Queen Elizabeth II, Union-Buster

A memo from Her Royal Highness to quell Meghan’s organizing effort.

“And so I went to human resources. And I said, ‘I just real—I need help, because in my old job there was a union, and they would protect me.’ And I remember this conversation like it was yesterday, because they said: ‘My heart goes out to you because I see how bad it is. But there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution.”

Meghan Markle in CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey, aired March 7, 2021.

From: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith.

To: The Firm

Re: Meghan’s organizing drive

It has come to our attention that the Duchess of Sussex was on the telly last night agitating for creation of a royals union. In addition to the epigraph above, the Duchess said quite explicitly, “The spectacle is for the world. But we want our union for us.”

We recognize and respect that every member of the royal family is entitled to choose union representation for the carrying out of one’s royal duties: playing polo, attending state funerals, visiting hospitals, bonking soft-porn stars, pulling on wellies to trudge joylessly through dank moors, drinking to excess, touring aerospace plants, ogling underage girls, dancing to “Uptown Girl,” wearing Nazi uniforms to costume parties, spouting philistine rubbish about modern architecture, and of course saying, “Oh, that’s awfully nice” 50 to 60 times each day.

One wishes to have a voice at Buckingham Palace and Windsor and Balmoral and whatnot. We understand that, and our door is always open. Well, perhaps not always, but … occasionally.

If one joins a union we shall have to abandon the informality and friendly ease of communication that has never been particularly characteristic of our reign.

Unions want one to think they are one’s ally, but these are in fact businesses that exist entirely for the collection of union dues. One could expect to pay 500 quid or more out of every paycheck—money one would no longer have available to order the Filet de St. Pierre Rôti at Le Gavroche. Get used to bangers and mash, sods!

If one proceeds we shall have no alternative but to commence mandatory training sessions in which we show one what happens after one invites in the thin edge of the wedge. Screenings of The Battle of AlgiersDo the Right ThingMarat/SadeEasy RiderNicholas and AlexandraSweeney Todd, etc. Republicanism, ce n’est pas jolimes enfants.

Our laws protect anyone who urges affiliation with a union from being fired for doing so. But these laws do not protect one from being fired for incompetence, and since not a single member of this Firm can so much as open a tube of toothpaste without seeking assistance from a footman, demonstrating unfitness to a magistrate shan’t tax our ingenuity.

We shall also instigate one-on-one meetings with one’s supervisors, which in this instance means ourselves, pointing index and middle finger toward our own eyes and then toward one’s eyes like Robert DeNiro explaining the Circle of Trust in Meet the Parents.

If we have to get rough, we will get rough. One has secured already cooperation from certain members of the Firm to impersonate hotheaded pro-union advocates so they can egg on other royals to slash the tires of the Bentley State Limousine and break wind loudly on receiving lines and participate in other mischief that shall earn one immediate expulsion from the Firm. Don’t tempt us. We’ve done it before, with that randy bloke identified on The Crown as our favorite, and we can do it again.

We understand that labor unions have a romantic past. The 1926 General Strike. Ernie Bevin. Arthur Scargill. But the arduous working conditions of times past have greatly improved. It’s literally been centuries since the last royal beheading, and today when we say “Off with his head!” we are merely making our little joke. It’s been decades since we sent Edward VIII packing for falling in love with Wallis Simpson. Today’s royal family is so tolerant of slut divorcées that we let the Prince of Wales marry Camilla!

In these enlightened modern times, labor unions are anachronistic. And if there’s one thing the Firm won’t abide, it’s anachronism.

Ta,

Her Majesty the Queen

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Timothy Noah

Timothy Noah is a contributing editor of the Washington Monthly. He is the author of The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It.