Just when you thought that the reign of Queen Elizabeth was going to enter a quiet, golden period, this happens:
If his glamorous niece weren't expected to marry Britain's Prince William, Gary Goldsmith might just be another cocaine-snorting, tattooed, embarrassing uncle.
But when an undercover video last week showed Goldsmith, 49, cutting lines of cocaine in "La Maison de Bang Bang" -- the villa he owns on the Spanish isle of Ibiza -- his oh-so-unregal lifestyle became headlines -- and a scandal steeped in the crass issue of class.
Goldsmith is the brother of the mother of Kate Middleton, who started dating William eight years ago when they met at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Ever since, there has been discussion about whether this "commoner," now a 27-year-old accessories-buyer-turned-photography-student, was good enough for the heir to the British throne.
Goldsmith is a property developer and has tattooed the words "Nouveau Riche" between his shoulder blades. Those born into "old money," commentators have noted wryly, decidedly do not use ink this way.
"The march of the middle-class Middletons" was one recent headline about the "kitschy" uncle, who jokes on the video that he will soon have his own room in Buckingham Palace.
On the one hand, this is the sort of thing that keeps Fleet Street interested in the Royal Family. There has to be some form of youth, sex, violence, screaming, more violence, drugs, and topless sunbathing to keep them from following the Beckhams around the world. But, on the other hand, perhaps you don't want the interest when the Royals themselves are about to enter a very interesting time. The Beckhams replaced the Royal Family for a time, but only because Prince Harry was between bouts of dressing up like a Stormtrooper, and not the good kind, either. An embarrassing uncle is nothing. History is replete with them. The only thing that is new is the volume of the phony outrage. Expect scads of phony outrage as the boys age. Do you think they've been wild so far? William and Harry have cousins galore. Britain is a playground for the idle rich. Expect something more than a few turned-over dustbins. Expect horror and degradation as this generation discovers that it is going to be denied the birthright of indolence and depravity royals are accustomed to. This generation, thanks to the advances in surveillance technology and security camera technology, can't do anything. It will rebel. It will burst out of a chrysalis and frighten us all. Think Ozzy Osbourne being told he can't take his T-shirt off--that kind of rebellion.
The Royals of today could learn something from Queen Christina--there is nothing new under the sun. I have long believed that Charles would never be king; I sometimes think he should never be king. I do know one thing--none of us will probably live long enough to see Kate Middleton become Queen of England. I wish I could. It would be an amazing reign. Think Ozzy, sans T-shirt, painted up like Boy George and sent rolling through Camden on a turned-over wheelbarrow with a wine bottle lodged in his ass the wrong way in.