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On eve of Prince William wedding, some (former) aristocrats critique the royal mystique

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European monarchies aren’t what they used to be. Not only do they wield little political power, they also, not unrelatedly, no longer inspire much republican fervor. On the whole, those who do object to monarchies tend to ignore them or mock them, making strong republican arguments only when a major event – such as a royal wedding – rolls around.

Tomorrow’s British royal wedding is much covered in the press (and, in fairness, at the top of the public mind), but, unlike when Prince Charles married the late Princess Diana in 1981, criticism is not hard to find. Even the BBC has debated the subject.

German newsweekly Der Freitag (Friday) has a novel take on the issue of the legitimacy of the aristocracy. Unsurprisingly, the left-leaning publication is against inherited privilege. But instead of proffering the opinions of union leaders, social workers and other liberal usual suspects, it gets aristocrats to condemn privilege. Former aristocrats, at any rate.

Jutta Ditfurth notes self-serving myth-making on the part of Europe’s nobility: "One of the most successful is the myth of noble resistance against the Nazism," going on to say that many nobles hated Germany's Jews.

Ms. Ditfurth herself traded tiaras for sandals back in the 1970s, helping to found Germany’s Green Left Party. Now a journalist and politician, she was once known as Jutta Gerta Armgard von Ditfurth.

Noting that the children of Germany’s remaining aristocrats are privately educated, Ditfurth says that “this not about solidarity, social equality, emancipation, but about relationships, networks and social boundaries. … Education of "noble values" is always associated with elitism, social ignorance, blood and racism.”


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