for him was posted by him on his own Twitter account. Hopefully the roasting he is getting for being too important to hold his own umbrella at least helped to dry out some of Yorkshire.
Unfortunately overnight, Aberdeenshire got another wave of flooding with River Don bursting its banks.
It’s just too bad that William and Kate are the types of characters who don’t turn up at all. Their totally sucking might just absorb some of this water, the UK’s had enough.