Royalty: For the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.

When I lived in Canada, I had friends who were Monarchists, but I could never tell whether they were really serious about it. I am not at all into royal-watching, but I am definitely into this Irish Times story about the royal family.

Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories. More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.

Beyond this, it’s the stuff of children’s stories. Having a queen as head of state is like having a pirate or a mermaid or Ewok as head of state. What’s the logic? Bees have queens, but the queen bee lays all of the eggs in the hive. The queen of the Britons has laid just four British eggs, and one of those is the sweatless creep Prince Andrew, so it’s hardly deserving of applause. —Irish Times