Royal survivors

NOTES AND COMMENTS

July 03, 2000

WHAT DO island-dwelling millionaire wannabes on TV have in common with millionaire royalty?

Entertainment value, of course. We armchair viewers do love our soap operas, especially if they are "reality-based."

The royals -- who long ago proved they have a flair for the dramatic -- are making a splash this summer, led by Prince William. The media sharks are betting on his coming of age and proclaiming him the best thing since ... Diana, his mother.

He's got her good looks and shy smile; his preference for privacy is poignant. It would take more than a fairy godmother, sadly, to grant him that wish.

Or perhaps there's another way out for him. Suppose Prime Minister Tony Blair yielded to his citizens who would end the royals' public subsidy.

He might break the news this way to Wills & Co.: "You're sacked, but there's a silver lining -- you've all got jobs on the telly! You get to go to an island for some jolly good fun, and whoever holds out the longest -- and makes the fewest enemies -- wins a million pounds."

It sets the mind to musing about the Queen Mum celebrating her 100th birthday under the banana leaves. Fergie and Andrew hoarding the fruit; Margaret and Edward building huts. Camilla (of course, Camilla!) sneaking into camp to bring sweets to Charles. And Elizabeth and Philip sternly eyeing them all, their "no" votes at the ready.

Talk about a feeding frenzy for the media sharks! Maybe our young hero William could find a way to get voted off this island for voyeurs (his cooking, perhaps).

"Survivors" meets "The Great Escape"? Don't bet on it. Wills is stuck in the royal fishbowl.

Our sympathies, mate.

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