Ruto bus, Biden limo and other rude scenes in the Queen’s funeral drama – Business Daily
Congregants attend a thanksgiving memorial service for the late Queen Elizabeth II, at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi on September 18, 2022. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG
I have been reluctant to comment on the enormity of the change wrought in the last 10 days by the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. I have never been a royalist, but I had come to view the Queen as magnificent.
Yet, the element that has struck me, apart from the loss, is just how ugly the assertion of hierarchy can be. For this last week has been a maelstrom of hierarchical bruising.
At the heart of the wounds has been the treatment by the royal family of the King’s younger son, Prince Harry, forced to attend his grandmother’s funeral out of military uniform, despite two tours in Afghanistan and a decade in the military, while his uniformed relatives, such as his uncle Prince Edward, failed to even complete entrance training to the armed forces.
Come the funeral, he was placed behind his non-working royal cousins, of a lower royal hierarchy than him, as strikes at Prince Harry came in blow after blow: surely harming our trust in the ethics and fair play of the royal family, as much as they hurt Harry.
Then there was the matter of the US President. Maina Kageni was fast to tweet on the irony of President William Ruto and the world’s heads of state in coaches, while the US President, alone, was allowed to travel in his own vehicle.
But events from there were also unpleasant. A video went viral of US President Joe Biden arriving in his plated limousine and the royal doorman leaning forward to open the door of his vehicle, as per British etiquette and palace practice.
No one had bothered to tell the palace only US security open the car door.
There was a great shout to the doorman, in a situation where decorum is paramount, of ‘Oi’, meaning the doorman should desist and back off.
It just isn’t how you speak to royal staff, no matter who you are. Indeed, as two enormous, hulk-like security men ran into view and stood backs to the car, did they understand how this display looked to the rest of us, as a statement about the US?
Their own humiliating blow, at the funeral, as the US President was placed in the 14th row, behind President Ruto and all the Commonwealth presidents, who took precedence, gave everyone food for thought on their own definition of rude.
Maybe, there was never a hope of showing enough or the right respect for so many very important people.
But in the heart of it, our own president posted a wide grin from his royal coach: and there he rose above it all. Sometimes, everyone just needs to be bigger than the list order, even the big men.