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The Prince – the great tradition of satirising the royal family is under threat as they become more ‘human’

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The adult animated satire, The Prince, has sparked outrage for its portrayal of the British royal family as a mob of hyper-privileged halfwits, hopelessly out of touch with contemporary society. They are led by Queen Elizabeth II, imagined here as a bling-coated mafia boss.

The Telegraph described the show as “grossly offensive”. While The Washington Post reported that a torrent of complaints labelled it “wrong”, “disgusting” and guilty of fuelling “hatred toward Britain’s royals”.

But The Prince is far from the first instance of satire to poke fun at the royal family – nor is it the most biting in this 300-year-old tradition.

In many ways, royal figures are the perfect subjects for satire. Traditionally, the satirist seeks to reveal and skewer stupidity, ridiculousness and hypocrisy and, in most cases, speak truth to power. This process inevitably constitutes “punching up”. This means targeting those with more privilege and a higher status in society than the satirist.

However, in recent years the royals have been rebranded as vulnerable, despite their enormous privilege. This change might have significant consequences for the art of satire.

The royal family’s position at the top of British society makes them an obvious satirical target. Perceptions of the royal family as antiquated and politically redundant, despite their immense fortune........

© The Conversation

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