In my early childhood my grandfather usually use to narrate fairy tales before we sleeps. These tales, some times, includes that of the Kings and Queens, Czars, Sultan, Nawabs and Maharaja's and that of brave Queens of Rajputana. We all were very demanding about the tales of the pomp of Queen Elizabeth I and the Nizam's of Hyderabad and that of the bravery of Rani of Jhansi. Being expert in 'dastangoie' - story telling, he enthralls us with the bravery and pomp of the royals of different parts of the world.
On being confronted why the royalty from across the world is fast vanishing from the scene he would philosophically console us that in the emerging democracies only five Kings/Queens would survives, four of the playing cards and fifth of the royals of Britain. The last century had seen the downfall of many great royals and the emergence of the dictators who had overthrown the royals in the name of democracies.
Thirty years back, as a school student, I was amongst one of the approximate 750 million viewers from across the globe who had seen the TV coverage of the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer and being in obsession of the British royalty, after toring had carried home the central pages of a prominent weekly, from my school library, which had carried the fascinating pictures of the royal wedding.
The words of my grandfather, whom we all calls 'Abbu', about the survival of the British royals haunts my mind off and on. What I had understood about the reason of their survival is their art of adjusting with the trends of the time. The only known gloomy days on the British royalty was during their strain relations with Diana and in the aftermath of untimely death of Diana, the people's princess, in a car accident in France because of the chase by paparazzi.
Being smart and perfect in surviving in the era of onslaught of the democratic storms, the British royals had always kept themselves a step ahenad of the changing times. Before the wedding of Prince William, the eldest son of Diana, the Princess of Wales, with Kate Middleton a commoner, the royals and the groom had used all modern technologies to reach to the people in every hook and corner of the world by using all social means from Face Book to YouTube and from Official website to twitter account and Flicker Pages to their advantage in publicising the royal wedding and creating an environment of curiosity amongst the world community.
Son of a socialite princess who was patron or head of around 100 charities during her marriage time, Prince William had tried his best to walk on the foot steps of his charming mother and himself is President of England Football Association apart from successfully organising, along with his younger brother, Prince Harry, a star studded Charity Concert on what would have been the 46th birthday of Princess Diana in 2007 at Wembley Stadium and again another Charity Concert to mark the 10 anniversary of the death of their mother in the year 2008.
The royals had chosen the announcement of the engagement of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on the twitter account of Prince Charles, six months before the wedding, with the sole purpose to encourage social media to become part of the royal hullabaloo.
The official website for the royal wedding had carried the eye catching photo of the engaged couple clicked by renowned photographer Mario Testino, who had got the privilege to shoot some of the remarkable and historic snaps of Princess Diana, the mother of Prince William. On twitter account the curious were daily updated with the wedding preparations with accompanying photos.
The royal wedding had become the first in releasing its music online on iTunes within hours of the wedding and the vowes of the wedding couple would be released in CD's by the end of the first week of May 2011. On the desire of Prince William, YouTube had telecasted the live streams of the wedding along with the Royal Channel and the viewership had crossed more than a billion across the globe.
Middle East being in storm of the democratic movements was also used by the royals for their advantage. In spite of the British PM David Cameroon magnanimity in accepting the error on part of the British Government in believing that Muslims can not manage democracy during his visit to Cairo, after the downfall of Hosni Mobarak, the royals first issued and than withdrew their invite to the ambassador of Syria citing the repressive measures by the Assad's regime to quell the democratic movement, after sensing the high rate of criticism in human rights watchers in UK and its coverage in media.
With their clever moves, the royal family which has been known for its traditional moves since time immemorial has decided to follow the principle of 'if you cant beat them, join them' perfectly in consonance of the demand and necessity of becoming part of the new media and that makes them to survive with changing times.
(The writer is Secretary, South Asian Council for Minorities (SACM) and can be reached at email@example.com)